If you’re building a traditional DJ rig or just collecting luxury discs, you would really need to invest time and effort in starting your vinyl collection.
Since they’re not that easy to hunt down, we break down what you need to know for you to score truly great vinyl records.
Vinyl became pretty much extinct during the birth of cassette tapes, CDs, MP3s, and everything else that came after. However, in recent years, some people got fed up with a world saturated with all things digital and rekindled their love with good ol’ vinyl.
Of course, through it all, DJs with traditional setups never faltered in their passion for these old-school records. While club patrons in their early 20s may have never touched a vinyl record in their life, the DJ that’s keeping them entertained all night may have been carrying crates of vinyl all day (and he’s probably making them all groove to gramophone records).
It’s the raw and sultry sound only vinyl records can produce that DJs are drawn to. Also, because of that, beatmatching can be a more complicated art form with vinyl, which makes the skill so sought-after and rewarding.
The Difference Vs. Digital
You might wonder, “If vinyl is so great, why are DJs even wasting time with digital tracks?” On top of these records being expensive, maintaining a collection won’t also be cheap. Plus, unlike modern sound storage devices, vinyl records are a complicated bunch and lose their value every time you play them. Factors that wear down your vinyl like dust, moisture, and finger smudges, can warp or make the needle bounce or skip as you play it.
The worst part: Needles and other scratches literally strip away fragments of the music. This is why a record played over and over again won’t have that thick, warm quality that it might have had the first time it was played. This is also why newbie DJs ought to start with analog setups instead of digital rigs—vinyl makes you appreciate sound more.
Where To Score Great Records
There are ways to trim the costs and time that building a vinyl record collection entails. You can visit thrift shops and vintage stores around the metro to start your treasure hunt. You can also take the lazy millennial route and start googling online stores. But we recommend the former, so you can assess the quality of the vinyl you’ll be buying firsthand and learn from fellow collectors and DJs you’ll surely meet in those stores.
What To Look For
Make sure you begin your collection with the basic beats you'll need. A lot of electronic dance music (EDM) producers release albums in vinyl record format, so you can start with those. If you're on the market for (relatively cheaper) second-hand vinyl records, make sure you thoroughly inspect them, and check their sound quality (a few clicks, noises or pops are fine).
When it comes to the specific music, there are no rules that would limit your choices. Look for the tracks you’d love to mix (it doesn’t matter if they’re oldies or if they’re contemporary music), and find the perfect complementary tunes to your favorite slave beats.
Most importantly, pick from the genres you love listening to. DJ-ing should be enjoyed, after all. There’s no shame if you have a pretty eclectic taste like DJ Jennifer.
“I listen to all kinds of music. I am not very particular. I think the more open you are to music the more likely you're drawn or fascinated with different culture and aspects of life,” says the sexy spinmaster. "And if you don’t really take the time to get lost in the beats to find your sound, you’ll really miss out on what DJs love most about their job."
And because you’ve been such great bros, we found another way for you to enjoy vinyl records—this week’s gallery of our photoshoot with DJ Jennifer Lee!
Photography Ejay Leung of Midnight Bonkers Styling Debra Bernales Makeup Amanda Padilla of At East |Jed Root Hair Cats Del Rosario of At East |Jed Root