How to use a record player

If you’ve just received a record player as a gift or purchased one for yourself, you may be wondering how to use it get sound out of your vinyl records.

What you need to play records:

  1. A record player/turntable
  2. A preamp (not necessary if your amp has one built in)
  3. An amp
  4. Speakers

How to set up your turntable:

  1. Plug the red and white cables coming from your turntable to the corresponding plugs in the preamp and then plug the preamp into the ‘LINE’ plugs in the back of your amp. If your amp has a built in phono preamp you can plug it straight into the ‘PHONO’ plugs in the back of the amp without requiring an external preamp.
  2. Plug the grounding wire from the turntable into the ‘GROUND’ port on the back of your amp.
  3. Plug your speakers in.
  4. Plug your amp and turntable into a mains power socket and turn it on.

How to play vinyl records;

  1. Change the input/source setting on your amp to LINE or PHONO depending on what you did above.
  2.  Make sure the tonearm lever/switch on your turntable is up. This will prevent the tonearm and stylus from dropping down hard onto your record. The tonearm should float above the record when you move it over the record and the platter should start spinning.
  3. Use the tonearm lever to lower the tonearm onto the record and enjoy the music!

The Cure’s Greatest Hits getting pressed on vinyl

For the first time ever, The Cure’s 2001 Greatest Hits compilation will be issued on vinyl. The two disc vinyl pressing will be the first time ever the compilation appears on black vinyl after it received a picture disc pressing for Record Store Day in April this year.

The record can be preordered on Amazon UK and will be out on 30 June 2017.

Pre-order The Cure – Greatest Hits on Amazon UK (B071P2FDXY)

Keane – Hopes And Fears vinyl reissue announced

For the first time since the 2004 original pressing, Keane’s debut album Hopes And Fears will be reissued on vinyl. The album was hugely successful and sold over 5 million copies worldwide, but only 5000 were pressed on vinyl. As such, original mint vinyl pressings of Hopes And Fears are hard to come by, and sell for over $300.00 on Discogs.

The good news for those wanting a copy of this great album on vinyl: on 4 August 2017, the vinyl reissue will be released.

Amazon UK has the pre-order page up already:

Keane – Hopes And Fears vinyl pre-order (B072B9M6Q3) – £20.07 ($25 shipped to US)

As does Amazon US:

Keane – Hopes And Fears vinyl pre-order – $22.55

And £20.07 is a whole lot less than $300.00

Keane – Hopes And Fears vinyl pre-order (B072B9M6Q3)

Kanye West Yeezus vinyl – everything we know.


Kanye West’s 2013 studio album Yeezus debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and topped the charts in 30 other countries as well. It was praised by critics, some calling it some of Kanye’s greatest ever work. So it comes as a surprise that Yeezus never saw an official vinyl release

Kanye West vinyl before Yeezus

Prior to Yeezus, every Kanye album except Graduation had seen a vinyl release. The College Dropout, Late Registration, 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy are all readily available on vinyl.

MBDTF came in a beautiful vinyl package with 3 vinyl records, 5 inserts and a poster.

Why Yeezus never saw a vinyl release

There were a few reasons why Yeezus never saw an official vinyl release.

  • Kanye rushed it

Legendary producer Rick Rubin told Rolling Stone that he was called into the studio to work with West on Yeezus with just five weeks to go before the release date. When Rubin first heard the rough cut of Yeezus, it had a playing time of nearly three and a half hours. He said that West wanted the album to have 16 tracks. After a lot of work, the album was cut to 10 tracks. This late-stage rushing likely caused uncertainty at the record label as to whether the album would even be completed on time and no vinyl release was planned at the time of the album’s release.

  • Kanye is done with physical music releases

West released his most recent album, The Life of Pablo, exclusively on
streaming services, including his own streaming service, Tidal.

On 7 March 2016, Kanye tweeted:

I was thinking about not making CDs ever again… Only streaming

— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest)

Although he only mentions CDs and not vinyl, it seems from his move towards streaming services that Kanye is abandoning physical music releases and sales entirely.

