Record Player Accessories – What You Need and What You Don’t
When you begin your record collection, and begin to amass an impressive amount, you tend to learn about specific record player accessories that can help you care for your records and keeps your turntable in the best shape possible so that it lasts longer and provides a more enjoyable listening experience for you. Of course you learn what you need over time and with experience, but what if you want to cut right to the chase and get everything you need (and leave everything you don’t behind) right from the get go? Well below is a list of things you will need, and some you don’t, to improve your vinyl listening experience.
Record Player Accessories
1. TURNTABLE PLATTER MATS - DO
Picking the right record player mat is key to getting the increased quality in the sound by reducing friction and other external factors. Choosing the proper material is also a good idea, and they range from felt, cork, leather, acrylic and rubber. Each material will give you a different listening experience. For a good option go with the Hide in the Sound - Leather Turntable Platter Mat.
2. SLIP MATS – DON’T
These don’t hold your record in place at all, and in fact are meant to slip around and rotate a record without damaging. This item is very much geared towards folks who are looking to get into the DJing business, and isn’t very necessary for regular everyday use.
3. TURNTABLE RECORD CLAMP – DON’T
These are weights that are used by the most dedicated of audiophiles, and sit on the spindle and created to ensure the balance and stability of your records so you have better control over the tracking. Most turntable units will have a measure of control to them already. That is suitable for the average person’s everyday use and needs, this item while good, isn’t really required for you to enjoy your collection and can be best left to the enthusiasts.
4. 45 RPM RECORD PLAYER ADAPTER – DO
A 45 record player adapter is literally a 7” plastic adapter piece that fits in the middle of the 45 so it can be used on an average record player. If you have any of these types of records (and most people do) having these around is a good idea. If you are looking for one, try the Crosley CR9001A-TU Aluminum 45 Adapter.
5. PRECISION BUBBLE LEVEL GAUGE – DON’T
This item can allow you to perfectly balance every aspect of your record player right from the get go. The thing is, while they are a neat little trinket to have, most decent turn tables these days will be balanced to perfection on arrival, and won’t require this manual adjustment.
6. CARTRIDGE ALIGNMENT PROTRACTOR – DON’T
This is an easy task where you align the phono cartridge and can help enhance the sound quality and gives for longer stylus life. Just as with the item above, this is a cool little accessory to have, but won’t really be required for the average user, and is likely something you will want to skip on entirely.
7. STYLUS TRACKING FORCE GAUGE – DON’T
This is a budget tool that is meant to measure the stylus tracking force which is the amount of pressure pressing downward by the tonearm and stylus onto the vinyl. This will minimize needle and vinyl wear. While another great life extending option, with only regular use, your wear will already be fairly minimal and you can likely skip out on this accessory all together.
8. ISOLATION FEET AND PADS – DO
This is one of those accessories you must have, and are simple, easy, and cheap. Before you even begin playing your records you should invest in a set of isolation feet and pads. They significantly enhance the music sound quality through your speakers, and also help to dampen any excess noise from your cabinet. Check out the Vibrapods as a great choice!
9. ANTI-STATIC CARBON FIBER BRUSH – DO
Anyone who owns vinyl and listens to them with any regularity will want this key accessory added to their personal arsenal. Over time dust and impurities build up on the groves and the fibre brushes can get the grime that has sunk deep into crevices, which can seriously hinder sound quality. Not only that, they help to reduce static build up. The AudioQuest LP record clean brush is one of the best record player brushes out there.
10. RECORD CLEANING BRUSH PADS AND KITS – DO
Having an all in one go-to kit is one of the best ideas you could have. You will have access to a bush, cleaner, and often the cleaning pads and cloths to get into the deep grooves and keep your collection sounding smooth. One of the best on the market right now and the best bang for your buck is the Audio Technica AT6012 Record Care Kit and it is worth checking out.
11. STYLUS CLEANER – DON’T
Dirt and grime build up on the tip of your stylus’s head and can cause a not so favourable playback. Even if every one of your vinyl are in tip top condition and completely clean, if the stylus is dirty it can still make it sounds as if you are listening to a scratched and damaged record. While all of this may sound somewhat frightening, this happens after an extended period of time, and over much use. If you care for your turntable and use it moderately, this accessory is something you aren’t likely going to need.
12. SPINCLEAN RECORD CLEANER – DO
This kit has been on the market for decades all over the world, and for good reason. This is one of if not the best record player cleaner and kits out there and is worth every penny as an investment into keeping your vinyl in top playing condition and scratch and gouge free. It comes with brushes, rollers, a ray, fluids, and everything you could possibly need or want to do your records all the service they deserve. To pick one up to add to your collection check them out here.
13. LINT-FREE MICROFIBER CLOTH - DO
These are simple microfiber cloths that prevent static as well as remove light dust and grime you’re your records without leaving behind scratches or scrapes. They are cheap and easy to come by and can often be purchased in multiples. These are also great for other items around the house (like TVs) that need to be wiped with something soft. For a good deal check out the Vibrawipe Microfiber Cloth.
14. TURNTABLE DUST COVERS – DO
This is pretty much a give in. If you cover it all and keep dust off of it, it will last longer, sound better, and stay in better shape. Dust covers are simple and a cost effective way to have your record player and vinyl sounding as good as it can for as long as it can. For a good turntable cover option, opt to go with a Reloop Optional Dust Cover.
15. RECORD INNER SLEEVES – DO
The first step to protecting your records is to have the inner sleeves that go with them. Obviously this isn’t always an option if you inherited a collection or buy them used from pawn shops and the like. However if you do have these, keep them around and make sure to use them before slipping your record back into its sleeve.
16. RECORD OUTER SLEEVES – DO
This is something that can make any collector of records shed a tear. Having the outer sleeve missing is detrimental for a few reasons. It doesn’t protect your record being the major one, as well as the fact it makes it hard to know what record it is! Many don’t say on the record themselves what it is. This is another one of those sometimes you can help it and sometimes you can’t situations. In all cases, if you have the option, keep and use the outer sleeve.
17. RECORD DISPLAY FRAME – DON’T
Unless you have something of meaning to you, with its outer sleeve, or a record that is of high worth, you aren’t likely going to be displaying anything and can skip out on this option.
18. RECORD CRATES AND STORAGE BOXES – DO
These are great for storing your records safely where they won’t get bent, scratched, or otherwise damaged. They can be anything from the old style milk great, to other sturdy boxes. If you want to go with something cute and fancy to match your décor, try going with something like this.
19. RECORD DIVIDER CARDS – DON’T
These are those big cards you’ve seen stuck between records or CDs in store and music shops that divide them by genre, or alphabetically by artist. Unless you have a very large and extensive collection, you will want to skip on this one.