So, let’s say you are someone who loves music, the history behind it, the stories weaved into it and all the usual shebang, then there is no doubting the fact you have met or interacted with atleast one of ‘Our Kind’, the ‘Vinyl Lovers’ and the interaction left you fascinated about Vinyl Records and the whole paraphernalia around it. Or maybe one of your Relatives or family members handed down a sweet collection of records to you but with nothing to guide you forward into your Journey into this fascinating world of Vinyl Music, which, let me put it simply, can be very confusing at the beginning. The usual doubts meandering around the likes of – How much do I really need to spend to have a decent setup? Do I need to get new speakers as well? Where do I get all these things from? Etc. Etc.
So if you chanced upon this little Blog Post that I am writing inspired by my personal journey into this lovely and fascinating world of Vinyl Music, then by the end of this blog post you are bound to leave with some if not all of your doubts cleared or atleast be better prepared and equipped to begin your Vinyl Journey.
Just a disclaimer this Blog/Guide is not to promote any one product or brand and nor do I claim the suggested setups and products to be the best first buys money can buy. This is just an attempt to guide the people who are sitting on the sidelines of getting into Vinyl Music and are dissuaded by the sheer options and opinions out in the market. Suggestions are purely based on personal research and experience and cater to the current Indian Market.
WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS FOR A FIRST VINYL SETUP?
- WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A PHONO STAGE/PHONO PRE AMP AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
In the Simplest possible terms (Without Going into the physics of it) a Phono stage (also known as a phono pre amp) provides the connection between a Turntable and the Amplifier (which can also be integrated into your speakers – Powered Speakers). The Output from a Cartridge (which is that part of the turntable which is in actual physical contact with the Vinyl Record and the part that does all the Magical Stuff of reading music from grooves of the Record) is very low and the signal needs pre-amplification to bring them upto normal listening levels, that’s where the Phono Stage comes in. The Phono Stage Pre-amplifies these low level output signals and feeds them to the amplifiers or your powered speakers for playback.
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACTIVE SPEAKERS AND PASSIVE SPEAKERS?
- Active speakers are also known as powered speakers. Active speakers have most, if not all, of the electronics built-in to the enclosure, which makes them easy to set up and use. You simply plug in the main unit and connect it to the music source, and you're connected to a high-quality sound system. Active speakers have a lot of behind-the-scenes technology, and they often include built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology, which makes them super convenient for playing music from many different sources. And since there is not a need for a receiver, you have a neater, simpler setup.
- Passive speakers are typically found as a part of a traditional stereo system, and the overall setup is completely different than active speakers. Passive speakers don't have a built-in amplifier like active speakers, and therefore, they need an external power amplifier to power the speakers, such as a receiver or a separate component. With passive speakers, you can easily switch out or upgrade your components as you desire. You have much more control over your sound system, allowing you to create a fully customized system, which is highly desirable for many audiophiles. You can build your system piece by piece, as you go, or all at once.
SO WHAT COMPONENTS SHOULD YOU IDEALLY BUY FOR YOUR FIRST SETUP?
In my humble opinion the ideal first setup would be to get a Turntable with an Inbuilt Phono Stage coupled with a pair of Active/Powered Speakers. This setup would be a decent foray into the world of Vinyl and would dent your pocket just enough for you to have some moolah left for buying some records and add to the budget for later upgrades as time passes and you get deeper into the Rabbit Hole (*Evil Grin*)
TURNTABLE TO GET:
- AUDIO TECHNICA LP 60X
Suggested Price: Rs. 20,000- 22,000
- MARANTZ TT 5005
Purchase Link: https://www.indiarecordco.in/products/marantz-tt5005-turntable
Suggested Price: Rs. 15,000/- – Rs. 17,000/-
SPEAKERS TO GET
- EDIFIER R1280 DB
- EDIFIER R1700BT
- CAN I NOT USE THE SUGGESTED TURNTABLE WITH A PORTABLE SPEAKER I HAVE AT HOME?
You sure can do that, if the same has RCA Inputs or Aux Input (Just get a RCA to Aux Cable and you are good to go). BUT, modern music is recorded, mix and mastered in stereo and therefore best to be played with a stereo speaker setup, so I’d suggest for an optimal experience you invest into a pair of Stereo Powered Speakers.
- WHY NOT HAVE AN AMPLIFIER AND PASSIVE SPEAKER SETUP?
By all means you can! No issues with that at all you might end up having a better and more refined sound (Thought at a premium). But my suggestion to everyone trying to get into vinyl is to start with a basic setup which sounds great and helps you appreciate the experience of being into Vinyl Music, so that you are able to pace your journey well. It’s not a cheap hobby but surely can be enjoyed at a budget! You can upgrade to better setups as your pocket and interest grows deeper.
BONUS: First 3 Vinyl Records to own for anyone starting out into Vinyl Music
So you have a your First Turntable Setup up and running and are now looking to buy some vinyl records. But which ones to get? The basic Thumb Rule is to buy the music you love to listen to, But BUT here’s a little secret; not all vinyl pressings of all the albums sound amazing so one must always do a little research online before making pruchases. So to cut the long story short here’s my personal suggestion on top 3 first records to own for any budding vinyl enthusiast:
- Led Zeppelin by Led Zepellin
- Dark Side of The Moon by Pink Floyd (Cliché? Haha, but the truth is the truth it just sounds amazing on Vinyl)
- Time Out by The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Shashi Pratap Singh