Beginning a vinyl hobby for retro music lovers


Since collecting vinyl records are easing back into the 21st century, many people, including Filipinos, are becoming more interested in starting their own collection and opting for another way to listening to music.

If you’re a fan of vinyl records, here are 8 tips on how to begin a vinyl hobby, especially if you’re just starting out and wanting to know more about vinyl collecting.


1. Do your research first


Vinyl Collecting 101 - record in good condition vs record in poor condition
A vinyl record in good condition, clean and damage-free that still has resale potential (versus one that is in poor condition, scratched and warped that won’t be of any value)
Image adapted from Website & Mailorder and Chris Frost/Quora

Initially, it’s important to do your research as it can help you know which records you’ll be buying as you’re starting out. You may have certain genres in mind that’ll lead to buying new records, or you could opt for used records just to explore and learn more. Additionally, it’s useful to look up sites or shops on where you can buy vinyl records, accessories, and equipment.

Also, if you’re planning to sell your collection in the future, knowing which vinyl records are worth more or less – that shows their rarity – will help you in analyzing a record’s value. You can simply follow the equation: Rarity + Demand + Condition = Price.

Evidently, records in good condition would have more resale value than those that are in poor condition.

Moreover, you could even try and seek experts or search for groups on vinyl collecting that can help you better understand the hobby from another person’s perspective.


2. Make a list of your preferences (genres, types of records, and sound systems)


Vinyl Collecting 101 - vinyl research
McIntosh turntable with Bowers & Wilkins speakers, The Beatles: Yesterday and Today priced at USD8,500
Image adapted from Gear Patrol and Cool Material

Knowing your likes and dislikes in general also applies in vinyl collecting. Jotting down your preferences will help you make easier decisions when choosing records and even equipment that you might want to include in your setup.

First, determine if you want new records or if you’re open to buying used records. If you’re a beginner, consider opting for used records that are in good condition first before investing in newly sealed records that can range from P1,500-P15,000 (~USD28.63-USD286.33) so that you can save money and spend it later once you finally know what you want. Along with this, bear in mind how common or rare a record is. Common vinyl records (that are easy to find) usually cost less than the rare ones that could cost up to P445,285.25 (~USD8,500).

Secondly, consider sound systems. For optimal listening experience, a sound system consists of having a turntable, pre amplifier, amplifier, and a set of speakers. Alternatively, the use of headphones is another way of listening to your vinyl records. Although it’s highly up to your preference, some people would suggest that headphones are the way to go when listening to vinyl records as they give out a more natural sound. On the other hand, some prefer listening to speakers because the bass from the vinyl records are more pronounced.

Thirdly, think of the genres. Choose which genres you normally listen to plus the genres that you’re open to listening for the experience as well as the fun of it.


3. Make a proper space to set up your vinyl records


Vinyl Collecting 101 - vinyl setup
Image credit: @vinyl_music_freak

After researching and making a list of preferences, now, consider the space where you’ll set everything up. Invest in storage for your records to keep them safe and organized, whether it’s alphabetized or arranged by genre.

Also, as your collection grows, it’s crucial to save space to avoid clutter and disorganization. Store records properly where they won’t be damaged in any way and that they’re kept in good condition.


4. Purchase accessories to play your records and optimize sound


Vinyl Collecting 101 - sound systems preference
Image adapted from @spinnin.now and Lazada

Turntables alone, unfortunately, won’t give you the best listening experience. If you want to optimize the sound and have a good start in listening to vinyl records, then it’s important to invest in sound systems and accessories for your setup.

Find a sound system that meets your tastes. If you prefer to play your records out loud, record player speakers would be your best bet. On the other hand, if there are people around and you want to listen on your own, headphones may be the option for you.

vinyl accessories (such as record mat)
Image credit: Vinyl Chapters

Consider other accessories that can benefit your listening experience such as a record mat, which can absorb the turntable’s vibrations and give a better grip on the record for a more consistent speed. Additionally, the record will play more smoothly.

vinyl accessories (such as cleaning brushes)
Image credit: Lazada

Another accessory you can buy is a record and stylus cleaning brush that removes dust buildup and keeps the cleanliness of your records as well as your equipment.


5. Check on your equipment every once in a while


Vinyl Collecting 101 - equipment check
Image credit: @thevinyllocker

In order to maintain all of your equipment’s condition, it’s vital to check on them every once in a while – at least once every month – to make sure that everything is still performing optimally. Sometimes, cables and wires can loosen over time.

If you start to experience minor issues such as a crackling noise coming from the preamplifier or speaker, do a rundown of your equipment first and make sure that it’s nothing major.

Additionally, you can see if you need an upgrade with the stylus or cartridge that you currently have, whether it’s because they’re already worn out or if you simply want to boost your equipment.


6. Maintain the cleanliness of your records and turntable


cleaning records
Image credit: @martin.jeffries74

Most mechanical devices tend to get a lot of dust buildup over time. The same goes with vinyl records. Keep your records dust-free to avoid static electricity as they play and the lessening of their performance.

Furthermore, keep the stylus (the needle that touches the record) clean as dust can distort the sound of the record and make your stylus and record wear out a lot faster.


7. Learn proper storage of records


proper storage of records
Vinyl records stacked vertically
Image credit: @mylegendvinyl

Another major tip to know is that how you store your vinyl records plays a role in how they perform when played.

Learning proper storage will help you avoid having problems with your records.

Stacking records horizontally is a big no-no. This can cause the records to be warped or even damaged due to the weight. Stack them vertically instead to prevent these from happening.


8. Manage your financial expectations


vinyl dump thrift store
Image credit: Vinyl Dump Store

Lastly, considering your budget for beginning a vinyl collecting hobby is important as it’ll help you prioritize how much to spend on a certain record or equipment. Take into consideration the cost of starting a vinyl collection as it can be expensive, especially if the records you purchase are rare. If you’re a beginner, you could start with used records first then progress from there.

Vinyl Dump Thrift Store in Quezon City, the Philippines, is a good place to start if you’re looking for affordable records. What’s more, the owner is there to guide you and answer any inquiries that you have about vinyl records. Vinyl records are sold for as low as P300 (~USD5.84) each.


Vinyl collecting 101 for retro music lovers


Whether you’re just beginning or in need of a refresher,  these tips are here to guide you in preserving your vinyl collection and making sure that you get the most out of collecting vinyl records. Happy listening!

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from @vinyl_music_freak, @martin.jeffries74, and @mylegendvinyl

Doreen Fan and Haziq Jafri contributed to the research for this article.

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