Even if you still rely on your iPod or computer to listen to music, collecting vinyl records provides a more personal, tactile experience with your favorite albums – pulling a record out of its sleeve and putting it on a turntable have a physical aspect that compact discs just can’t satisfy. Once you have your collection well under way and have your dream turntable set up, what now? Here are some must-have accessories to help you amp up your vinyl addiction.
Slipmats are a staple in many audiophile’s record player collections. Traditionally put to use by DJ jockeys to ensure a record and rotating platter are aligned, they are available in a variety of designs and colors, including your favorite band, record shop or independent label, and are often used as decoration when you don’t have a record in cue.
Even when carefully handled, the grooves in your records can be filled with dust and lint. By keeping a record brush handy, you can prevent and remove any build-up to ensure you are getting the best sound quality. While they are no replacement for record washers, using a simple fiber brush or anti-static brush can definitely help keep your vinyl in tip-top shape.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to expand your musical collection and expose yourself to new music, 45s are the way to go – they are literally a dime a dozen at some record shops. Look around for “grab bags” offered at yard sales and thrift stores. Uncork a bottle of wine or pop open a beer and spend the evening exploring your haul. You’ll need a metal or plastic 45 adapter in order to play them, so get a few to avoid having to pop them in and out of your newfound favorites.
Nothing shows that you don’t care about your vinyl record collection like leaning them up against your wall instead of storing them properly. Propping them up puts wear on the album covers, and makes them less accessible. By storing your collection vertically in crates, or on shelving, your albums will be protected and organized. Creative storage solutions include wooden wine crates, reproduction vintage record cases in faux leather, stackable milk crates, and more high-end solutions such as Ikea open shelving.
Collecting vinyl isn’t just about amassing as many records as possible; it’s also about appreciating the unique format and sound, as well as all the rituals involved in caring for your collection. If you’re like most collectors, you’ll spend as much effort ensuring you have the best accessories as you do on the records themselves.