Let’s get real here – record player setups don’t come cheap. If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably invested a whole lot of time and money into getting the very best sound system possible. And, while this might have not been completely necessary, the music experience it brings makes it all worth it.
Whether you’ve been a fan of record players for decades or have recently discovered their beauty, there’s nothing more satisfying than levelling up your setup. There are always improvements to be made, and thanks to this guide, you’ll know exactly where to start.
Read on to discover seven incredibly effective ways to level up your record player setup. These tips cover a range of budgets, ensuring that an upgrade is accessible to anyone.
1. Anti-Static Record Brush
If you’ve checked out our record player care guide, you’ll understand just how important it is to keep your record player clean. An accumulation of dust (or any type of dirt, for that matter!) risks scratching the surface of the player and causing sound distortions. We don’t need to remind you that this would be a massive step backwards when trying to level up your record player.
To keep things as clean as possible, we highly recommend purchasing an anti-static record brush. While wiping your record player provides an effective way to remove existing dust, an anti-static brush will prevent dust from accumulating soon after. This leaves your player cleaner and sounding better for longer!
2. Turntable Mat
Another simple yet cost-effective way to upgrade your record player is through the use of a turntable mat. Turntable mats are placed between the platter and the vinyl to prevent your records from slipping. This, in turn, protects them from scratches and dampened vibrations.
The great thing about turntable mats is that there are so many out there to choose from. This makes it all the more easier to find one that compliments your existing setup while reflecting your personality. From sleek black designs to cartoon-inspired retro mats, you’ll be sure to find one suited to your preferences.
3. Turntable Spirit Level
As you would have probably guessed by now, the more you focus on improving your turntable, the better it will sound. We’re following the same theme with this next recommendation.
If you have a keen interest in the logistical and scientific side of turntables, consider trying out a turntable spirit level. As the name suggests, these spirit levels ensure that your turntable is on as flat of a surface as possible. If it’s not level, you’ll know exactly what to do to change that. The end result, when on a perfectly level surface, is a sharper sound.
4. Isolation Platform
If you’ve done all you can to make your record player level but still have no luck, it might be time to invest in an isolation platform. These platforms are often adjustable and have an in-built heavyweight to prevent unwanted vibrations. This helps to deliver both a stable and level playing experience, providing nothing but top-quality sound.
5. Record Weights
Speaking of vibrations, there are plenty of other things that you can do to keep them at a minimum. This is really important, as too much of a vibration will completely ruin the overall sound quality of your record player.
To ensure that your record player works to the best of its ability, the needle must be as stable as possible. Too much movement will cause the dreaded vibrations.
Record weights keep vibrations to a minimum, allowing for even tampered records to play at optimal performance. Although not an absolute necessity, experimenting with them provides a surefire way to learn more about how record players work.
6. Digital Stylus Gauge
While there are many ways to set up your record player, this next step is one that everyone should follow.
Digital stylus gauge’s measure the force of your stylus when it’s placed onto a record. This measurement is important, as too heavy of a stylus might end up damaging your records. Too much pressure can also cause issues with music tracking.
Thanks to a digital stylus gauge, you’ll have a clear idea of how your stylus performs, before it’s too late. You might even be lucky enough to have one of these devices included with your record player, anyway!
Top Tip: Measure the force of your stylus with a gauge before you play music. Although it can be tempting to jump the gun, doing so can result in unwanted consequences. It’s better to take precaution and get it right the first time around!
7. Phono Preamp
Phono preamplifiers help to boost the signal from your turntable, allowing for a stronger dynamic range and greater clarity. They also help you to connect your turntable to a better sound system, upgrading the audio source in the process.
You might find that your record player already features a phono preamp, but more times than not, these built-in speakers are quite weak. This is why we highly recommend investing in a separate phono preamp box, amplifying your signal like never before. This is probably one of the best upgrade options available for your record layer setup.
Are You Ready To Level Up?
With these seven upgrade tips in mind, you should have everything you need to level up your record player like never before. Whether opting for more budget-friendly options or making an investment with weights and amps, every product mentioned in this guide will leave your music sounding better than ever.
It’s worth mentioning that, if you follow these upgrade tips and still have trouble with the sound of your record player, the model might be to blame. Lower budget record players often don’t take the above factors into consideration, resulting in unavoidable sound distortion and a disappointing experience. The higher quality of the record player, the better it is likely to sound!