Post By: Alan
We all know how awesome vinyl records sound. Or do you? Yes, they sound awesome. But if you grew up in a time after records began to lose their popularity, you're probably not sure about this whole vinyl thing. Let's break it down nice and easy for you...
How to play a record
Silly, huh? It should be common sense, but it kind of isn't if you weren't raised on records. In most cases, you just plop the record down on the turntable, turn it on, and the record will play automatically. In some cases, you may need to actually place the needle on the record after starting the turntable. Do it gentle, and you'll be fine. Other things to make sure about are the speed of the record. If you're playing a big 12" record, it will probably be a 33RPM record, although there are some exceptions. If it's a small, 7" record, it probably plays at 45RPM. Those small 45's also usually require a piece of plastic (sometimes called a spider) in the center of the record, so the spindle on the turntable holds the record properly.
How to store a record
I did a much more detailed post about maintaining vinyl records, but basically, you just need to treat your records with care. Don't expose them to anything nasty and you should be fine. Store them upright. Keep them out of sunlight. Try to keep them at a decent temperature. That's really all you need to know.
How to clean your stuff
Records, unlike digital music formats, are pretty high maintenance. They get dusty, they can't handle heat, they are prone to static cling...The list goes on. The most important thing is to keep records clean. A big part of keeping them clean is taking precaution. Try to handle them by the edges, and only with clean hands. Give them a quick wipe with a carbon fiber brush before you play and before you put the record away. If they get gunky, oily, etc, you'll want to do a more thorough (wet) cleaning. Here's a detailed post about cleaning vinyl records.
What it's all about (The love of music):
Ultimately, vinyl records are about the music. I know there are some audio snobs and old hippies that like to get all high and mighty about the sound (and digital audio enthusiasts who say digital is better), but the truth is it doesn't matter. I want my music to sound the best it can, but I also just want to hear music, regardless of the format. If you're just getting started in vinyl records, follow your heart. If you like how it sounds, the experience, and everything else that goes with it, then it's all good!
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