Would you believe that vinyl (good old fashioned records) sales in 2011 were 4 times the volume of just 2007?? As a matter of fact, for 2009-2012, vinyl sales have surpassed any year since 1991! Yes, vinyl is making a huge comeback. The bestselling vinyl LP of 2011 was the Beatles Abbey Road. Grammy award winning Adele released her album 21 on vinyl to much success. And one of my favorites, Mumford and Sons, released their debut album on vinyl as well, which just sounds great on my classic LP 12 turntable! Finally, Record Store Day on April 21, 2012, saw huge crowds at local record stores. One of our local merchants, School Kids Records, had a big line of people just waiting for them to open. For anyone familiar with vinyl, it’s a different experience from digital music. First of all, it’s a lot more trouble, but so is making a good cup of coffee or tea! It will have its occasional tick or pop, although with a good system and a new LP, this is rare. But the real appeal of vinyl is its very warm sound. The sound can be especially alluring if the recording was done with analog gear. And pulling out those old albums, if you are from my generation (the AARP crowd), can really take you back in time. However, the demographic segment that purchases most of the vinyl sold is under 30 years old. For those of you just getting into vinyl or thinking about it, we thought it would be fun to feature a few of the products and services available at Audio Advice to help you out.
Our ace service tech Steve Jetter works on several turntables a week. If you have an old turntable you would like to revitalize, we can help! Also, we have a great selection of cartridges from Grado, Benz, Sumiko and more. If your turntable has been sitting around a while, you will need to replace the cartridge as the elastomer is probably shot. But, we have them starting as low as $60. When you buy a phono cartridge from us, the price also includes our precision alignment and set up on your turntable.
Getting into vinyl
For a great entry level turntable, the Sumiko Project Debut III at $449 (2015 current price, subject to change) is a very good value. The price includes a pretty decent Ortofon cartridge so you can start exploring vinyl without breaking the bank. Sumiko’s has additional turntable choices, then we move into the made in America VIP turntables, which is our best selling brand. Our two top choices, if you wanted to really get a great turntable would be a Linn LP12 or the incredible SME30.
One barrier to getting into vinyl is a phono stage. Most current electronics do not include a phono stage. You need one because the output level of a phono cartridge is measured in millivolts, while the output of a typical CD player is 2 volts. A phono stage amplifies the very low level signal and supplies the needed RIAA equalization. Well, the good news is Audio Advice has a huge selection of phono stages starting as low as $159. These will connect to a spare input on any current receiver or integrated amp so you can get started.
Both our Raleigh and Charlotte stores have both the products and knowledge to help you out down the vinyl path. We can even show you the best way to clean and care for your LP’s. Plus, you can learn how to protect and clean the fragile stylus on your phono cartridge. Our vinyl related products include, Sumiko, Linn, SME, VPI, Grado, Benz, Audio Research, Sutherland, and more. You’ll also find stylus and record cleaners from LAST, Sumiko, Benz, and more. It’s a ton of fun and another great way to enjoy music!