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Few hobbies are as satisfying – or as frustrating – as hi-fi audio. Just when you think you’ve perfected your setup, you fall deeper into the rabbit hole. Thankfully, a few considered pieces and accessories can make a huge difference.
As vinyl is experiencing a rebirth, a handful of brands have cropped up to offer storage options, technical accessories, and cleaning products to a new batch of consumers. Simply put, a picture-perfect audio setup has never been easier to attain. Read how to curate yours below.
Kernel (from $249)
If you’ve ever lusted after the Vitsoe 606 shelving system, but had trouble stomaching the price (like most of us mere mortals), look to Kernel’s modular shelving system. The brand makes much more affordable and easy to install shelving systems, and even offers a package specifically for vinyl records. It’s available in a small beginner kit as well as a one-column, two-column and three-column option (the latter of which can hold up to 600 records, your record player, speakers and full sound system with receiver and all).
Boundless Audio (from $16)
Taking care of your records and making sure they’re clean and dust-free is an often overlooked aspect of obtaining great sound from your audio system. Boundless Audio offers a full range of record cleaning products including a record brush, stylus cleaning brush and record cleaning solution so you can always realize the full potential of your wax. The brand’s products are affordable and work well, meaning you really have no excuse not to add them to the mix.
Like Boundless, Kaiu offers a host of record cleaning accessories, as well as a selection of ways to display your records. Its standout product though, has to be the gel stylus cleaner. It’s anti-static and pulls all sorts of dirt and debris off of your record player’s stylus. A dirty stylus can cause myriad problems for your sound quality, and in the worst cases can even lead to damaging your precious records. It’s a small investment to make toward high-quality playback, and for the $16 you’ll be out of pocket you get a solid wood case, polymer cleaning gel and a mirror for easily spotting debris on the stylus tip.
Flipbin (from $45)
Most record display and storage solutions leave much to be desired. Flipbin, on the other hand, offers a sleek, colorful and durable solution for displaying and storing smaller record collections. The brand offers an easily flippable (hence the name) bin made from powder-coated steel that will hold 33 12-inch records for the Model 33 or 45 seven-inch records for the Model 45. Each Flipbin also comes fitted with felt feet to make sure your precious media console (or Kernel shelf system) remains scratch-free. The brand is a small and passionate team that makes each of its products in Chicago, Illinois.
Vinyl Me, Please ($119 for three months)
Vinyl Me, Please’s record subscription service makes it dead simple to get a curated selection of great records delivered right to your door. VMP’s pressings are often released in unique colored wax, and will also frequently come packaged with limited-edition artist prints. It’s the perfect addition to any audio enthusiast's listening lounge. Each month, VMP selects and presses a different record in each of its four subscription categories — Classics, Essentials, Hip-Hop and Country. And within these categories, there’s something for every music taste.
Turntable Lab ($80)
While Turntable Lab (or TTL) is known primarily as a retailer of everything from records to record players and speakers to headphones, its in-house line of vinyl accessories is not to be overlooked. Of particular note is the brand’s collaboration with Mastersounds. The resulting turntable weight and record stabilizer is crafted from machined aluminum and has a hand-brushed finish. It works by flattening out any warping that may be present in your records, which can lead to compromised playback. The price may be a bit steep, but trust – it’s worth it.
Now Go Spin Some Records
With even a few of these accessories, your vinyl spinning experience will get turned up to 11. A few will help with the performance of the gear you already have, and the others will make listening to records an overall more enjoyable experience. Whether you’re new to vinyl or a seasoned audiophile, these accessories will complete your setup.