Whether you’re resurrecting your old collection or are a newbie audiophile, here are some things you should know about looking after your precious hoard.
First, Get Your Storage Solution
Before even buying your favourite re-issue on vinyl, make sure you have a place to store it. Connoisseurs recommend storing all vinyl records vertically and we therefore suggest the four-shelf IKEA Kallax measuring just the right size for LP’s. If you live in Cape Town you can buy IKEA at Nevada Furniture.
Make Digital Backups
Sure, you bought your records to listen to them, not just to look at but you might not want to wear out that original pressing of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours – and you might want to be able to take the tracks with you on the go. Recording from vinyl will require a good quality sound card and some software. We recommend Audacity. Alternatively, many new pressings come with a digital download code.
Add a Humidifier
It is recommended that records are stored in a room with a humidity of 35 to 40 percent. This isn’t usually a problem in Cape Town, but air conditioners can take the moisture out of the air. If your den tends to feel dry use a humidifier to moisten the air. Wellness Warehouse has a nifty model and alongside this, you can use the Belkin WeMo app to control the humidity level using your smartphone. Just be aware, too much humidity is also bad.
Don’t settle for cheap to save money up front. A proper record player has an solid aluminum/glass/acrylic platter and a stylus with dual-magnets that reads the grooves on a record more accurately. In store we have options ranging from quality entry-level tables such as the Lenco L-83 to the superior Music Hall mmf-2.2.
Get a Quality Amplifier and Speakers
When choosing an amplifier, bear in mind that your turntable might require a phono stage to convert the audio to a line-level analogue signal your amplifier can work with. Some turntables have this built in (such as the Lenco L-83 which we have in stock) however, others (such as the Music Hall which we also stock) would need either a dedicated phono stage (also stocked in store) or an amplifier with a built in MM phono input. Once you have picked your amp, pair it with a set of quality speakers – this is a matter of personal taste and we offer a range in store.
Swap Out the Cartridge
Want the best sound possible? Swap out your old cartridge. If you use a dual-magnet cartridge, you’ll get pristine sound. But true audiophiles know a moving-coil cartridge is even better. If you go moving-coil, bare in mind that you will need a phono stage that supports MC.We sell cartridges for all types of turntables, and all the tables we carry come fitted with top end cartridges. Our preferred cartridge is Audio Technica costing R450 and if you buy a vinyl from our café, we will fit your cartridge for free!
Keep ‘em Clean
All vinyl need cleaning – even those newly pressed. Grab a decent carbon fibre brush and some anti-static cleaning liquid or order a Spin Clean set from us at our café. Dirty records make for dirty needles so most turntables come with a stylus brush as well – keep that clean too. As any connoisseur knows, make sure you use a back-to-front motion (the way the record moves) so you don’t damage the needle.
New Vinyl at Your Doorstep
We stock a wide range of new and used vinyl from as little as 100 bucks to 600 bucks for the rarer pressings. Favourite titles in store include Faithless’ Blue Bird, Paul Van Dyk’s Reflections, Michael Jackson’s Thrilled Anniversary Edition, Lana Del Ray’s Ultra Violence and Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms. And if there is an album that you have got your eye (or ear) on and we don’t currently stock it, let us know and we will order it for you! We are open Monday to Saturday so come have a browse just note, on Sundays we tend to be a little hungover and therefore close the café but everyone needs a break and a boogie, right?!
(Original article seen on Popular Mechanics - How to Do Your Vinyl Record Collection Right)