Vinyl Records are the only growing segment of the audio industry. And driven by consumer desire for better sound quality, that market is growing by 200-300% per year.
To put it simply, since the advent of CDs in the early 80’s, and digital music across the Internet, manufacturers and consumers have traded size and convenience for sound quality. To repair the damage, manufacturers further distorted the sound by emphasizing the bass and high end so the content sounded better on cheap small speakers and headphones.Sans Auto-Tune and lip-syncing – there quite simply no physical way that the sound coming out of your little Bluetooth Speakers or iTunes is in the same universe as a live performance.Worse, something on the order of 25-35% of the dynamic range (lowest bass to highest tinkle) is lost in translation.
Vinyl Albums record everything from a frequency of about 16 Hz (Lowest Bass) to 24,000 Hz (Higher than anything except your dog or cat an hear). Despite the numerous scurrilous claims, none of the little portable wireless speakers will produce much beyond 300 Hz to about 16,000 Hz. What manufacturers do is amplify the 300 Hz as high as physically possible so the devices don’t sound like something out of a tin can. Something like an electronic “SubWoofer”.
Subwoofers were originally invented to cover up for the deficiencies of tiny speakers.
And that crap level sound is even at the $250-1,000 price range for modern tiny speakers. You simply can’t beat the laws of physics. In the case of speakers, bigger, at least to a certain extent is better. However, you don’t need refrigerator sized speakers for audiophile level sound.
However, to truly enjoy Vinyl, if your goal is better sound quality – you need speakers which can reproduce the sound, which fortunately can be had used.
If you want to start in Vinyl, then your first decision is to buy a Turntable. Because of rising demand, the prices on used high level Turntables are skyrocketing – however, there are a plethora of medium level turntables from companies like BSR, Technics, Audio-Technica, Teac, and Pioneer which often can be found at Garage sales.Stay away from anything marketed or labelled as a “DJ” turntable as those usually are beat to hell. Stay away from almost any of the new low end product, such as ION or Pyle as they are junk. If you are interested, this site offers used equipment from the very modest ($100-200) to the esoteric – although it leans towards audiophiles. Paying over $500.00 for a Turntable doesn’t necessarily mean you can hear the difference – you should be able to get a very good used table in the $100-200 range as a beginner.
Ditto with speakers. The only problem with garage sale speakers is that the speakers themselves may be in bad condition. Speakers generally are made of paper, and as they get older the paper can rip or disintegrate. So it is important to take the front cover off and inspect the speakers themselves (the round things inside) to make sure the paper cone is still intact and not crumbling. Decent affordable speakers can be had from any of the Amplifier names I mention below, as well as dedicated manufacturers like Polk, JBL, and Boston Acoustics.
Amplifiers are the last and least important piece in terms of sound quality. The key here is to stay away from “Theater” or Home Surround” amps and get a true Stereo (2 channel) receiver or amplifier. There are lots of good choices, including Pioneer, Sansui, Harmon Kardon, Marantz, Technics, Onkyo, and to a lesser degree Kenwood. A Receiver has all the necessary parts to immediately play, including a AM/FM radio and connections for CDs,Turntables (make sure it says “Turntable” on the front selector switch!), and Tape decks. An Amplifier is just that, it usually requires a “Pre-Amp”, unless it is an “Integrated Amplifier” which has the Pre-Amp built in. For a home unit, you really don’t need much above 35 Watts output power, and 1980’s vintage units usually are the best. You probably don’t want to drop the money for a “Tube” Amp (yet), no matter how sweet the sound is. As a (very) general rule of thumb, the heavier a speaker is in the low and mid-range market – the better it is. If your 2-3 year old can pick it up…It’s junk.
With that and a few feet of double stranded wire (ask for 16 Gage) you are ready to go!
The following article purports to be good advice to the neophyte Vinyl fan. Some of the advice in this article is bad advice.
As for that (mostly) Bad advice?
So you want to start spinning records in your living room. Here’s a collection of the advice I’ve given n00bs just like you over the last couple of years. Getting started can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Here’s how to get going.
What you need
Audiophiles and nerds will say you need fancy shit to listen to records, but basically any turntable from a reputable manufacturer is going to play just fine for the casual listener. If you let audiophile assholes tell you what to buy you’ll end up with a pricey turntable that takes specialized cartridges, and allows all manner of customizability blah, blah, blah. In the future, when you have amassed a massive vinyl collection and developed an ear for “good sound,” you can upgrade your setup.
First of all, what is the difference between a record player and a turntable? Today there is none. Technically, the record player is the whole machine and the turntable is the actual part with the platter that turns. The terms are functionally interchangeable.
The one thing I am going to insist on is a truly stereo setup. You may be a child of the smartphone, and you may have a little Bluetooth speaker somewhere in your house. It might even be a very good one that simulates some stereo effects using signal processing. It’s possible to connect a turntable to this speaker. Don’t do it.
If you’re going to listen to stereophonic recordings, you should listen to them in true stereo. Buy some damn speakers. (Some dolt is going to point out that many records back in the day were originally mixed for mono. Acknowledged.)
There are a couple of ways to go about setting up your new system. I’ll break them into two convenient categories: new shit and old shit….Read The Rest Here…