Vinyl Records

How to enjoy this format

For many of us, vinyl is where it’s at, and what got us into this audio lifestyle. Vinyl records may not be “perfect”, but they offer three things that 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, which include never before released albums.

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. It is a very tactile format.

The third area is the topic of many opinions. It is taking care of your vinyl and turntable. There are a variety of ways to clean your vinyl and phono stylus, that fit every budget. If you want to maximize your enjoyment of vinyl, you must take care of it. No other medium requires you clean it’s surface like vinyl. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.

The point of this page is to point you to websites that will help you enjoy your record collection, and turntable.

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.

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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.

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Where to buy

Acoustic Sounds

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.

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Amoeba Music

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!

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Elusive Disc

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.

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Music Millennium

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. 

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Record Accessories

CleanerVinyl Ultrasonic Record Cleaning

Navigating the world of record cleaning can be confusing, not to mention the frustration one might experience with a limited budget. Ultrasonic cleaners have become popular for a very good reason. It is a touchless process using a scientifically accepted process of deep cleaning from jewelry to record grooves. CleanerVinyl has jumped into the market with a variety of kits aimed at different budgets and levels of cleaning that start in the same ballpark as common RCM’s you know. Let them know you are a Vintage HiFi Nut fan, and they’ll take care of you!

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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.

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Turntables & Tonearms

Audio Origami

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.

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One of my favorite turntables is the Beogram series. Every model has a timeless design style with engineering that in my opinion is the easiest turntable to setup and not worry if you have any aspect correct. Thankfully, Beolover is dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of vintage Bang & Olufsen units. You should check out the beolover blog, which chronicles repair and restorations of various models, along with some cool upgrades to optimize your deck.

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Vinyl Nirvana

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.

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