Record Player Accessories

Now that you have an interest in vinyl record players, it is only natural that you will come across a few especially if you have a collection of vinyls. However, you need to ensure that the record player lasts long, which you can do by using accessories. Most equipment that you buy comes with its own unique accessories to complement their use.

The record player, too, has its own accessories, which are important for use. They keep the record player in top shape. Therefore, it is best for you to own a few, if not all, of the various accessories available. Here are a few of them.

Platter mats

It is very essential to choose the right mat as it will enable you to achieve improved sound quality through reduction of friction, avoiding a build-up of static and dampening vibrations. A good platter mat will enable firm grip of both the record and the platter to prevent slipping off during spinning. The material from which the mat is made should contain excellent sound characteristics.

Most platter mats are made using various materials such as cork, leather, rubber, acrylic and felt, each with different sound properties. Mats made from rubber are good at vibration dampening, while those made from cork are good for opening the sound spectrum and are popular with audiophiles. To ensure it serves its right purpose, you should keep the mat clean and dry at all times.

Slip mats

While platter mats are meant for holding records firmly, slip mats allow the record to slip over the rotating platter to allow for scratching and cueing as well as enable the DJ to control the vinyl record without causing unnecessary damage. Slip mats are mostly made using felt and they are only necessary if you are a DJ. If it’s just for listening, then platter mat is enough.

Record clamp

Record clamps consist of weights designed to fit on a record player’s spindle to ensure vinyl stability allowing for better tracking. With the clamp in place and the platter flat, unwanted needle movements and resonance are at a bare minimum. The clamps are made of heavy metal that puts weight on the record to keep it stable.

Cartridge alignment protractor

Aligning a cartridge can be a very hard job, especially for an amateur. This is where the protractor comes in as it help to align the cartridge to improve sound quality and to give the stylus longer life. The protractor is made of plastic material and is calibrated with lines of tangency and null points.

Isolation feet

These accessories are those you fit or install on the record player for enhancing sound quality. These feet and pads have excellent vibration-dampening qualities. Stiff and strong isolation feet and pads are used for heavy record players, while the less heavy ones are suitable for use in light record players.

Carbon fiber brush

For record lovers, the carbon fiber brush is necessary. It is used to remove dust particles from the record player and should be used prior to and after use of a vinyl record to avoid dust building up. If dust is allowed to build up, then the sound quality is compromised. The brush is designed in a manner that allows cleaning even in-between the record grooves.

Stylus cleaner

The stylus of a record player is a very sensitive part and should always be kept clean. To do this, you can use the stylus cleaner to remove dirt and dust. A dirty stylus can compromise the sound quality of the record player and it is appropriate to clean it on a regular basis. Turn off the record player or mute it off when cleaning the stylus.

Lint-free microfiber cloth

From all the available record player accessories, this lint-free microfiber cloth is inexpensive. It is made up of woven small lens-like fibers which can pick up even the minutest dust particles. A good microfiber cloth performs exceptionally well to absorb oil and moisture from the surface of the record. The super feature of this cloth is that it is non-abrasive and therefore cannot damage the record surface.

Precision bubble level gauge

A perfectly set-up record player will deliver good music. Therefore, it is important to ensure you set it up correctly and this starts by mounting it on a flat surface. To achieve this, one can use a precision bubble level gauge. If it is placed on a leveled surface, it will prevent sloping, thus ensuring you listening to good free-flowing music.

Brush pads and kits for record cleaning

For a fast deep cleaning, these accessories come in handy. They are used for wet cleaning or dry record cleaning. They come with soft cleaning pad and specific cleaning solutions that have the ability to clean the deep grooves, removing dust particles leaving your entire record player clean.

45 RPM adapter

This adapter is also known as the 7-inch adapter. It is made of small plastic or metal insert that perfectly fits in the middle of a 45 RPM record so it can be played on the spindle of a record player.

Inner sleeves for records

Before storing your beloved record away, you should keep it inside the casing to prevent it from being damaged. For this purpose, you can protect your record by putting it in inner sleeves. If the sleeves are weak or old, you can have them replaced. The inner sleeves are made of either plastic or paper material; both are good either way.

Dust cover

If you bought your record player without a dust cover then it is important to get one. This will protect your player from dust particles or any other unforeseen damage when not in use, hence prolonging the playing time. With the dust cover in the place, the delicate parts of the record player such as cartridges, tone arm and others will be protected.

