I’m really excited to share a few tips with you to improve your listening experience. It’s inevitable in every hobby that you eventually get the itch to upgrade, add-on and/or enhance in some way. As you know, this high maintenance listening style is every bit worth the extra effort for the true music lover, with its superior depth of sound and its nostalgic appeal, records hearken back to a day when recorded sound just seemed to have more soul.
After investing your precious money and time into cultivating your ideal collection and buying the best turntable you can afford, you definitely want the best sound possible.
Here are a few upgrades I recommend, to keep your sound ever improving.
The most important factors to consider when buying your new turntable can be found in the article linked below.
If you already have your record player and are looking for simple ways to optimize your sound, stick with me…and no, I’m not telling you about speakers, since everyone knows speakers are important I’m going to save you from reading the same old info you can get anywhere else on the web.
Here are 3 things that will make a world of difference in your listening experience.
I’m going to tell you about the most expensive of the three first because the price point on cartridges varies greatly. There are low-cost options as low as $30 and some options that are over $1k, though for a cartridge that’s actually worth the trouble you are probably looking at a cost of around $130.
When considering a new cartridge for your turntable it’s helpful to know that most cartridges are one of two types, they are either;
A super simple explanation of the moving magnetic type is that it has a small magnet between two copper coils on the inside, the magnet vibrates as the stylus tracks the record and creates a current.
This type is also an electromagnetic generator, but it works differently. This time, the coils move within the magnetic field of a magnet, instead of the magnet moving between the coils to produce current.
You’ll find as you research that the Moving Coil type are generally much more expensive than the Moving Magnet variety but create a more detailed sound and therefore are the superior performer.
The next 2 upgrades are much more simple and cost effective.
2. Isolate Your Turntable
Some people will say this is not a necessary investment and they may be right to a degree, but you can spend as much or as little as you want in this pursuit and it can really help you preserve the quality of your records. The grooves on your records are so thin that external vibrations will at best disrupt your sound quality or at the worst, scratch your vinyl. If you have kids, you know, you really must find a way to set your turntable up so that every dance party doesn’t do permanent damage to your record collection.
When my husband and I first set up our turntable we quickly learned that the vibrations from simply walking through the house near our record player was enough to make it skip. I ended up grabbing my “paddle pad,” a foam cushion that I use when kayaking and we put that under our turntable and covered it with a runner and that was enough to help the issue for quite a while, and it was free!!
There are a lot of options out there and you can even look for isolation pads made for speakers that will work on your turntable too, you can get creative here.
I’m completely guilty of this next one but will say it is also a good idea to make sure your turntable is not sharing a surface with your speakers. Any vibration that makes its way to the platter of your turntable is going to have an effect on sound quality. We plan on moving our whole set up later this year and when we do, we’ll be making it a priority to separate the speakers from the turntable.
3. Get A Record Clamp
Record clamps (can also be called weights or stabilizers) are little weights that sit atop the middle of the record-holding it in place. This little device is great for older records that are warped and for records that are a bit on the flimsy side. They ensure even contact with the slip mat and as you know, the more stable you can make the playing surface, the better. These cheap little weights can even make a difference with new records in perfect condition. I highly recommend you pick one of these up, they sell for as little as $16 and it’s money well spent, I assure you.
That’s a Wrap!
So there are my 3 tips for improving and updating your turntable. Record clamp, turntable isolation and, when you can afford it, a newly updated cartridge will help ensure you’re getting the most out of your records and let you enjoy that high-quality warmth that made you fall in love with vinyl in the first place.
Do you know any other cost-effective upgrades, or have tips on other ways to make the most of your sound set up? If so, please comment below 🙂