What could have been

In 2016, LuckyMe, a UK-based record label posted pictures of a design they made for a release of Yeezus on vinyl. According to the label, they were asked to investigate the possible release of a Yeezus vinyl record shortly after the album dropped. Unfortunately, the album never dropped. But the picture they posted was a reminder of how nice an official Yeezus vinyl pressing could have been.

Years ago we were asked to look into a vinyl spec for Yeezus

A post shared by LuckyMe (@luckyme) on

Where to get Yeezus on vinyl

Despite there being no official pressing of Yeezus on vinyl, several unofficial, bootleg pressings exist. There are quite a few Yeezus vinyl listings on eBay. They are unofficial, and Kanye receives no money from their sales. However, if you want Kanye West’s entire discography on vinyl, they’re the only possible way to go.

Plus, they come on a whole bunch of pretty colors:

In fact, the Discogs page for Yeezus lists 9 different variants of the vinyl bootleg. On purple, red, orange and clear vinyl.

Apparently, they look and sound amazing, but nothing will ever be more pleasing than an official vinyl release of this amazing album.

Online vinyl record stores with cheap international shipping.

If you’ve ever tried buying records online from overseas, you may notice that shipping is often prohibitively expensive. I’ve compiled a list of record stores with cheap international shipping on vinyl records. Allowing you to buy vinyl from the UK or the USA without it costing you an arm and a leg. offers free international shipping on orders over $22.40 offers free international shipping on orders over $22.40

Visit them:

Warner Music Store

Warner Music Store has a fixed shipping cost for all international orders and charges $9.99 to ship as many records as you want, as far away as you live.

Warner Music Store vinyl Shipping

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Visit them:


Insound is Warner Music Store’s outlet store. You’ll find all those super limited edition colored records that totally sold out on this site for half the price. They too have a flat shipping rate of $9.99 for as many records as you’d like to any country in the world.

Insound vinyl shipping

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Visit them:

Amazon UK

Amazon UK has very reasonable prices for vinyl shipping. Most countries are charged £1.49 per item + £2.09 per delivery, some are charged £1.79 per item + £2.49 per delivery, depending on where you are in the world. The Americans are lucky, Amazon UK charges £0.99 per item + £2.09 per delivery to ship vinyl from the UK to the US. Cheaper than most American stores. And if you live in a country that doesn’t pay VAT, vinyl costs 20% less from Amazon UK.

Amazon UK has the cheapest international vinyl record shipping of the Amazons by far.

Amazon UK offers very cheap international vinyl shipping.

Visit them: Amazon UK

Juno Records

Juno Records is another UK based store. They charge just £3.60 per record sent via the Royal Mail’s First-Class Airmail. Not bad.

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LPs cost a very low £3.60 to ship internationally.

Visit them:

Dusty Groove

Dusty Groove is a Chicago based record store that sells both used a new records. Records ship to most countries for about $9.00 + $4.00 per additional record.

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If your country isn’t covered by International Economy Plus, you’ll have to pay $50 to ship one record.

Visit them:

MaxVinyl Records

MaxVinyl is a UK based store specializing in used records. They ship vinyl internationally for a very reasonable £12.00 per delivery + £3.00 per additional record.

MaxVinyl Records logo

Visit them:

VinylDigital is a record store based in Germany. They have very cheap international vinyl shipping and even cheaper shipping to other European countries. For non-European countries, the shipping costs are: €4.90 for 1 LP, €7.90 for 2-3, €16.90 for 4-8 and €31.90 for 9-20.

Visit them:

Napalm Records

Napalm Records is a European record store specializing in rock and metal music. It has decent international shipping costs if you’re buying lots of records.

Napalm Records international shipping costs Visit them:

Bananas Music

Bananas Music is a US based  online record store that airmails up to 4 LPs to most countries for $18.00.

Bananas Music

Visit them:

I haven’t tried any of the above record stores (except Amazon UK, which was very good) but after testing their checkout systems with a bunch of exotic countries it seems that these are the best places to buy vinyl with the lowest international shipping prices for vinyl records.