Conclusion

There are numerous record player accessories out there on the market. New ones are being made to replace older models. Either way, it is essential to own a few accessories for your record player to ensure it serves you right. Try to ensure that you purchase these accessories from selected and authorized dealers to avoid fake or inferior items.

Record Player Needles: A Guide

Turntables have really come a long way from simple versions to today’s modern and sophisticated models. They have revolutionized the face of the entertainment industry and have proved to be among the crucial gadgets in modern times.

It is a disc jockey’s favorite tool when it comes to making music. But for us to enjoy the sweet music that comes from this wonderful equipment, we need to understand, or rather have a better knowledge of its inner workings and what components are crucial to its proper working.

One crucial part is the needle. Though small in size, this part plays an all important role as it is from it that the music or sound we hear coming out from the speakers starts. We are going to cover a few tips on how to handle and maintain your record player needle in top shape.

What role does it play?

The vinyl record has grooves running all round its surface. It is within these grooves where the music or sound content is stored in the form of numerous vibration waves. Once you have placed the vinyl record on the turntable and the tone arm over it, the whole process of music or sound creation starts.

As the vinyl record spins, the needle runs within the grooves picking up those vibrations, converting them into electrical signals that travel through a set of wires located in the tone arm until it reaches the cartridge where they are converted into sound waves.

Turntable Needles

Turntable needles, or in more technical terms the stylus, come in different shapes. They are never created equal. The needle needs to be as much in contact with the surface of the record as possible. The principle or rather science behind is simple.

Large surface areas are more preferred over small surfaces because it is convenient. Turntable needles that achieve a high degree of contact with the groove reduce stress. The vinyl record moves very fast and hence a needle with a large surface area is preferred as it minimizes stress.

It also prevents or reduces the wear effect on the groove, ensuring your records last much longer. They are mostly made of different materials, but most users prefer diamond-made needles, as they are strong and durable.

Maintaining and replacing a record player needle

This is a very delicate component in a record player, and hence should be well protected and maintained at all times. Ensure always keeping the needle clean. How? By cleaning it gently with a brush. Make sure that as you clean, you do not use force or any solvent, as this may make the cementing material weaken, leading to the needle becoming detached.

Try to use a magnifying lens when observing the needle. Turntables that have their tone arms easily lifted are the best. The needle should be cone shaped, with a smooth and perfectly round end. It should also not contain any chipped surfaces as this can greatly interfere with vibration pick up and conversion.

In the event you wish to replace the needle from your record player, you can use these easy steps. First, remove the stylus by pulling straight out, in the opposite direction of the tone arm. Then, replace the needle with a similar and compatible needle. If you do not have a replacement needle, then you will have to replace both the tone arm and the cartridge. Finally, slip in the new needle and lock it in place. Play the music and see if plays nicely.

Things to consider before buying a needle for your record player

There are a number of things one needs to consider before purchasing a needle for a record player. This part is very delicate and should always be treated as such. So here are a few tips to help you.

  • The shape of the turntable needle will determine the contact level between it and the grooves on the surface of the vinyl record. The greater the contact, the greater the sound. Do not go for conical or spherical shaped needles, but rather go for the elliptical shaped ones as they fit well in the grooves.
  • Type of material. The material that the needle is made of matters a lot. Most record player needles on the market nowadays are made of diamond, as it does not have tendency to wear out the surface of the records. Any other material should be avoided.
  • Size of turntable needles. This is also an important factor to consider. Small-sized needles are best as they fit perfectly well in the grooves. This will result in good sound quality. With large-sized needles, they will not fit well at all and the sound quality output will be poor. Some vinyl records have a capacity of 78 RPM, and will require a needle size of about 2.5-3 mil. So they vary in size and choosing the perfect size is very imperative. The sizing for the needle is measured in mil and will be listed as 0.3 x 0.8 or something there about.

Summary

The needle is a very delicate component in a record player. It performs a very crucial function, that of picking up vibrations and converting them into electric signals. It is made of diamond, which has been the primary material in recent times.

The needle needs to be well maintained and regularly cleaned. In case it is broken or old, it needs to be replaced. Before buying it, one needs to consider several factors such as material, size and shape.

The preferred one is diamond, small and elliptical made. The best turntables on the market are most likely to already come with a high quality, if not very high quality, turntable needles.

However, vintage turntables are likely to have their turntable needles replaced. Ensure spending the right amount of money and buying original and long-lasting needles from authorized dealers. Give your record player an upgrade today, and get to enjoy sweet, smooth music.

