Humans like to collect things, especially dudes. As rug rats we gobble up action figures and trading cards with OCD-like fervor. In college, we proudly display empty liquor bottles as if binge-drinking was a badge of honor.
As we grow-up, we move onto “adult toys” like sneakers, watches, and cars. But, unless you’re a hip hop star, all of the collectibles above can be hard to come by. Collecting vinyl is a lot more sensible and realistic.
Like any new hobby, the road ahead can seem equally intimidating and pretentious at first. No one wants to be “album shamed” by a grumpy record store clerk with a Pavement T-shirt, so I am here to help with the Beginners Guide to Collecting Vinyl series.
The on-going series will document my own vinyl collecting experience as I was forced to give up my vintage RCA record player (and Miami Vice poster — the TV show, not the movie) when I moved in with my then-girlfriend, now wife.
Part One of the Beginners Guide to Collecting Vinyl will focus on the record player itself. While, there are lot of great record players out there to choose from, I went with a Crosley, a leading audio brand since the 1920s who have become one of the biggest manufacturers and trendsetters of the new-millennium Vinyl Resurgence.
I chatted with Jason Menard, Crosley’s Director of Marketing, to pick his brain about where to start and what to look for in a record player.
CRAVE: First off, what separates Crosley record players from the rest?
Jason Menard: Design and affordability. Whether you are buying an all-in-one unit or a C-Series, they are are sure to be well designed and bring a stylish, retro feel to any room. You can spend anywhere from less than $100 to over $500, it simply depends on what you are looking for in your turntable; all of our units are very affordable for what they offer.
What are 3-5 qualities to look for when buying a record player?
First things first, determine if you want an all in one unit with built-in speakers or a higher-end component turntable for which you would need to buy separate speakers. From there, the design of the actual product is important as well as the quality of both the needle and the sound itself.
What is the best budget Crosley model if I am just starting out?
I would say the C100 (pic above) is the best budget model for just starting out your vinyl collection. You can find one on Amazon for $134 but still get an attractive model with high-tech features such as a built-in preamp and adjustable strobe pitch control.
What is the best upgrade model if I am ready to step up my record player game?
Perhaps try out something from Crosley’s C-series line which are built for sound. If you need speakers, the S100 stereo powered speakers are a nice choice.
As vinyl collector yourself, what’s your most prized record in your personal collection?
Funny you should ask. KFC, of all companies, did a PR stunt and hid 240 hand-number, lathe-cut vinyl records at select record stores around the U.S. and I was lucky enough to get my hands on one. I haven’t opened it yet and don’t think I’m going to. I’ll likely pass it down to my daughter one day. She’s four years old and already has a small record collection consisting of mainly Disney picture discs.