I’ll keep updating this post to add stores with cheap vinyl record shipping as I find them.

Do you know any record stores with competitive international shipping rates? Link to them in the comments below.

Crosley Cruiser skipping problem: why Crosleys skip.


A lot of people complain about records skipping on their brand new Crosley Cruiser turntable. Often, Crosley owners think there is a problem with one of their records rather than the turntable because only certain records will skip. Unfortunately, the more records they play, the more they’ll see skipping, especially in louder passages of music. This is a flaw with all toy and low-end turntables that can not be fixed and will cause damage to the skipping records. I’m going to explain why records skip on Crosleys and other cheap turntables.

1. The built-in speakers


Built-in speakers may seem like a plus. It keeps the system portable and they look cute on the little briefcase, but unfortunately, built in speakers are completely incompatible with the concept of phonograph records.

Vinyl records work because of vibrations. When records are made, a vibrating cutting blade known as a lathe cutter is connected to a source playing the music that is set to go onto the record. This cuts a groove in the first record in the shape of the music. That original is then metal coated and used to stamp out the vinyl records you buy. When the record is played back, the needle, known as a stylus, glides along the groove in the same path that the lathe blade cut it when the original music recording was connected to it. The stylus vibrates along that groove and those vibrations get converted into an electronic signal by your cartridge, which is amplified by your receiver and transformed back into music by your speakers, which vibrate the air to make the sounds that you hear.

As you can see, playing vinyl records relies heavily on vibrations. The stylus will pick up every vibration, especially the vibration from built-in speakers. Speakers should never be on the same surface of your turntable, let alone in your turntable. Often, the vibration caused by speakers is enough to knock the stylus out of the groove, causing skipping and damaging the record at the place where the stylus lands on the record again.

This causes skipping on Crosley, GPO, ION and other cheap turntables with built in speakers.

See: Cheap turntables that will ruin your records

2. Undersized platter


Records are thin, wobbly pieces of PVC plastic. They need to be supported while they are being played. This is not what is happening on a cheap turntable. Crosleys, IONs and the rest of the toy turntables on sale have a platter that is way too small for the record. This allows the outer edge of the record to bend and flex as it spins, throwing the stylus and tonearm off the record, causing skipping and damage to the record.

3. Speed issues

Vinyl LP albums, the big 12″ ones, were meant to be played at 33 1/3 rpm. Proper turntables have been specifically built to play at that speed. Crosleys and the rest of these turntables have a cheap motor set to 33 rpm and connected to the cheap platter with an elastic band. The end result is horribly inconsistent speed. You may hear this as the record sound too high and/or too low pitched. The constant slowing down and speeding up of the platter and the record will throw the stylus off the record like a car full of unfastened goods being thrown around when the breaks are hit.

4. No anti-skate

Anti-skate is a mechanism designed to make sure the tonearm doesn’t swing in towards the center of the record or to the edge of the record while it plays. It helps to ensure the stylus is riding in the center of the groove. Cheap turntables don’t have this function and the arm is free to swing around the record as it pleases, throwing it out of the groove and causing skipping.

The solution to vinyl records skipping is to get a new, decent turntable. One that has a counterweight, anti-skate, an appropriately-sized platter, a decent motor and no built-in speakers.

See: Cheap turntables that won’t ruin your records.

Cheap turntables that won’t ruin your vinyl records

When looking for turntables, there are a few things you need to look for on the turntable you need to make sure it won’t destroy your vinyl. While there are many features that make up a great turntable (pitch control, strobe lights, etc. are nice but not essential), most audiophiles consider these the minimum features that every turntable should have.

  1. A counterweight
  2. A moving magnet cartridge
  3. A full-sized platter
  4. Anti-skate

(See: why turntables without these features will ruin your vinyl)

So we decided to compile a list of the cheapest turntables that meet these basic specs:

  1. The House of Marley Stir It Up Turntable


Perfect for beginners, this turntable features all the basic requirements that turntables should meet. It features a working counterweight, anti-skate, full-size platter and an Audio-Technica AT3600 Moving Magnet cartridge. Another feature that this turntable has is a built-in phono preamp. Built in phono preamps allow you to plug this into any sound system that can take a normal aux cable or RCA cables. Turntables without built-in preamps need a vintage receiver with a dedicated phono preamp to amplify the low level signal produced by moving magnet cartridges to a level that all sound systems can amplify. You could plug this straight into your home sound system, some powered PC speakers or even straight into your headphones thanks to the turntable’s built-in headphone jack.

