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New to Vinyl FAQ

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(Please add your own questions, I will keep this up to date)


Many questions pertaining to hardware can be found at this forum:




  1. How do I clean my records?
  2. How do I fix a warped record?
  3. How come my records skip?
  4. Where can I purchase records?
  5. How much is my vinyl worth?
  6. Where can I find pressing info?
  7. Where can I buy sleeves and accessories?
  8. Can I buy/sell/trade here?
  9. Vinyl or vinyl(s) or records: Why do people get upset at me when I say vinyl with an s?
  10. What does NM, VG, VG+ mean?
  11. What is"flipping" ??
  12. Should I leave the shrink wrap on? Will my record lose value?
  13. Where can I buy a turntable, replacement stylus (needle)/cartridge/accessories?
  14. Is there a record store in my area?

Appendix A: Common Terms

Appendix B: Do's and Don'ts

Appendix C: Simple Buying/Selling Guidelines


1. How do I clean my records?

Depending on your budget there are several options to keep your records clean. Listed below are some common options from most affordable to most efficient:
A. Brush and cleaner fluid ($15)
B. Anti-static brush ($25-$30)

2. SpinClean manual cleaner ($75-150)

3. Record cleaning machine ($560 and up to thousands)




Some people have reportedly been able to clean their records with wood glue:

You'll also want a stylus cleaner. I recommend the ONZOW Zero Dust.

Some people get the job done with a Magic Eraser:


2. How do I fix a warped record?

Two popular techniques are to stack your records under heavy books (worked for me) or sandwich between two plates of glass and bake them:


Record repair products:


3. How come my records skip?

Usually a problem for Audio Technica PL-60, ION, or other budget USB turntable users. These tables often lack counter weights and anti-skating weights, allowing your tone arm to glide over grooves.



4. Where I can I buy vinyl?

New records. For independent music, you can order most new releases directly from the record label. Many record labels such as http://www.fatwreck.com and http://www.slumberlandrecords.com often have limited runs of colored vinyl exclusive to mail-order.


For new records there is:

  1. http://www.insound.com/
  2. http://www.interpunk.com
  3. http://www.shopradiocast.com
  4. http://www.oldies.com
  5. http://www.hottopic.com
  6. http://www.roughtrade.com


Used vinyl. If you don't have a record store near you, the Internet is a great resource to find virtually any record.

The first place you should look is our sell/trade forum:



The next best place to find records is Discogs:

  1. http://www.discogs.com


If you still cannot find what you are looking for, try eBay:

  1. http://www.ebay.com


The above sites are recommended because sellers generally give fair, competitive descriptions of their items and you are in most cases protected by PayPal for 45 days.


Other sources of used records are:

  1. http://www.reckless.com
  2. http://www.amazon.com or the amazon of your country
  3. http://www.gemm.com
  4. http://www.musicstack.com
  5. http://www.cdandlp.com


5. How much is my vinyl worth?

You can see how much previous auctions ended at Popsike  and Collector's Frenzy .


Keep in mind that these sites just reflect market fluctuations. Just because a record sold for $350 on ebay one time, it absolutely does not guarantee that your copy will sell for the same amount. In particular, many members of vinyl collective frown upon those who try to get market prices for their records on the sell/trade/want forum here.  As a community we aim to help each other get good deals. The price you choose to sell a record at is set at your own discretion. 


6. Where can I find pressing info? How many copies of my record were pressed?

The best source for knowing how many records of which color at which pressing were pressed is Discogs.

Dead Format is also a nice source.



The place where you will find the most accurate pressing information is the label's website. If it's not listed, try emailing the label. Finally (or a great starting place), you can try Google.



7. Where can I buy sleeves and accessories?

You can buy replacement inner sleeves, static-free inner sleeves, plastic outer sleeves at the following websites:

  1. Sleeve City USA
  2. Bags Unlimited


If you live in Japan, try:

  1. Disk Union


8. Can I buy/sell/trade here?

You can buy, sell and trade records at the Sale/Trade/Wants section of the forum. First, please read the following guidelines:



9. Why do people get upset at me when I say vinyl(s)?

Vinyl is the physical material which records are made from, thus grammatically uncountable like "water" or "money" and therefore cannot be appended with an s. Our colloquial use of the term "vinyl" is short for "vinyl records." Now go, young noob, and responsibly spread this knowledge with respect and regard to the medium.


10. How are records graded? What does NM, VG mean?


Check out the above link for detailed descriptions. For buying records, NM, EX, and VG+ should play just fine, however, many sellers list items with several scratches as VG+.


