How to enjoy this format
For many of us, vinyl is where it’s at, and what got us into this lifelong audio adventure. Vinyl records may not be “perfect”, but they offer three things, that for me personally, make them fun to collect and spin. First is the audio quality. Yes, it can be hit and miss depending on the pressing you have, as well as how it was mastered. This is the big unknown for this format that frankly was part of the reason CDs were able to get a foothold in the consumer market in the 80’s. However, dedicated and passionate companies have jumped into the market to offer remastered audiophile grade vinyl, typically 180 gram.
Covert art, gatefolds and liner sheets are another part of vinyl that is so engaging. You can’t deny that album art doesn’t have an impact on your enjoyment of vinyl. For me, the 70’s had the most creative and interesting art. Gatefolds created more space on album jackets where you might find band photos, lyrics, and fan club info. Of course, those fan clubs no longer exist, but it is a time capsule you can hold in your hands, and play whenever you feel like it.
The third area that is the topic of many opinions is taking care of your vinyl and turntable. There are a variety of ways to clean your vinyl and phono stylus, not all of them right. But if you want to enjoy your vinyl, you must take care of it. No other medium requires you clean it’s surface like vinyl.
The point of this page is to point you to companies, I have experience with, that can help you enjoy all aspects of vinyl.
Learn more about this format
Dead wax inscriptions
Ever wonder what all those inscribed symbols and initials are in that blank area between the last track and the record label? If you are a vintage hifi nut, you do. These little golden nuggets let you know you are holding a higher quality album release. The Richmond Audio Society had a great post about those cutting engineer dead wax symbols.
Originally created as a hobby project in 2000 by Kevin Lewandowski, Discogs has grown to become a definitive resource for Vinyl and CD recordings. If you want to know which release you have for just about any album on the planet, this is the place to go. They have a Marketplace as well as an App you can use to catalog your music collection.
Where to buy
Acoustic Sounds, Inc. is a business specializing in the sale of audiophile vinyl LPs, SACDs, DVD-Audios, high-quality CDs and high-end stereo equipment. It is located in Salina, Kansas, United States. This is the home of Analogue Productions, Analogue Productions Originals, Quality Record Pressings and Blue Heaven Studios.
Since 1990, Amoeba Music has welcomed independent music lovers of all kinds to their unique, vibrant stores in Berkeley, San Francisco and Hollywood. They stock every kind of music and movies — from top 40 to the best in underground rock and hip-hop, soul, electronica, new and classic jazz, world music, roots music and experimental music. They also have the biggest, most diverse and affordable selection of DVDs and vinyl LPs found anywhere. They are a trading post for new and used discs, our stock changes daily. One way they show appreciation is free shipping to US addresses!
Eastwind Import is an online shop based in California, USA, that specializes in jazz and classical CDs imported from Japan and Europe. If you are a serious jazz/classical music fan, you may already know that there are excellent independent labels around the world. They offer new recordings and rare reissues of great international artists with superb production values. If you are an audiophile, Eastwind Import is a great resource for great-sounding jazz and classical discs!
Elusive Disc is the exclusive distributor of the JVC XRCD product line for North America. The eXtended Resolution Compact Disc is a mastering and manufacture process originally patented by JVC. Elusive Disc offers 100’s of titles to choose from and many more on the way. Browse XRCD, XRCD2 & XRCD24 titles from JVC, Audio Wave Music, Hi-Q Records, Opus 3, Three Blind Mice and many other labels.
Music Millennium opened in 1969, and is the oldest record store in existence in the Pacific Northwest. They stock the ever-evolving gamut of formats including LP, 45, reel-to-reel, 8-track, cassette, DAT, compact disc, mini-disc, DCC and CD-ROM. They have hosted an array of in-store performances and autograph appearances over the years, including the likes of Richard Thompson, Matthew Sweet, Soundgarden, Sheryl Crow, Randy Newman, Everclear, Jewel, Little Feat, Susannah Hoffs and Cheap Trick to name a few. If you are ever in Portland, you must visit.
Sleeve City USA
Miss the original Discwasher® V.R.P. sleeves from the 70’s and 80’s? I do. Sleeve City’s Diskeeper™ inner sleeves have been my favorite for years now. They carry a full line of products to take care of your vinyl, tape and cds. Sign up on their email list and you’ll get monthly coupons on already great prices! They offer free samples, no-hassle returns, a customer service hotline where any customer can speak to an employee about products during business hours, fast shipping within 24-48 hours of receiving your order, and no restocking fees if you return within 14 days of receiving your order.
Turntables & Tonearms
I met Johnnie Nilsen when he still had a full time job as a machinist. And a second full time job after that where he rewired tonearms on a global scale. He’s a great example of what we think of as a vintage hifi nut simply because nobody will devote that much of their time after a long work day to work on other people’s tonearms. His passion and skill show in his acclaimed PU7 and new UniArm tonearms reviewed by HiFi Plus.
Dave Archambault has taken his love for Acoustic Research (AR) and Thorens turntables and created a business where he is able to help owners get the most out of their turntables by offering restoration, replacement parts, modifications, buyer consultations, and DIY videos. You can also buy newly restored AR and Thorens turntables for sale on his site. We think Dave is a vintage hifi nut of the highest order.
I am a designer & craftsman passionate about music and vintage analog audio gear from the late 60's, 70's, and 80's.
My mission is to help you get the most out of your audio system with custom handcrafted products, and informative resources that help you maintain and improve the quality of your HiFi system.
— BEND, OREGON —
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