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Starting a Vinyl Collection: A Beginner’s Guide

Starting a Vinyl Collection: A Beginner’s Guide

Published by Leonardo Calcagno


Starting a vinyl collection is like embarking on a musical journey that’s tactile, nostalgic, and deeply personal. Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or a newcomer to the world of vinyl, this guide will walk you through the essentials of starting your own collection, with a special focus on turntables—including the best turntables under $500.

Why Vinyl?

Vinyl records offer a unique listening experience. Unlike digital music, vinyl requires active engagement. You have to physically place the needle, flip the record, and savor each album side as a standalone experience. The ritualistic aspects, combined with the warm sound quality, make vinyl a rewarding medium for music lovers.

What You’ll Need


Start with a few albums that you love. Genres like jazz, blues, and classic rock often shine on vinyl.


Invest in proper shelving or crates designed for vinyl storage to keep your records in optimal condition.


Your turntable is the centerpiece of your vinyl setup. It’s crucial to invest in a quality machine to get the best out of your records.

Turntables: The Heart of Your Collection

Understanding Turntables

A turntable consists of several key components: the platter, where the record sits; the tonearm, which holds the needle; and the motor, which spins the platter. Each component contributes to the sound quality and overall experience.

Best Turntables Under $500

If you’re on a budget, worry not. You can find the excellent turntables without breaking the bank. Brands like Audio-Technica, Pro-Ject, and Sony offer models that deliver great performance and durability for under $500.

Features to Consider

Drive Type: Turntables come in belt-drive and direct-drive variants. Belt-drives are generally quieter, while direct-drives are more durable.

Preamp: Some turntables come with a built-in preamp, making it easier to connect to speakers.

USB Connectivity: A feature useful for those who want to digitize their vinyl collection.

Building Your Collection

Where to Buy

New Records: Online retailers and local record stores.

Used Records: Thrift shops, estate sales, and online marketplaces.


Focus on what you love. Whether it’s a specific genre, artist, or era, let your personal taste guide your collection.

Maintenance and Care

Cleaning: Use a record brush and cleaning solution.

Storage: Store vertically and away from direct sunlight.


Starting a vinyl collection is more than just accumulating records; it’s about creating a personal archive of musical treasures. With the right turntable, especially if you consider some of the best turntables under $500, you’re well on your way to building a collection that you’ll cherish for years to come.


Key Takeaways

Why Vinyl: Vinyl offers a unique, tactile listening experience.

Essentials: Records, proper storage, and a quality turntable are key.

Turntables: The heart of your setup, with options available even under $500.

Building and Curation: Buy from varied sources and focus on what you love.

Maintenance: Proper care ensures the longevity of your collection.


Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko: