Got a Record Player for Christmas? Here’s How to Get the Best Sound Out of It

Vinyl records have a unique sound that can’t be duplicated by other recording methods. If you were lucky enough to find a record player under the tree, try these tips to get that smooth and authentic sound you’re looking for.

Level Your Turntable

Records need to be level so that the turntable can read them correctly. If the disk is tilted to one side, the needle might catch as it moves through the groves, causing an audible disruption of sound.

Set your record player down on the table or shelf where you plan on keeping it, and take a step back. Is the base even with the surface that it’s sitting on? Most record players come with adjustable feet, so tweak the angle until your records are perfectly horizontal.

Use an Isolation Pad

The stylus on your record player is extremely sensitive. Small vibrations from movement, footsteps, or even the speakers that you’re using can disrupt the stylus and change the way that your music sounds.

An isolation pad is designed to block vibrations and allow a piece of music equipment to function as intended. You can find isolation pads designed specifically for record players, or you can use any pad that’s big enough to hold your device.

Choose the Right Speakers

Your record player might have built-in speakers, but they might not give you the best sound. In fact, using the attached speakers might cause your record player to vibrate and disrupt your stylus.

Look for a pair of speakers with a good range of sound and plenty of control over the sound settings. You’ll want to position the speakers on a different surface than your turntable, so make sure that the cords are long enough for your setup.

Turn Up the Bass

Because of the way that they’re made, vinyl records tend to favor the high end. You’ll get a better balance of sound by using the built-in equalizer on your speakers to increase the bass.

Use a gentle hand when adjusting sound levels—too much bass will sound worse than too little. Some speaker systems come with premade filter settings for rock, jazz, and other types of music. Apply the appropriate setting first, then make small adjustments until you get the perfect sound.

Getting the right sound out of a vinyl record player is an art. You’ll need to listen to several different records while you adjust your setup—but if you’re a music fan, that shouldn’t be a problem.