Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Werner's Humble, Little Guide to Getting Yourself a Record Player

I realize my blogging can be considered a little advanced (link joke!). I tend to just jump right into blogs about underground or old school artists that, realistically, most hip-hop fans today probably don't know a thing about. And I bypass their signature releases, and even their secondary albums, and go right to their obscure B-sides and indie comeback 12"'s.

Like, right off the bat, what percent of The Source's current readership (assuming anybody still reads magazines anymore... I don't know; do they?) knows who Spyder-D is? In 2008? I'd bet way less than 50%. And for my first blog about him, do I tell you guys about his underrated classics like "Placin' the Beat" and or "Big Apple Rappin'," or his role in the smerf dance craze? Do I even bother to rant about how "I Can't Wait (To Rock the Mic)" is easily one of my top ten stranded-on-a-desert-island songs? No, I jump right into a post about a single-sided promotional record from after his career had pretty much petered out (sorry, Spyder), which I suspect I may have the only copy in existence of.

And when I talk to my readers, a phrase pops up a lot. And I get e-mails with it, too. I get e-mails saying, "OMG! I've been looking for that song for 15 years! I need it! Please send me an mp3; I'll even pay! Name your price; how's $50?" And it's not even something that rare... Like, it'll be "Holy Intellect" by Poor Righteous Teachers. So, usually I'll spend 2 seconds to find a quick link for the 12" on gemm or EBay for like $5, like, "there ya go. Get the original with the picture cover, and I just saved ya $45 bucks." And that phrase comes back at me: "but I don't have a record player."

Well, anybody "advanced" enough to be reading this blog deserves to be caught up. Trust me; it'll change your life. It'll be like when you finally woke up that morning, said "to hell with this!" and got yourself a region free DVD player (you... do have one of those, don't you?). It just opens up your life to a whole new level of hip-hop love.
So all of that was just an incredibly long preamble to this:

Werner's Humble, Little Guide to Getting Yourself a Record Player

Here are two things you should know right off the bat:

Pretty much any record player will do. Unless you're planning to dethrone The Invisibl Skratch Picklz in the next DMC Tournament, you don't need a Technic 1200. Unless you have a collection of obscure jazz records from the 20's and 30's, you don't need it to play 78's. You don't need a direct drive, you don't need fancy needles, and you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars.

Record players are still easy to find. Heck, just type "record player" into Amazon's search bar and you'll already have a bunch of options. If quick and easy is your buying strategy of choice, then you're done there. Just pick one for under maybe $70 and you'll be playing records in just a few business days.

But hey, you can actually get them way cheaper than that. For a start, search EBay for "record players." If you're more the "go out and shop" type instead of the "order online" type, you can get them used super cheap. Heck, record players are common at garage sales... get yourself one for fifty cents. Ask your relatives if you can pillage their attic or basement.

Again, if you're not a hardcore club DJ or planning to practice your crab and flare scratches, you don't need any of the pricier models. Only DJs who scratch really need to worry about belt drives snapping (if you're not back-cueing every thirty seconds, it won't ever snap in your lifetime) or scratch resistant needles (just use whatever already comes with the player). Only hip-hop producers and blend tape makers care if it has pitch control on it or any other feature you can think up.
About the only thing you will want to look for are outputs. RCAs (the round red and white plugs), USB, headset- or microphone-jack plugs or whatever. It doesn't matter. Just something so you can hook it up to your stereo or computer. And even those aren't necessary if you just want to listen to your records (then it just has to have a built in speaker or speaker output - logically, there's no such thing as a record player that doesn't have some built in way for the sound to come out of it), but if you want to copy your vinyl recordings onto tape or mp3, or just have the sound coming out of your home stereo system, you'll need outputs. But don't sweat it, because every record player you come across will have outputs unless it's a crazy, old antique.

Seriously, if you love hip-hop music enough to be reading blogs like this one, there's no reason for you not to have a record player. Even if you don't have access to an essentially free one from a yard sale or older relative (and many of you probably would if you looked into it), they're still way cheaper than your ipads - and all your music doesn't disappear if your hard-drive crashes ...instead it will take a great big, house fire! Ha ha!


  1. You can't take a turntable to your office to listen to music in your headphones all day while at work.

    1. You also can't cook spaghetti with a smart phone. Doesn't mean they don't have value.