We didn’t want anything fancy. All we wanted was a pair of computer speakers we could use to play music during parties. That’s why I rolled my eyes when my roommate’s dad showed up with a record player. “What on earth are are we going to do with that?” I wondered.
I was wrong. So wrong.
Our record player is my favorite part of our apartment — and we even have in-unit laundry, so that’s really saying something. Here are the top five reasons we love it:
1. The warmth of vinyl, man:
When the needle dropped and the first chords of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust thundered out of our speakers, I turned to my roommate and said, “Damn it, I just became one of those people.”
Those people, the audiophiles and obnoxious music snobs, are completely right: vinyl sounds better — especially when you’ve got a high quality pair of speakers. Trust me, you don’t really want to buy a record player with built-in speakers. Okay, I’ll forgive you if it looks a steampunk contraption or a rockabilly jukebox. But, really, find a turntable, a receiver, speakers and some wire and put it together yourself. Find a music snob, or someone over 50 to help you. It’s worth it. After years of playing mp3s through my crummy computer speakers, I feel like I’m finally listening to music again.
2. Feeling fancy:
Vinyl sounds better than digital, but that’s only a part of the pleasure of records. I love flipping through our collection, looking at the album covers, choosing the perfect record, sliding it out of its case, carefully placing it on the turntable, and watching the needle drop. For me, it’s a complete aesthetic experience. Putting a record on makes cleaning the house fun and eating dinner feel fancy.
3. Buying music is fun again:
In the era of free, legal streaming, I buy very little music. Having a record player has given me a reason to buy albums again. A record provides an experience that I can’t stream online, which makes me more excited to support my favorite artists.
4. Expand your musical tastes:
Our record collection doesn’t reflect my usual tastes: instead it’s Joan Jett, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald, even the Beach Boys. Most of our collection was given to my roommate by her father or found at thrift stores. In fact, at our local thrift store, records are only a dollar and flipping through them is always an adventure. Used records are sometimes scratched, but it’s easy to check for damage. I don’t recommend buying expensive used records until you know what you’re looking at, but dollar records have never disappointed me. The pleasure of finding new, unexpected music is totally worth a few bucks.
5. The pleasure of obsession:
When my roommate and I first started using our record player, we wondered how long the novelty would last. We didn’t need to worry. Record collecting is a hobby that provides a million ways to geek out…
- Hunt for rare albums.
- Learn more about sound systems.
- Host a listening party.
- Use your collection to decorate your home.
- Be the obnoxious music snob at the party. Or don’t.
There’s no wrong way to enjoy vinyl. Girl, put your records on. You’re going to love it.
What are your favorite things about rocking a record player?