Turntable noobie...what advice do you have?

As this forum has corrupted me and I have decided to dive down the rabbit hole of LP's.  Usually I stream but I find the tactile experience of records appealing.  I have ordered a Pro-ject RPM-3 Carbon with Sumiko Amethyst cartridge and a Mobile Fidelity StudioPhono preamp. Oh, and a record brush.  I will be plugging them into my Voyager GAN amp and from there powering my LSA 20 Statement speakers.

I know there is always better equipment to get but I feel this gives a good starting point.  I picked up some new records but a half dozen does not a record collection make.  So I do plan on making my focus for the near future getting more and expanding my collection.  I listen to all kind of music so they will be many different genres.  I will be getting new ones but I will undoubtedly get some used ones too.  

Okay, so what all would you recommend for someone just getting into this hobby?  Especially if I am getting any used records, I should probably look at a record cleaner.  What else for equipment or doodads?  What about tricks or tips for increasing my collection?  In my city there is a record store called Music Millennium that I will be checking out and there of course if Barnes and Noble (where I purchased my other ones).  Do you know of places online  I should check out?  Thanks in advance for your advice. 



You all are awesome.  This thread has continued to be some fantastic advice.  I did scan the last few months of threads and didn’t see anything like this.  I am happy to have asked for advice and I hope some others receive the same benefit from reading it that I have. 


At this point I have ordered a sweeper, a record clamp, anti-static sleeves, and a cleaning kit (for both the record and the stylus).  I also have a brush coming in with the turntable and preamp. There seems to be a lot of debate on different cleaning machines and processes, and I need to ruminate/research more before I pull the trigger on purchasing one.  I think it is good to learn to do it by hand too.  To me it is similar to learning to drive on a manual, change your tire, or to properly polish dress shoes.  Every gentleman should know how to do these things.  Not that I am a gentleman of course.  By the time I am more proficient cleaning them by hand, I should not only be tired of doing that way but also know more about the different types of cleaning machines and what I am willing to invest in one. 


I have also read up on the grading of records which in a lot of ways sounds much like coin grading (if anyone is a numismatist here).  And I have started reading the Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records.  The copy I downloaded is close to 200 pages so please bear with me as I digest that treatise. Once that is done, I will look at the Vinyl Press blog by Bill Hart. 


I am still looking at getting a dust cover and a tone arm lifter (Pro-ject Safety Raiser or otherwise).  Anything else in the immediate future I should be looking at? 


I have already spoken to my gf about going to some of the mentioned Portland area shops this weekend to check them out. Oh, and I am totally down for a PDX meeting up.  I am even happy to host if you all want to come down to Milwaukie for a BBQ afterward. I do have a decent streaming rig at my desk which is where the turntable is going (exclusively a music system) so we could even do some A/B comparisons. Okay, at least decent to me. 

I use the Manual Cleaning Method on the very informative Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records.

The Revision 3 extends the information on offer and does make a very cost effective Anti Static device known off.

It also offers a very well presented description on particulate in the groove, and whether lodged in a outer or inner groove, if there is a difference in the detriment when the stylus encounters it.

Additionally there is a description of stylus wear in a LP without contamination that can cause detriment to the stylus. The math of the above is above what I will usually work with, which leaves myself to trust the information with an open mind.  It does suggest a thoroughly cleaned LP with Particulate removed to less than 10 microns is a good place to be.

I am again of the view using the supplied information the Manual Cleaning Method is able to achieve this.

Other Methods and especially USM machines less than a 120Kh are not looking likely to function as a cleaning method produce the less than 10 micron particulate removal and achieve the level of purification with certainty.

Other automated methods of cleaning, will be looking most likely to be cleaning solution dependant, to attain depth of soak into the groove required to achieve the removal of less than 10 micron particulate.

As said, I am not aware of any cleaning methods I have used, that has achieved the presence of clean that is perceived during a replay of a manual clean method following the documents advisories. 

Arg.. I hate when I write on my phone and I loose a good post..

Anyway here is the short version.

To get the full performance from the line contact stylus that you have bought, both on clean or dirty records 😜 then fix SRA/VTA setup.

Those that use conical stylus can use the old tip to "put the tone arm parallel to the record surface" or whatever when there with conical it doesn't matter at all what angle that is used.

(Strange that nobody has said that but probably it is more fun to buy yet another machine (USC) First make a good setup.)

@bdp24 , And you can get a conductive grounded sweep arm that not only discharges your record but sweeps the incidental dust away from the stylus when playing for.... hold your breath.....$30.00. This video is a little goofy and it neglected to mention that the right pivot to spindle distance is 7 inches. It also tracks better if you have  the pivot end 1/4" high. 


I did not say clean records are not important. What I said was new records do not need to be cleaned. They only need the incidental dust swept away. Think about it. The stampers are used over and over again. I think it is something like 1000 records per stamper pair. If there was any contamination on the stampers ridges it would seriously screw up at least the high frequency performance of the record if not worse. There is absolutely nothing in the grooves of a new record just some dust on the surface which can be easily swept away. The cleaning industry had to create this myth to get more of us to buy cleaning equipment. Used record buyers would not be enough of a market. Many new records are noisy, bad pressings. The noise is imbedded in the vinyl. You can not clean it away but, this adds to the myth anyway.