Best All-in-One Record Players

Record players are among the few things from the past that are still with us. These days, there are a variety of different devices used for playing music, and yet record players have managed to hold a place in people’s hearts. Manufactures have produced various different types of record player in terms of design, features, build quality and price. Most popular modern-day record players are those with a wide variety of features other than the basic function of being able to play vinyl records.

Some of the modern day features included in record players these days are Bluetooth connectivity, USB connectivity, built-in stereo system, and so on. These features aren’t just fancy additions, they are in fact must haves for this generation. There can be only a handful of people who choose to use just vinyl record players as the ultimate means of listening to music. The rest of us, however, choose to mix things up with this and that.

These complete record players are usually also referred as all-in-one record players. As the term suggests, record players labeled as all-in-one shouldn’t be limited to just being able to play vinyl records. Features like being able to digitize your records without having to connect the turntable to your computer are always handy.

With proper research, you can find pretty much every kind of record player you want. You need to be sure of what you want and the budget you can spare to even begin your search, or you will just end up getting lost and confused.

We have prepared a list of some of the best all-in-one record players for you on the market.

TEAC LP-R550USB CD Recorder with Cassette Turntable

This is one of the best all-in-one turntables with a fantastic design and stacked with a wide variety of features. This traditional looking turntable from the company comes with a CD R/W drive, USB port, 2-speed settings, cassette player, headphone output and remote control. And, it doesn’t end there. With the RCA audio input and output you can plug in external speakers for more enhanced sound. The dust cover that has been included with the product for its protection is well thought-out.

Pyle Home PVNP4CD Vintage Phonograph

You can’t help but fall in love with this magnificent record player. The design is so classy that you’ll feel like it’s a gadget from 1900s. And, the device isn’t merely for show either. The extra playing speed of 78 rpm will come in handy. Along with the traditional vinyl playing ability, this turntable also features an AM/FM tuner, AUX-in jack and a CD drive. You can really enjoy all kinds of music with this vintage looking record player. The bright horn is remarkably easy on the eye, and it’ll definitely be turning some jealous heads.

Electrohome Signature Retro Hi-Fi Stereo System with Record Player

Electrohome is one of the best manufacturers of record players and the company has managed to maintain its reputation with his product. It’s a great stand-alone product from the company that features a hi-fi stereo system. The retro woodgrain finish is remarkable and definitely easy on the eye. Along with playing vinyl records, you can also tune the AM/FM radio, play CDs, and convert vinyl record players into MP3s via USB or AUX input with this amazing product. Also, when not in use, you can close the lid of this device for protection from dust and any accidental spills.

Crosley CR6003A-CR Echo Portable USB Record Player

Crosley is one manufacturer that offers wide varieties of color and style in their all-in-one record players. This one in particular comes with three speed settings (33/45/78). Along with the ability to play vinyl records smoothly, this product offers AM/FM radio, RCA out jacks, AUX input, USB connectivity, headphone jacks and so on. Just remember that, because the speakers are at the rear, it might not give the best performance depending upon where and how it’s placed. But overall, it’s great value for money.

Audiology 3 Speed USB Turntable with Built-In Stereo Speakers

This one features classic 50s styling with its sharp wooden box edges. It comes with a dust cover. As for the features, it has a 3-speed turntable that can play 7, 10 and 12 inch records. Converting vinyl records to MP3s is a breeze with this belt-drive turntable. The built-in stereo system gives out a fantastic sound. Additionally, it includes modern day features like USB connectivity, built-in volume control and is compatible with both Mac and PC. You will be astonished at the low price of this product. It’s a bargain.

Crosley Radio Cannon Sound System with Turntable, CD Player, Radio, Cassette Player

This is another fantastic record player from Crosley with a full range stereo sound system that is able to play 7, 10 and 12 inch records. It’s 3-speed and also comes with CD and cassette players. AM/FM radio capability is another benefit, and you can plug in your devices via an AUX 3.5mm jack input. The best thing about this all-in-one record player is that, despite all its features, it’s still reasonably priced. The sound quality is excellent and you’ll definitely be falling in love with this turntable.

TEAC LP-P1000-CH all-in-one Speaker System with Bluetooth

This is one of the most complete music systems out there. This all-in-one setup features built-in Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to stream music from mobile devices. It features classic styling and comes with an auto-returning tone-arm, 3 speed functions and even the ability to play CDs. The speakers are powerful with amazing clarity. If you’ve been looking for a true all-in-one record player sound system, this is it. You can’t go wrong with this purchase.