11. What is flipping?

Flipping is the practice selling a record you purchased for the sole purpose of making a profit. You can find many examples on eBay where new, unplayed limited releases are listed for 300% value. Most people have a negative view of flippers, but without them, it would be difficult to acquire sold-out records, especially for international consumers. Flippers ensure that only the wealthiest or most foolish of collector's can acquire a rare record. Before you purchase a flipped record on eBay, check the record label's webstore or the online stores listed in question 4, as many flippers flip records that are currently available and on the market.  


12. Should I leave my shrink wrap on? Will it lose value if I take it off?

Many listeners have observed that shrink wrap will warp the corners of your record if left on for many years. However, this claim could be confounded by the fact that many old records that still contain shrink wrap have sat in stores/inventory for years and thus well handled by customers. Removing shrink wrap usually does not affect resale value; however, in some cases such as Misfits Collection II, the shrink wrap may contain the logo and title of the record in sticker form and thus be sought after by collectors. 



13. Where can I buy a turntable, replacement stylus (needle)/cartridge/accessories?


Needle Doctor



14. Is there a record store in my area?

Beats me. Try here:



Appendix A:

Common Terms

(in no particular order; please add your own to the thread)

1. 180 gram (180g) popular heavy weight of modern records. Most records are between 120 to 140 grams. Sound quality may not improve, however. Sound quality is largely dependent on the mastering and cutting phases.

2. audiophilea person who is passionate about high-fidelity sound reproduction.

3. 78RPM - an obsolete speed of records

4. white label promo 

5. test pressing - before a record goes into mass production, a test pressing is produced for the label and artist to approve the pressing. Usually between 3 to 5 copies for each release. TPs are highly sought after by collectors. 

6. PO stands for "pre-order," the selling of a record before it is released.

7. MO "mail order"

8. RSD "Record Store Day" a special world-wide promotion of records where many records are simultaneously released. http://www.recordstoreday.com/


Appendix B:

Do's and Don'ts

1. Don't place your speakers on the same shelf as your turntable. You want to isolate your turntable from any source of vibration. High end turntables have the motor isolated from the plinth (table part of the turntable). Please note that Expedits are made of hollow wood which transfer vibrations.

2. Don't pm Travis to take issues concerning hottopic.com. Go the customer service section of their website.

3. Do use the search feature before asking a question.


Appendix C:

Simple Buying/Selling Guidlines

  1. SENDING MONEY AS A GIFT. Some sellers will ask you to send money as a gift. The reason is because PayPal charges sellers a fee of between 2-4% (including shipping). If the seller receives the money as a gift, they will not be charged a Paypal fee. However, PayPal has buyer protection policies. Within 45 days of a transaction, if you never receive the record or the condition of the record was not accurately described, you can file a claim for a refund/return. However, if you send money as a gift, you waive the right of buyer protection and cannot file a claim. 
  2. DELIVERY CONFIRMATION.  Because PayPal almost always sides with the buyer during a dispute, make sure you get delivery confirmation when you sell a record. If you sell to international customers, make it clear that you are not responsible for loss or damage and they need to purchase registered shipping if they want accountability.

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Good one!


Hey everyone, I'm going to add a "Do's and Don'ts" appendix. Please post your do's and don'ts here as long as I'll post them above. I would have no problem with a mod taking over this thread (I don't have much free time). 


For instance, "Don't put your speakers next to your turntable."

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And sleevecityusa.com

You should also link the how to pack a record thread, storage area thread.

Also a don't: Don't complain to Travis about hottopic.com

A do: use the search feature.

Great suggestions, will incorporate them now.


Maybe recommend a "Magic Eraser" as a form of cleaning a dirty stylus? 



Should add the link to buy/sell/trade guidelines

Good idea.




Also- Record Cleaning Machines do not cost $1,000.

Which ones?


Also the Do's and Don'ts. You mention speakers but not amps being on the same shelf? Plus most of the posters on this forum all use Expedits that are hollow wood that transfers a lot of vibrations... So tell everyone to sell theirs.

Well, I won't go that far.

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You should add the vinyl grading standards, so people who are new understand what VG+ and NM stand for, type of condition, etc.


Other thoughts:


* Where to get replacement needles (in case the turntable was a hand me down from the parents/family)

* Add insound.com and soundstagedirect.com since they get exclusive variants/colors of records occasionally

* Maybe add a common terms/definition section with thinks like 180g, audiophile, 78RPM, white label promo, test pressing, etc.

* Add a "Is there a Record Store In My Area?" question with the answer pointing them to www.recordstoreday.com/venues link


Overall, very good start.

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5. How much is my vinyl worth?

You can see how much previous auctions ended at Popsike  and Collector's Frenzy .


i would add to this. something along the lines of "keep in mind, that these reflect the fluctuations of the market. just because something sold for $350 on ebay one time, it absolutely does not mean you're going to get that here. we're a community, and we aim to help each other out."

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