You’ve seen the headlines. Vinyl is back, baby! Record sales are their highest since MP3s became a thing and vinyl is selling far better than CDs, tapes, or any other physical media still around. No one’s quite sure why folks are returning to LPs. Sure, streaming a playlist directly to your favorite Bluetooth speakers is extremely convenient. But, there’s something to be said for the full album experience. And, the act of hunting for, finding, and playing a coveted album, especially if it’s not available to stream, is very gratifying.

So whether you’re an avid vinyl collector or looking to start crate digging, you might need some guidance. The world of record collecting is vast and at times daunting. But, with a little help, it doesn’t have to be.

We’ve put together a handy guide to the world of vinyl records with tips on where to buy records online, what all those esoteric vinyl terms mean, and which albums you should buy first.

Welcome to Cool Material’s comprehensive guide to all things vinyl.


Essential Vinyl: 30 Albums Every Record Collector Must Own

This isn’t a list of obscure picks to impress your audiophile friends. These are the essentials, the records that everyone should own. From here, you can go down the rabbit hole searching for rarities.

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Starting a Record Collection? Here’s Everything You Need

We’ve picked out a few of our favorite pieces of gear for your future turntable setup. Whether you’re looking for high-quality budget-friendly options or don’t mind breaking the bank on your hi-fi listening lounge, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to start listening to vinyl.

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Where to Buy Vinyl Online

We put together a list of our favorite online record stores - from Amoeba to Discogs and beyond - that make it easy to start a new collection or grow an existing one–without ever having to set foot outside.

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How to Clean and Care for Your Vinyl Records

A clean and well-cared-for vinyl record will play seamless audio for years to come. But how do you keep those LPs pristine? You’ll want to invest in some special pieces of equipment and learn proper cleaning.

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The Best Ways to Store and Display Your Vinyl Records

Unless you only plan on having like a dozen records in your collection, you also have to think about the best ways to store and display your collection, which is why we’re here. These are our favorite vinyl storage and vinyl display options that run the gamut based on price, construction, and storage capacity.

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Learn the Lingo: Record Collecting Terminology

We’ve put together a helpful glossary with some key vinyl collecting terms you should know. By the end of this article, you’ll feel confident buying, selling, and talking about records with just about anyone.

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