All for under $200.

Buy it: Amazon ($199.99)

2. Pro-Ject Elemental


Pro-Jects lowest priced offering also has everything you need, except for a phono preamp. If your receiver has a dedicated phono input, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll have to buy one before you can plug your turntable into your sound system.

This turntable comes equipped with the Ortofon OM10 Moving Magnet Cartridge.

Buy it: Amazon($229.00)

I’ve listed this Pro-Ject because it’s the cheapest one on offer but they’re all great really. Get one that fits your budget and catches your eye.

3. Audio-Technica AT-LP120


This one comes with a built-in phono preamp. It comes equipped with an Audio-Technica AT95e Moving Magnet cartridge.

Buy it: Amazon ($299.99)

Cheap turntables to avoid.

Like everything these days, most turntables are made in China. Chinese turntables include Leetac, Hanpin and Skywin. These turntables are then imported and branded by companies like Crosley. While these factories can make high-end products, these turntables by them should be avoided by them at all costs.

Most of these are turntables are cheaper than $50 and all of them are under $150.

Briefcase turntables – Skywin SW-204, SW-196B, Okly OKG-001


The famous briefcase-style turntable often seen at Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters, your friends’ social media profiles and other places that aren’t known for caring much about audio equipment. They’re available in several variants, some have square speakers, some have round speakers and some have speakers on the sides. They’re made by Skywin in China and imported under a huge number of brand names, most famously, Crosley. Here’s a list of the turntables. You should avoid all models (except noted exceptions) from these brands when choosing a turntable. Click on the links below to see an example of a turntable from these brands:

  • 1byone
  • AMOS Retro Suitcase Briefcase Style Turntable
  • Akai A60011N Bluetooth Rechargeable Record Player
  • Assai Vinyl Record Player Retro Turntable Briefcase
  • Bush Classic Portable Turntable
  • Caseflex Turntable Record Player Briefcase
  • CMC Turntables
  • Crosley Cruiser
  • Crosley Executive
  • All other Crosleys except the Advance and the C100
  • Denver VPL-120 Black 3 Speed Vinyl Record Player
  • DigitNow! Vinyl Transport
  • Digital Tec Retro Record Player
  • Elyxr Audio Revolution Portable Vinyl Player
  • Funkyfonic Turntables
  • GPO Attache Briefcase Style Three-Speed Portable Vinyl Turntable
  • GoJiaJie Turntables
  • Grausch RPS100 Briefcase Style Three-Speed Portable Vinyl Turntable
  • Intempo Retro Portable Bluetooth Compatible Turntable Record Player
  • ION Audio Vinyl Motion
  • Jensen Turntables
  • Miric Turntables
  • Musitrend Turntables
  • Numark PT01 Touring
  • Pyle PVTT2UOR Rechargeable Retro Belt-Drive Turntable
  • Steepletone – All models
  • Tokky Briefcase Style Three-Speed Portable Vinyl Turntable
  • UKayed ® Black Turntable Leather Briefcase Style
  • Victrola Turntables
  • Xenta Vinyl Turntable
  • Zennox Retro Briefcase Style Vinyl Turntable
  • Vinyl Styl turntables

Leetac consoles


The stylish but equally crappy all-in-one console. Made by Leetac of China and sold by GPO, Steepletone, Crosley, Ion and all the other no-no brands.

Imitation turntables


These are meant to look like real turntables but they aren’t. Some may have fake counterweights. Their distinguishing feature is their red cartridge. Look out for this when buying turntables online. This cartridge tracks at 5+ grams and all turntables using it do not have adjustable counterweights. Brands using this turntable include 1byone, Benross, Kenley, Steepletone, GPO, ION and Assai.


