There is always something going on here at Flea Market Funk. Whether it’s getting new gigs, working on new mixes, meeting new collaborators, freelance writing, or consulting on mobile apps (among other things), vinyl records are always on our mind. Always. Every day. Now, my wife says I think and talk about records a little too much. I could agree with her, this vinyl record obsession is well, an obsession. It’s also the fuel that drives me to push this site further and further to where it needs to go. Everywhere you look, there is an article about vinyl ‘coming back’, vinyl sales at an all time high, vinyl’s new audience, etc. It’s a never ending vinyl parade on the internet, print, and more. It can only help the culture, right? We’re here every day trying to bring the best in vinyl record culture, DJ culture, and everything that goes with it. That being said, we had some random record (and record related thoughts) this weekend that we wanted to throw out there. Feel free to give us your thoughts as well here or on social media.
Number one, collect records because you love records and you love music on vinyl records. Recently, an article came out talking about people who collect records without a turntable. It stated that many of collectors don’t have the means to play the genre. To me, this is absurd. I can see buying a record as an art piece to put on your wall one or two times, but to continually buy vinyl and not play it, come on son! Vinyl records are an experience. From the unwrapping of the shrink wrap to the method of pulling it out of the sleeve to the new smell of a sealed record (and distinct smell of an old record) to the actually needle to record moment, it’s a tangible experience you just don’t get with digital. That being said, unless you’re Mr. Science and you fashion some construction paper, a pencil, and sewing needle together as a makeshift turntable (which will be worse than those Crosleys) and you’re just amassing vinyl to have it, do yourself a favor: get something to play it on. Do your research and get something that will play your records. This leads us to the next subject, turntables.
Do your research, record collecting is much more than getting the latest release by __________ at a grocery store near the cucumbers.
Number two, buy a decent turntable. Unless you’re a digger who needs something to quickly sample records out in the field, invest in a record player that is good. There are a ton of fly by night, portable turntables that you can get. The most well known, Crosley, has a shit ton of them. Stay far away please. These players will eat up your vinyl. They are not for long term use. Remember, like the tattoo world: a good tattoo is never cheap, and a cheap tattoo is never good. You’re getting what you pay for. There are a wide range of other portables from NuMark, Vestax, and more that will serve you better. Now, they aren’t cheap, and some of these things get pricey. I can see spending $400 on a Sound Burger by audio technia, because they’re one of the best, and you could actually use it as your go to turntable. It’s a high end audio piece that’s become a cult favorite among diggers. There are a few more that are coveted, but remember, these are for SHORT TERM USE. That’s not what they tell you. They want you to believe you can put your $1500 copy of (insert rare record here) on it and let it fly. I have something similar and the damn thing skips all the time. But guess what? It’s small, it was cheap, and I just sample records with it. That’s all. So, if you are not going in that direction, do your research and get a middle of the road, or some kind of starter turntable with a decent receiver and some speakers to get your aural delights spinning on the platter. You’ll hear so much more that you wouldn’t hear on those tinny, fragile, portables that a company like Crosley is shoving down your throat at Urban Outfitters. “Hey look! It’s a turntable dad, can I get one? All the kids have ’em.” Make sure when you do get a decent turntable set up you don’t skimp on the cartridge and stylus. Again, research, research, research. A very knowledgeable high end audio guy once told me that you can never go wrong with a Technics 1200, even in an audiophile setting. You can get them used, tuned up, and ready to go for a fraction of these super high audiophile turntables. Food for thought.
Lastly, let’s talk about vinyl records themselves. You have a decent turntable set up, and whether you are a long time collector who is getting back into buying and playing records after selling them off for those “better sounding compact discs” (boy did we all get taken for a ride on that one), or entering the vinyl market for the first time, listen up. Prince just died, and you have to have that copy of Purple Rain. Guess what? If you pay more than $10 for this record, you’ve been taken for a ride. Don’t get sucked into trends. In fact, if you’re paying $40 for a new record, you’re not getting it. There is so much music out there, so many records to be had in the dollar bin. GOOD records. Classic records for $1 or $2. start there. Collect records and bands you like, then expand from there. We understand that a lot of records that are new start at twenty dollars or so, but that reissue common from the 80’s you just saw at Whole Foods for $35 can easily be found at a fraction of the cost at a record store. Do your research, record collecting is much more than getting the latest release by __________ at a grocery store near the cucumbers. It’s a culture, it’s a lifestyle, and it can be very rewarding if you put your time in. Don’t half ass into vinyl records. Get in their full bore and do it right. Records are meant to be listened to. Not to be put up on a wall or shelf to just say: “I have that”. Share music, ask questions, be a student, and learn. One thing for sure is that you never will be able to collect all the vinyl, but you can try! Be inquisitive, open your mind, and best of all, don’t follow what everyone else is doing. That dubstep version of “Purple Rain” is irrelevant already. You’ll find like minded individuals in this community to get with, share records, and learn from soon enough. Vinyl records can be a great experience if you put yourself into it, they’re much more than just a format. And finally, record store day is every day. Support your local record store(s), because if you don’t they will go out of business, then you’ll be stuck with low rate MP3s you can’t play on that turntable you just bought for the records that just sit on the shelf unopened. Dig? Now go out an play records!