Hooked On Vinyl?
The 8 Best Vinyl Accessories, Picked By an Expert
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Whether you’re a beginner, having just bought an entry-level turntable and a solid pair of bookshelf speakers, or you’re an audiophile-slash-music-professional who already has a badass vinyl setup and an extensive collection of records, you can always add accessories to your system — turntable weight, preamp, record cleaner and sleeves — and take it to the next level. For those interested in doing just that, we’ve requested the help of Peter Hahn, co-owner of the Turntable Lab, the New York-based go-to music shop for professional DJs, musicians and audiophiles. Hahn has curated his own “best vinyl accessories” below and explained why they’re necessary for your soon-to-be-elevated system.
Pro-Ject Tube Box DS Phono Preamp
“The signal that comes from your needle is very weak and very susceptible to distortion. The phono preamp is the signal’s ‘first stop’ and is crucial in the sound quality chain. For a phono preamp upgrade, I have been recommending the Pro-Ject Tube Box DS which features tube technology, low noise circuitry and fine tune adjustment control. Up until several months ago, this component was $699. At its current $399 price point, it’s an excellent value.”
Note: The above Tube Box DS has been discontinued by Pro-Ject. It was on sale for $399 for a limited time. It has been replaced by the Tube Box DS2 ($699) which has a very different (expanded) feature set. A more affordable alternative is Tube Box S2 ($399).
Onzow Zerodust Stylus Cleaner
“This interesting Japanese import has gained a cult-following amongst audiophiles. It’s super-easy to use: lightly press your stylus needle into the rubbery sphere and it effectively removes build-up and sound contaminants. Clean needles are imperative!”
Mastersounds Turntable Weight
“The turntable weight and stabilizer has become an essential accessory for vinyl listeners. In addition to helping reduce minor pressing imperfections, a record weight will dampen extraneous vibrations that will distort your audio signal. I really like Mastersounds’ design: it’s ultra-refined and features a great form for taking it on and off.”
Groovewasher Record Cleaner
“For decades, the D4 Discwasher was the standard wet/dry record brush. It did the job, but there was room for improvement. Groovewasher is a relatively new company that took the concept of the Discwasher and perfected it. I love the chunky wooden handle and oversized brush pad, it just feels right on your records; plus the cleaning solution is some of the best on the market.”
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Isoacoustics Iso-Puck Isolation Pucks
“Isoacoustics products were first adopted by studio professionals for isolating monitor speakers. Recently, vinyl listeners have been adding Isoacoustics accessories to their setups (under turntables, speakers, and amps) for cleaner sound environments. A side-by-side speaker test with and without Isoacoustics is a revelation. These pucks are a relatively inexpensive and a versatile way to add the technology to your setup.”
Line Phono Turntable Station
“The blessing and curse of record collecting is all the stuff you need. The Turntable Station organizes the most crucial part of your setup. With small details like record stoppers and cord management, the Turntable Station helps you take control of your listening area.”
Kimber Kable Tonik RCA Interconnect
“Ray Kimber, who much like us got his start in the DJ/pro audio world, has been handcrafting audio cables since the late seventies. The RCA cable is such a foundational piece in the analog setup. I like to recommend upgrading from generic RCAs to something high-quality like the Kimber’s entry-level Tonik. Ray’s designs are so effective that Sony tapped him to provide cables for their recent high-res Walkman relaunch.”
Mobile Fidelity Original Master Sleeves
“Hardcore record collectors swear by these sleeves. Until you’ve tried actually tried them, you won’t understand how much better these are than the standard inner sleeve. Records slip in and out very easily. They don’t crumple and are non-abrasive.”
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