Whether you've just gotten your first entry-level turntable or you're well on your way to building your perfect record collection, chances are you've either gotten the vinyl bug or are looking for some cool gift ideas for someone who has.
Part of the fun of being into vinyl is that there's never a shortage of little upgrades and accessories you can dig into to take care of your records and get the best sound possible out or your setup, from cleaning and storage kit to slip mats, weights, calibration tools, and more. We've put together this roundup of the best record player accessories to level up your spinning life.
Neoteck Digital Turntable Stylus Force Scale Gauge
- Measures accurate stylus tracking force weight
- Compact and portable
- Easy to use
No, this isn't a little digital scale for your weed (and please, don't use it for that). A stylus tracking force gauge's sole purpose is to make sure the weight that your turntable's needle is pressing down on your records is accurate so you get the best sound and don't ruin your records or stylus. So, in a way, this might aid in the enjoyment of the aforementioned weed. Every cartridge manufacturer precisely sets the ideal tracking force for their styluses (a quick Google seach and you can find the weight for most cartridges out there), and while many modern turntables come with this already calibrated at the factory, there are a few reasons you might want to grab a force gauge. First, there's no guarantee that it's kept its correct weight out of the box, and it's always good to be sure. Second, a gauge is the easiest and most accurate way to set and check force weight on a new turntable that you have to set up yourself. Lastly, if you ever upgrade your stylus or cartridge down the road, this tool is invaluable.
Femeli 304-gram Turntable Weight
- reduces resonance and vibrations
- Fits under closed dust cover
- Helps stabilize warped records
- Nothing we can find
Adding a record weight to your vinyl kit can do several things to help improve the sound of your records, and this stabilizer weight from Femeli is an inexpensive, middle-of-the-road option that's suitable for most. At a medium 304 grams (weights can range up to three pounds), this weight will help dampen vibrations that can transfer from the record to the stylus while increasing the record's contact with the platter to prevent slippage. Additionally, if you have records in your collection that are a bit warped, a record weight will help flatten them to improve how the stylus tracks in the grooves. Record weights come in all shapes and sizes, but we chose this one because of its low profile and ability to fit under a closed dust cover. One note, though: there may be specific weight recommendations for your turntable. Too heavy can stress the motor, so check with your player's manufacturer.
Boundless anti-static record brush
- Best defence against dust and dirt
- Carbon fiber bristles
- Nothing we could find
An anti-static brush is probably the tool you will use the most when it comes to keeping your records dust-free. You’ll run this carbon-fiber-bristled godsend over all your vinyl before and after you play them. Electrically conductive, an anti-static brush will pick up everything from dust to pet hair to other debris and lift it from your records to better maintain them and your stylus. It’s a must-have.
Pro-Ject Audio Cork it turntable mat
- Prevents records form slipping
- Provides some anti-resonance
- Reduces static on records
- A little pricey
Your turntable may or may not come with a platter mat in either the more common rubber or felt varieties, and while the debate over which is the best rages on, many maintain that the best material for anti-slippage, resonance isolation, and static reduction is cork. Pro-Ject Audio is one of the best makers of turntables and audio gear in the business and this mat is well made, reasonably priced (you can find them cheaper on Amazon), and also comes in a more expensive rubber-cork composite mat that offers additional anti-resonance properties.
IsoAcoustics zaZen sound isolation platform
- Sleek looking, blends with turntable
- Prevents resonance and skipping
- Quality materials
Maybe you've sensed a running theme in some of these accessory suggestions: anti-resonance. With record players, unwanted vibrations are the enemy as turntable styluses and cartridges are super-sensitive mechanisms that are not only adept at picking up all that warm sound inside a record's grooves, but can be affected by vibrations in their surroundings, such as footsteps, rumbling from a nearby loudspeaker, and more. This zaZen isolation platform from IsoAcoustics is like a floating platform that shields your turntable (you can also put speakers on them, too) from those vibrations, and even skips from, say, your kids dancing in front of it, creating a more stable surface for your turntable to do its thing. They come in two versions, one for a max weight of 25 pounds, and a slightly more expensive version that can handle up to 40 pounds.
Record outer sleeves
- Keeps your records protected from dust
- Clear, durable plastic
- Over time, the tops can curl back
This one's a bit of a no-brainer. Plastic outer record sleeves are a great way to protect your vinyl from dust and other crud while they're waiting to be played or stored, and they're cheap enough to keep on hand as your record collection grows. They're big enough to comfortably fit 12-inch LPs, either single or double-disc varieties, and the plastic has the durability to last years (it's also clear enough to see the album artwork beneath).
Mobile Fidelity anti-static inner record sleeves
- Protects records inside their sleeves
- Anti-static to fend off dust and pet hair
- Good replacement for paper sleeves
- Nothing we could find
The paper sleeves that come with most records suck. They're abrasive and, over time, the sharp plastic edge of your records can puncture through, leaving them vulnerable to accidents. These light, three-ply plastic inner sleeves are trusted in the industry for keeping records protected and static-free inside their outer cardboard sleeves. Combined with the above-mentioned outer sleeves, and you're well on your way to preserving your collection.
Monolith by Monoprice 18-inch speaker stands
- Sturdy steel construction
- Can hold up to 75 pounds
- Black color to suit any decor
- Not the most stylish looking
OK, so speaker stands aren’t directly associated to turntables, but they do contribute to the overall enjoyment and aesthetic of your turntable and stereo setup, so we'll allow it. Able to hold a bookshelf speaker up to 75 pounds, a set of speaker stands is great for getting your speakers off the ground, which positions them closer to ear level for ideal listening and helps reduce resonance and vibrations speakers can channel through the floor. These Monolith stands feature adjustable floor spikes to further add to their anti-resonance properties to help with better sound (see the isolation platform above). These stands are made of sturdy steel columns (that can be filled with sand for additional anti-resonance) and have a wide floor base and rubber pads on the speaker platforms to keep your speakers secure and safe from sliding around or falling off. Available in 18- to 32-inch heights.
OrigoDeco Vinyl Record Dividers
- Made of cool-looking plywood
- Work vertically or horizontally
- May not be the sturdiest
One of the biggest problems record collectors face is deciding what to spin. Flipping through your shelves or crates looking for inspiration is one way to do it, but when that perfect album strikes you, finding it quickly can also be a pain if you have a sizeable collection. Cut right to the chase with these plywood, alphabetically-marked dividers that slide in between your vinyl vertically or horizontally. Now, all you have to do is decide whether to put Bowie under D or B.
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