If you’re thinking about buying a record player or have already bought one, it’s crucial to know how to use it properly so you don’t accidentally ruin your vinyl records while playing them.
Most people nowadays that didn’t grow up with a record player don’t have much music education, including the use of a record player. Still, the recent surge of vinyl enthusiasts has invited many new people looking to join in on the train.
It’s not as difficult to operate a record player as it may seem, and doing it correctly will ensure optimal sound quality.
Here’s everything you need to know about using a record player.
What Type of Record Player Do You Own?
Knowing what type of record player you own is the first step in figuring out its configuration. Record players or turntables come in various shapes and sizes. Although the operation of the decks and their functionality vary varies slightly, their core components are very similar to one another.
Every turntable has several basic parts, like the plinth (base), the revolving platter, the tone arm, the cartridge, and the stylus. You’ll also likely require a record player stand if you don’t own the right table for it.
Along with the other electronic and mechanical components, the turntable serves its purpose of producing an accurate electrical signal to the phone preamp. There are four main types of turntables:
All-in-one record players with built-in speakers
• Manual record players
• Automatic record players
• Semi-automatic record players
Set Up The Record Player
Plug In The Cables
The first step is to link the different parts of the record player setup to connect them all. If your record player doesn’t have a built-in preamplifier, you’ll need an RCA cable to plug the preamp into your turntable’s port.
In the case of an inbuilt preamplifier, plug your speakers directly into the back of the record player.
Tighten The Belt
It’s important that the belt has no twists or crumples for the platter to spin smoothly without problems. Firstly, take the dust cover off, remove the safety mat placed there, and take off the platter. This allows you to turn it bottoms up and slip the belt to its underside.
After that, the next step is to put the platter back on its spindle, which pulls the belt over the platter’s square opening. Now you can attach your belt to the motor and place the mat in its original position.
Balance The Tonearm
The next part should be done slowly and steadily so as not to damage the tonearm, which is a fragile piece in most turntables. Before starting, unplug the record player from its source, so its plate doesn’t spin occasionally.
When that’s done, establish its anti-skate control to zero. Next, cautiously lift the tonearm from its position. If it isn’t done correctly, its needle could be badly wrecked.
Set The Tracking Weight
The tracking weight or tracking force is the force at which the turntable’s needle or stylus sits on a record. Fine-tune the tracking force to the cartridge according to the manufacturer’s recommendation to avoid damage to your vinyl.
It’s worth paying attention to the tracking weight because it could dampen the tune and cause an alteration if it’s too low. Similarly, the needle will jump out and spoil your vinyl if it’s too high.
Spin Your Record
If you’ve followed up correctly until now, that just leaves the last and easiest step of all: enjoying your music.
Simply turn the turntable back on, put your record on the platter and choose a speed setting. Once you press play, increase the tonearms cueing lever to conform to your record and lower it until the tonearm goes down and sits on your needle.
Now you can relax and listen to the resonant sound of your music on the record player.
Store The Vinyl Records Correctly
The way vinyl records are stored can drastically impact their quality and longevity. Vinyl is a very delicate medium that can easily damage if not stored properly. Knowing which place to store them and how to do it is crucial. Here’s what you need to know:
Where To Store Vinyl Records
Tossing your vinyl records in the attic or the old closet in your bedroom isn’t always the best decision. You must consider plenty of factors when finding a storage space for them. The basic elements to check are:
• Room temperature
How To Store Vinyl Records
Now that the storage location has been decided for your vinyl collection, you must determine how you will store them. There are essentially two types of storage options:
You can store the records you regularly listen to on an easily accessible place like a shelf under the record player you use.
Long-term storage, however, can be a bit more difficult, and it’s the part most people get wrong. If you want to find a permanent home for your vinyl collection, you’ll have to consider various factors:
• Ensure no pressure is placed on them by other objects.
• Put them on a sturdy and safe shelf.
• Thoroughly clean them before placing them in storage.
• Use dividers between them.