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Needle Drop: 5 Tips to Start an Awesome Record Collection

By: Owen Smetek

While physical media may be on the decline, vinyl records have made a resurgence in recent years. Collecting records is a hobby that many express interest in, but many don't know where to start. Here are a few tips on starting and maintaining your own collection.

Invest in a high-quality turntable.

Record players can range anywhere from 40 dollars to hundreds. While the casual collector may not see anything wrong with purchasing a cheap turntable, they are known to scratch and damage vinyl. Additionally, cheaper record players won't make your records sound as full and can distort the music coming from your speakers. Spending more on a nice and reputable turntable will pay off in the long term, as your records will be safer and sound better when spinning.

Don't get everything at once.

When getting into the hobby, it can be tempting to buy everything as soon as possible. By doing this, you might not be able to really listen to and take in the music you are buying. Space out your purchases so every new record you get feels fresh and exciting.

Support your local record stores.

While not as prominent as they used to be, brick-and-mortar music stores are still alive and thriving. Get familiar with the stores around you and occasionally visit each of them. It's easy to get distracted and spend hours thumbing through the bins, searching for something to take home. Every store has something different to offer in terms of selection. Find one that best suits your interests and buy a couple of records to support the small businesses in your community.

Check the used bins. 

Each record store usually has a large quantity of secondhand records. People are constantly offloading their collections or selling records they don't want anymore. Those records will then get put into the "used" bins and sold for a marked-down price. Looking through these bins is rewarding as you can find lots of excellent stuff for half the price. Some of the best finds in my collection came from the used bins. New vinyl can be expensive; getting a used copy of one of your favorite albums is a great way to get the music you want and save a few bucks in the process.

Buy what you like

While this step may seem obvious, it might be the most important of them all. There's no point in purchasing records you aren't going to listen to just for the "aesthetic." Buy the music you enjoy and know you will play. Your collection should be an expression of your music taste, so why would you bog it down with music that doesn't fit? Ignore any of the suggestions of albums you "must have," and stick with the ones you know you love.

I hope these tips help you start an awesome collection of your own. Happy listening!

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