Need a boost to your growing vinyl collection? Don't forget the LPs here -- "25 Albums You Should Own On Vinyl."
One thing I've learned over time is that the records in my collection are going to take a beating. I personally love collecting my favorite albums and I play them constantly in my home. The thing about collecting vinyl is that I have found numerous LPs that I can't find anywhere else but are in really poor condition. Alternatively, some albums that I bought brand new have just been played so much they need an occasional refresh. Even in my personal collection with a higher-end turntable, needle, and very meticulous care for my LPs... I still manage to create static/tics/pops on some of my records that go beyond "charming" in reference to their sound quality. This lead me to the idea that maybe I should compile a list of the best accessories I have related to my record collection.
Below I've outlined some vinyl record accessories for record collectors and enthusiasts that I can't live without as well as some others that I think are just nice to have. I strongly recommend reading reviews/descriptions of the items (linked) and pick out a few that you think will help you enjoy listening to your most prized LPs for the long haul. Some of these items will help you clean your records, some of them will help you store your collection, and some will help you showcase it. All good things.
This might be the most used accessory I have... in fact, I have 3 of them in various locations around my stereo and the room I play records in. It's a simple wrought iron book stand (or easel), and I use it to display the album that I'm currently playing on my record player at any given time. After all, the album art is very much a part of the joy of collecting vinyl, and fellow listeners will enjoy associating the album cover with the music they're hearing. Let's be honest, most people that collect vinyl do so because they appreciate it so much... but it's hard to appreciate an individual album when it's jammed up in a bookshelf with just the spine showing. This book stand will serve you well.
I'll be honest, I don't have one of these, but I know it would probably be good for me to use since I move a lot and, thus, move my record player a lot. It's like rebalancing the tone-arm of my turntable... I consider it necessary, but often it's just "good enough" and I don't mess with it. I'm not a DJ.
Still, if you suspect you have alignment issues with your needle, this will help you precisely adjust your stylus/cartridge by providing a clear bottom view (mirrored, you see) as well as a normal top down look. It does what it says, and that's always a sign of a good tool or instrument.
This is one that I think every turntable owner should own. It's a tracking gauge that helps you balance your tone-arm so that you get the exact tracking force you desire. It measures in increments of 0.05 grams (should suffice, folks) and helps prevent mis-tracking and excessive record/needle wear. It's another simple tool that does exactly what it's supposed to do, and almost nothing else.
Too much pressure on your records and you could be slowly wearing down the fidelity over time. What better way to see exactly how much pressure you're using than a digital scale. Honestly, this is a no brainer.
You have potentially owned one of these or something very similar to it before. Your mom probably has one. It's a simple roller tool that is sticky when it's dry so you can theoretically get small things out of your tiny vinyl record grooves. I think they're marketed to get pet hair off couches and what-not because you can clean it by just running it under a sink. Only thing is, you can't just roll it all willy-nilly around your record because if you're actually picking stuff up with it, you'll be grinding it into your LP every time it goes around. They're functional if you use them correctly.
Like the book stand from earlier, I own several of these. They're perfect for framing and displaying your most prized album artwork and hanging them on your wall. In fact, I know several people who don't even own record players that buy these to display album artwork that they love... since obviously you get a superior view of your favorite album in 12" size. Most notably, a close friend of mine exhaustively hunted down every Led Zeppelin album on vinyl, framed them all, and lined his hallway with them. They're functional, and cheap. Cheaper than the vinyl you will put inside them, probably. So that's good.
Everyone who listens to records should have this (or one of these alternatives) to clean their records off before playing them. It's like a tiny little broom for your record that clears out the static electricity which normally keeps dust and debris all over your favorite records. It's SO SIMPLE and SO FUNCTIONAL I don't know how you possibly live without one. Okay, maybe that's excessive... but they are really nice and do a very good job of keeping your vinyl clean.
I don't own this, but I've heard it does incredible work for the dirtiest, most worn-out LPs that you have or can find at a garage sale. Essentially, it's an all in one kit with instructions to guide you through cleaning your LPs very thoroughly. You can buy extra dry-cloths and washer fluid separately, if you need to as well.
These are the inner sleeves that go over your records before you put them inside the record artwork sleeve. Most of your records have these, but occasionally one will tear or will be run down. Just because that happens doesn't mean you shouldn't still use them. A lot of collectible records have worn out inner sleeves--if you get some of these extras you can give the original a break and house your vinyl in a brand-spanking new one that you won't mind if the corners get all bent and stubbed. There are also all-plastic ones like THIS if you prefer that to the paper ones.
I highly recommend you have a stash of these and get in the habit of using them early in your record collecting years. Outer sleeves keep your record sleeves/artwork from getting spills on them and add another protective layer and add years to the lifetime of your records. I promise if you don't use these one of your friends dog's will definitely walk straight up to your records and pee right on them the next chance they get.
Keep in mind these come in multiple sizes (10" and 12"... as well as probably 7") for those random records in your collection that aren't like the others. Also, you can usually find these in either 3mm thick or 4mm thick sizes. Of course, I prefer the thicker ones... but to each, their own. They come in bulk, so unless you're collecting 100+ LPs a year, one package of these will last you a while.
If you buy your records on ebay or from individual sales online, you probably received your records in the mail or from UPS in a box similar to this one. Sold in bulk, they are perfectly sized to fit LPs inside and ship with with little room for movement inside the box (which you want). You can also buy these inserts to slip in with the LPs you're going to mail so that they are even more supported and less likely to get all bent out of shape.
This thing is a beast, and I love it. It's perfect for moving a small collection of vinyl (and no, I'm not trying to look down on a collection of 200 LPs as "small"). It's sturdy, and will definitely protect your records... but one thing I warn people about is that if you fill it up, it will be excessively heavy... 200 LPs weigh a lot. Also, modern-day LPs are usually double or triple-gatefold releases with multiple discs per record. This case can hold 200 individual records and sleeves and it would still be tight. I'd argue that you probably won't get much more than 100 or 120 of your new records in one. Still, with that said, it's a phenomenal case for your records.
A very practical carrying case that will protect your records when you take them from point A to point B.
This thing is big, sturdy, and holds a ton of vinyl. I think you can get it in black if you prefer that aesthetic. It's not the most luxurious piece of furniture you can buy, but it's priced well and gets the job done.