The following article is part of QuadCities.com’s partnership with local music website The Echo. For more, check out theechoqc.com!

Starting your vinyl collection is full of excitement! What records do you buy first? How do you organize them? What piece of furniture will you use to store them? There are so many questions right from the jump. I’m Jon (also known as Centaur Noir) from Ragged Records and I want to give you a little information on how to get started on your vinyl journey.

Get Your Gear 

First of all, you are going to need some gear. There are two types of setups that we recommend at Ragged Records: one – a traditional setup Interested In Getting Into Vinyl Records? Here's How To Start Your Journeywith a pre-amp, turntable and speakers or a simplified version with a turntable and speakers.

Setup #1

Turntable + Pre-Amp + Speakers 

An amp, or receiver, works to amplify the sound from your turntable to your speakers. Your amp should include a tuner for AM/FM stereo and a phono input. The cool thing about setups with a pre-amp is not only can you plug your turntable into it, but they have auxiliary outputs too. This means you can hook up a tape player, a cd player,  and an aux cable hook up your phone for Spotify, aka the ultimate vibe machine.

The amp is the source of your power. The turntable hooks up to your amp and the speakers hook up to the amp and then you’re ready to rock!

Setup #2

Turntable + Speakers 

If you’re not interested in an elaborate setup or used gear, we also offer turntables with pre-amps already built into the system. This means you don’t need a separate pre-amp and can hook your speakers up directly to your turntable. Typically these setups also include Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream from online.

Pro-Tip 

We don’t recommend all-in-one record players. They get the job done, but aren’t of great quality. The better quality your gear is, the better your record is going to sound and play.

Record Care 101 

We buy a lot of full collections to resell on the shop floor and the first thing we do is wash them. Records easily collect dust and dirt. It’s important to clean them regularly and the right way, so your needle doesn’t get ruined.

There are great record cleaning kits out there (*cough cough, we sell the best ones*). There are low-profile kits with a solution and brush and heavier-duty kits like Spin Clean that act as a full-service wash station. Spin Cleans come with a solution and non-abrasive towels and is designed to put your record directly into them. You’ll impress somebody if they see you have this with a record collection.

It’s really important to not play dirty records because of the damage it will cause your needle, and if your needle is damaged ALL your records will sound terrible.

Handling your Vinyl 

Taking your records out of their packaging doesn’t seem like a big deal, and really it isn’t, but here are a few pro-tips to prolong the life of your vinyl.

#1 – Only touch the edges and the label. AKA Keep your mitts off the grooves.

#2 – Set your vinyl on the turntable by only touching the edges and do so carefully.

#3 – Gently guide the arm over to the edge of your record and let the machine drop the needle for you.

If you’re looking for more information on gear, care or where to start your collection reach out to the team at Ragged Records.

To read the rest of this article, check it out on The Echo HERE.

Interested In Getting Into Vinyl Records? Here's How To Start Your Journey
Jon Burns is a musician, band leader of the local group Centaur Noir, and a notable Quad-Cities artist whose work has been displayed at numerous galleries in the area. His Q-C Icons series celebrates various people of note who were born, raised or have ties to the Quad-Cities. The series is on display at Rock Island's DeSoto Gallery through the end of August.
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Interested In Getting Into Vinyl Records? Here's How To Start Your Journey

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