Don’t buy a turntable that has this cartridge on it.

Low end tables from high end brands

These turntables come from reputable brands like Marantz, Sony and Audio-Technica but are actually just Leetacs with audiophile brands stuck on to them. These are just as bad as the turntables listed above and should be avoided at all costs.

Audio Technica AT-LP60

Denon DP200

Denon DP29F

Pioneer PL990

Marantz TT5005

See also: Cheap turntables that won’t ruin your records

Why cheap turntables will ruin your vinyl records.

The vinyl revival over the past few years has been great. We’ve seen vinyl reissues of rare titles that haven’t been available in decades and vinyl sales are at their highest in 20 years. The resurgence has been a great help to independent record stores all around the United Kingdom. Chain stores like HMV have begun selling vinyl again. It’s super cool.

Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a resurgence of cheap turntables. The market has been flooded with “all-in-one” style record players and “briefcase style” turntables from manufacturers like Crosley, ION and Jensen. A visit to HMV,, Argos or Urban Outfitters will show you how these turntables litter the shelves and web pages of online and brick-and-mortar record stores in the UK.

This post is in no way meant to be elitist. It is merely to inform buyers of the potential damage a cheap turntable can cause to their precious vinyl records and how terrible these turntables sound. I hope this post helps you to stay away from cheap new turntables and get something that will get the best sound out of your vinyl records.

What makes cheap turntables so bad?

  • The lack of a counterweight.

This is a counterweight. It is there to balance out the tonearm so that all the weight of the tonearm and cartridge do not rest on the record. Modern records can survive hundreds of plays when the counterweight is set correctly. The weight at which the arm rests on the record is known as the tracking weight. The tracking weight of a turntable should be between 1 and 2 grams. A good turntable has one of these. They are adjustable so that the tonearm can be balanced if a new cartridge is added.

This is the tonearm of a cheap turntable.


Image: Amazon UK.

This is the tonearm of a cheap turntable. It does not have an adjustable counterweight. It has a chunk of plastic. This turntable will grind away at your records at 2-3 times the proper tracking weight. Records begin to sound deteriorated after just 10 plays. You won’t hear it on this turntable though due to its cheap design.

  • Built in speakers

Turntables work by amplifying the vibrations made by the stylus (needle) as it rides the groove on the vinyl record. Speakers work by making vibrations. When speakers are built in to the record player you get terrible sound quality, skipping and damage to your records as the stylus bounces up and down in the groove. No decent turntable has built-in speakers.

  • Undersized platter

Image: Amazon UK.

See how the record hangs off the turntable? The tonearm tracking heavily on one side of the platter causes the record to flex and bend while it spins. Again, this results in a loss in sound quality and groove damage to your vinyl records. It also results in the needle skipping over the record. An infamous problem in Crosley, Jensen, 1byone, ION and other brands that import these cheap turntables from China.

  • The stylus is the wrong size

The stylus used in these turntables is far to large for modern (60s-present) 33rpm records and far too small for old (pre-1950s old) 78rpm records. The manufacturer chose this stylus to save costs. Turntables should have two different styli to play 33rpm and 78rpm records. In fact, most good turntables don’t even include a 78rpm speed because of all the changes you need to make to play the old format properly. This large stylus causes the turntable to skip over the grooves and damage your records.

  • The lack of anti-skate

Anti-skate is a feature on turntables that stops the arm from swinging in towards the center of the record or out towards the outside of the record. If the arms tries to move towards the center or the outside while the record plays it will grind away one side of the groove while it plays. Anti-skate keeps the stylus riding the center of the groove, maximizing sound quality and minimizing damage to your vinyl. Cheap turntables don’t have anti-skate.

Can these flaws be fixed?

No. You can’t fix them all. There is no correct sized stylus that fits on these turntables. You can’t put a bigger platter on these cheap turntables. The motor won’t handle it.

Some have suggested putting a penny on the head of the tonearm to prevent skipping. You should NEVER do this. The added weight will grind your records to a fine vinyl powder in just a few plays.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post: A list of these cheap turntables that you should avoid.