May 28, 2021

How to successfully downsize your vinyl player setup without sacrificing audio quality

How To Downsize Your Vinyl Setup

My downsized but upgraded vinyl record setup

Being a part of a few vinyl social circles, I have seen a number of posts of newcomer’s setups, which usually include a suitcase record player, and this motivated me to share my own downsized setup and my story of how it came to be. It is awesome to see so many new record lovers’ humble beginnings! Loving and collecting records is really a special thing. When the album artwork (especially if it’s cool art) is that much larger to behold its beauty in your hands while listening to a nice set of speakers or headphones, it makes the music listening experience so much more immersive. 

1 by One all-in-one entertainment system

1970s era discontinued Bang and Olefsen speakers

My 1 By One Record Player

My setup is an amalgam of luck and being forced to downsize my space. When my wife and I moved to a smaller but cozier apartment, I was forced to store up my full sized player, stereo receiver, and giant speakers. I had no player for a while. My wife and her sister went in on the best Christmas gift I ever got, this 1 by One all-in-one player. Vinyl, CDs, cassettes, radio, aux, Bluetooth, and USB drives with the ability to play music files but also record from vinyl to the drive in lossless format. This was a great little box! It was only the first step though, as built-in speakers for these box players aren’t optimal.

Free Vintage Bang And Olufsen

years prior while helping a guy build his house we needed to take a trip to Waterbury to the Home Depot for some supplies. On our trip back along the main road was a set of furniture and an old sound system on the curb of someone's property. I asked my friend to stop so I could take it and put it behind our seats in his pickup truck. I found out later from my brother-in-law, who is also an audiophile, that these were Bang and Olefsen speakers that were manufactured in the late '70s and were discontinued around '79. They were kept in VG+ condition and he kept confirming with me that I picked them up off the side of the road. He was in disbelief about that. I guess the lesson here is to never gloss over a free sound system on the side of the road. You never know what people are giving away for free. 

Lepy Super Bass Power Amplifier

Lepy Superbass Amplifier

The final step to my downsized but upgraded setup was an amplifier. My box has the regular red and white speaker outputs in the back but my B&O speakers only had copper wiring. My brother-in-law recommended a nice amp on Amazon that could connect these parts. I went with the Lepy Super Bass power amplifier. At 39 dollars with tax it was just 40 bucks on Amazon. This amplifier allowed me to connect the red and white cables to it and then the copper wiring of my B&Os to it. I can adjust the treble and bass to my liking and maximize the sound output better than the built-in speaker could previously.

Now with the built-in speakers on at a lower volume to help fill out the middle of the space, my setup became complete. It only cost me 40 bucks out of pocket. My dad who got me into music and record collecting at a young age has asked me to never get rid of my B&Os because to his ear he never heard such clarity from speakers that are made nowadays.

A Crosley Vinyl Crate

I’d like to also share a couple of recent record purchases and preorders. I am also committed to keeping my own collection very curated and small, so I only want to hold on to absolute gems and essentials that I wouldn’t want to live without. This aspect of record collecting could prove a tough habit to keep in check, as new records can always tempt a fan to purchase and grow their collection. The cabinet my dad also gave me when he was cleaning out our family home. I bought the Crosley crate for my favorites. 

Crosley Vinyl Crate and free record cabinet from Dad

Final Thoughts

I hope this inspires some newcomer vinyl lovers to continue to upgrade their setups with amplifiers, speakers, and understand that it is possible to have a downsized vinyl setup that doesn't sacrifice audio quality. Never forget to also to be aware of any curb alerts in your neighborhoods, as you never know the quality of sound systems that people might be putting on the road for free. Peace and have a great day.

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