Starting a Classical Vinyl Music Collection

Don't have much so I'm wondering where to begin.




while vinyl has unquestionably resurged, the factors that led to its decline are still present. A poor quality lp that was issued half a century ago doesn’t improve with use and ageing.

What has changed is analog equipment quality . One needs to be above entry level, but today’s gear can track and extract much better than the gear that most of us had in our youth. However the complete eradication of surface noise, especially on vintage lps, is an unrealistic goal

First and foremost, you must sample a wide variety of music regardless of the medium you wish to use, and it is helpful to have some guidance because the field is so wide open and varied. 

You can get good guide books on collecting.  One of my favorites is "1,001 Classical Records You Must Hear Before You Die."  Not only does this book list very good recordings of specific pieces, it is organized chronologically by yea of composition so you can sample music from different eras to get an idea of what you like and what you need to hear more of to understand.  Another good guide, though quite long out of print are the various Penguin Guides to Classical Music.  There are many on-line listings that are useful too.  Particularly if you are interested in modern, late 20th century and 21st century music, Google The Guardian lists and articles on the subject.

It is impossible to make specific recommendations because each individual's tastes and interests vary so widely.  A friend in my office wanted an introduction to classical music so I lent him a selection from Renaissance to 20th century music.  His favorite was something unusual: Harry Partch's "Delusion of the Fury." 

If you become serious about classical music you MUST have access to digital medium because there is so much more available that way than on vinyl.  New music and new recordings of old music died a long time ago on vinyl.  Some of the reissues on digital medium sound better than the original vinyl issue, such as, most DG recordings from the 1970's (they had great artists under contract but put out bright and thin recordings that were improved upon when reissued on CD).

If you want some lively classical music try Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.

The Boston Symphony just did an amazing set of the Shostakovich Symphonies, I'm not sure if they were released on vinyl but I'm sure you can find them by others.

There's some classical music recorded direct to disc that sounds great too.


jjbeason14 OP

351 posts


Thanks guys!

You've all been very helpful.

I'd like some new vinyl recommendations if possible.



I’ll re-suggest - buy a few used (that are playable) and buy new (remaster?) of the same - content less important - see which (old vs new) suits you better as not everyone has the same preference in this regard. If you don’t, you’re not giving yourself anything of comparative value as to whether vinyl classical is a good direction for you. Better to try to determine this early on rather than once you’ve amassed a stack of something that’s even heavier than the same cubic footage in books! 😉