Best Record Player Brands

New and advanced technology usually causes older generations of technology to fizzle out. However, vinyl records are one product that has managed to stay in business even after a massive upgrade in the world of musical devices. The sense of wellbeing from playing LP records on a record player is almost immeasurable. And, unlike the days of hi-fi systems, record players aren’t so expensive now.

To someone who knows nothing about vinyl records and record players, every device might look the same, with a few tweaks in design. However, there is much more to record players than the obvious tone-arm and platter. There are different technologies used in making a record player; belt drive and direct drive models are two examples of difference in the use of a motor to drive the platter.

There are other factors you need to take into consideration, so you must remember that sound quality is extremely important. Don’t be tempted by a good looking record player available cheaply. By trying to be too cheap, you might cause serious damage to your vinyl records later on.

And, going for quality can cost a buck. The turntables that cost over $500 are obviously quality without a doubt. You don’t even need to second guess these products 9 out of 10 times. If you can spare the dough, you won’t regret the purchase.

However, for the rest of us, that kind of budget isn’t something we can spare at will. Getting the best value for your money should be a priority, and it might involve some compromise. But, in today’s competitive market, you can find some amazing record players within your budget.

Various factors that affect the price of record players are design, features, size, speed settings and the brand. You don’t necessarily need to be brand conscious when purchasing a record player, but it doesn’t hurt to be assured that the product you’re purchasing is from a company that’s reliable and has been around for a while.

After an extensive amount of research, we have prepared a list of some of the best record player brands on the market.

Audio Technica

Audio Technica is one brand that has been around for a while with an amazing line of turntables. This is one brand that has really taken customer satisfaction seriously. They seem to sell products just right for everyone. If you want to spend some big bucks, then you’ll find some amazing designs, build quality and features. However, if you’re looking for something under $100, you won’t be disappointed either. They offer amazing quality at surprisingly reasonable prices.

Audio Technica LP60 and Audio Technica LP120 are two of the best selling record players from the company. The LP60 costs under $100 while the LP120 is priced under $300. Both of these products are amazing in their own right but it goes without saying that the LP120 is better equipped in terms of features.

It’s more powerful and comes with features like built-in USB connectivity, precision quartz controls for pitch, automatic electronic brake and much more. The LP60 is just a toned down version of the 120, so you won’t regret purchasing either one of these items.

Electrohome

Electrohome is another fantastic brand when it comes to manufacturing record players. It’s not just about being able to play the vinyl records with this company. Electrohome takes the design of their products very seriously and, as a result, you get to experience the most amazing build quality and classic designs at a reasonable price.

The EANOS502 Retro Vinyl Turntable Record Player from this company is one of their highly affordable products. Not just within the company, but this particular brand is one of the best out there in the price category.

The sound quality is just amazing and the trademark “diamond tipped” ceramic needle used by the company sets it apart from the rest. Plus, you get USB connectivity, AUX input and much more.

Also, you can easily digitize your vinyl records at an incredibly low price. There are plenty of other products from the company if you’re looking for something more. You will be able to find better features if you’re moving up the price category.

Pyle

This brand is renowned for their cheap yet highly effective turntable record players. The company has produced a range of record players under $100, but they are by no means lacking in quality. In fact, they are even better than some overpriced turntables on the market.

If you’re looking for a low profile record player for your vinyl, this is the one to go for. Keep in mind that if you choose inexpensive products, the features are also going to be limited.

Pyle PLTB1 is a turntable from this company that’s belt driven and offers a variety of features, including dual playback speeds, start/stop switch, anti-skating function, and a durable dustcover. The company has even offered a year’s warranty with the product. The only thing that’ll make you hesitant to purchase this product is how little it costs. Also search for other Pyle products to meet your needs.

Final Words

All three brands mentioned above are superb and, even though no product is perfect, you’re more likely to come out satisfied by choosing one of them. It all comes down to your budget and what you want. You might need to make few sacrifices.

For instance, sacrificing the design work for better sound quality might be worth it if you’ve found a budget record player. Needless to say, these aren’t the only record player manufacturers on the market.

Some other noteworthy brands in the business are

  • 1byone
  • Stanton
  • Victrola

Do not to hesitate to do thorough research and compare the pros and cons of each product you have shortlisted in order to make an informed decision.