It seems like everything that was once vintage eventually becomes trendy again. But those who know vinyl records will be sure to tell you this way of listening to music is superior- and far beyond just a trend. Whether you’re a collector of vinyl records or looking to create a space to bring music to life, look no further than creating a vinyl listening room in your home.
To get you started, we’ve asked the experts to weigh in, all the way from Nashville, TN to Portland, OR, for their advice on how to create the best vinyl listening room in your home. Before you start playing your favorite album on your record player, check out these 11 expert tips to make your listening experience top-notch.
Seek advice from your local hi-fi dealer (and I don’t mean Best Buy). Your local hi-fi dealer has lots of experience helping people just like you set up rooms and systems in order to enjoy vinyl records. Matching amplifiers, speakers and turntables is an art. Leverage the experience of your local experts. Make sure you have plenty of space to store your records and then double it. Once you have a room set up to enjoy music, you’re going to start buying even more records. Two speakers is all you want. Forget multichannel systems intended for TV. In order to listen to vinyl records well – you just need two speakers. Ideally you want to set up an equidistant triangle between the speaker placement and your listening position (where you sit). Try and minimize hard surfaces in your room. Ideally, have a carpet or rug between your speakers and where you’re sitting. Have fun and enjoy! – Eric Gould, Soundlux Audio
Invest in the right equipment. For anyone wanting to play vinyl records in their own home, one of the most important things is to invest in a good quality stylus, so the record grooves don’t get damaged and set up the turntable arm correctly to the stylus weight specification. So many people overlook this point and ensure the arm is horizontal to the record. This set up is crucial to preserving your vinyl records. – Scee, Emperorfari Soundsystem
Find the right source and speakers to match. The most important thing to remember when it comes to both digital or analog music reproduction is that if the music doesn’t come from your source, it can’t come from your speakers. The second most important thing is to match your speakers to your room, and your amps to your speakers. The mistake most novice audiophiles make is spending too much for their speakers vs their source components and/or buying speakers which are too large for their listening room. – Benjamin Zwickel Owner, Mojo Audio
Speaker placement is essential to the space. A good starting place for most speakers is 2-3 feet from the back wall. The distance between your speakers from each other, and you, should be close to the same distance. Be willing to experiment with the positioning that sounds best. Your walls and ceiling are reflective surfaces that can create challenges. So be willing to try positioning that may seem radical in your mind. – Matt Spangler, Vintage HiFi Nut
Research what’s best for your space and budget. As a lifelong lover of vinyl, I have been through many iterations of set-ups over the years. From college in the ’90’s with a turntable in a big audio stack when everyone laughed that I still bought vinyl, to a more sophisticated system today, both in store and at home, my most important tip would be to buy the very best you can afford. There are a lot of options on the market so do your research to pick the best choice for the space you have. The same goes for speakers and in this game, you definitely get what you pay for. You get a lot of big sound out of some really small speakers these days, so don’t let size determine your purchase. Look at your room, place yourself in the middle of the speakers and a good distance back in comfy seating, and settle in with an adult beverage for the one of a kind richness of sound that can only come from vinyl. – Todd Hedrick, Owner Vinyl Tap
Keep your turntable in a handy, easy-to-reach spot — because you should be playing records all day long! Play vinyl while you’re eating breakfast, cooking dinner, reading the paper, hanging out with friends, and anything else you do in and around your home. – Rick Wojcik, Dusty Groove
Think about playing more than just vinyl. With the Como Audio Musica + Turntable Analog + Platform bundle, you will be able to play your records, access more than 50,000 free Internet radio stations, stream your music via Bluetooth, play from Amazon Music (subscription required), Spotify, play your CDs, tune FM radio, and even connect your Alexa device. All of this great music content from just two units, and the Platform puts your turntable at a convenient height and saves space. Group multiple Como Audio systems and spread your music throughout your home! – Peter Skiera General Manager, Como Audio, Inc.
Celebrate your records by treating them like functional artwork to add rotating vibrancy to your home and walls. A shallow shelf with a lip (usually used for displaying picture frames) makes a great display area for your vinyl records in current rotation while also keeping them accessible to spin at any time. Mount the shelf (or multiples) above or near your turntable to create a living shrine to the soundtrack of your home. – Brandon Bogajewicz, VINYL MOON
Lighting creates the right mood for a vinyl listening space. A great tip for anyone lucky enough to build a dedicated space for music listening is to fit the room with remote controlled dimmable lights. To create a warm, cinema-like atmosphere with very little light in the room. Listening to your favorite tunes in a comfortable room with minimal lighting will boost your auditory senses and make the artists and instruments more present and real and the music listening experience more fun, emotional, and engaging. – Tom, Owner and Publisher of Vinyl Restart
Vinyl listening rooms aren’t complete without a cozy seat. A comfortable sitting arrangement, in our opinion, is the most important aspect to any listening room. High end stereo equipment can absolutely enhance your listening experience, but a cozy seat that you can ideally move around the room will most certainly beg to be used. Your listening room and your vinyl collection will get the attention they truly deserve, if that’s the room you go into to relax. – Cory O’Sullivan, Electric Key Records
You don’t need much to enjoy your space. If you want to optimize your listening space at home, you’ll just need to follow these simple guidelines. Make sure you have a nice big comfy chair, 6-10 feet away centered between the speakers. Pour yourself a nice glass of Scotch or drink of choice and most importantly, no kids allowed. – Mark Carter, Music Record Shop