Sound Advice: Accessories can spiff up a vinyl record system

What are some other things I can do to improve the sound of my system without spending lots of money?

Q: I purchased the $1,000 vinyl record system you recommended, consisting of Polk Audio S20 bookshelf speakers, Music Hall MMF-1.5 turntable and Onkyo TX-8020 receiver. It has exceeded my expectations, and now I find myself wanting more. What are some other things I can do to improve the sound of my system without spending lots of money? I already plan on upgrading the cartridge with the LP Gear the Vessel A3SE Ultimate Set.

A:
 A record cleaner is a great place to start. The best record cleaners under $100 are the $60 Allsop Orbitrac 3 (allsop.com) and the $80 Spin-Clean Record Washer (spincleanrecordwasher.com). The two of them work great as a combo. Use the Spin-Clean to do a deep, wet scrubbing of the grooves, and finish with the Orbitrac 3 to remove any residual dust or moisture.

Pangea Audio
 (pangeaaudio.com) recently introduced two interesting products. The first is the Record Doctor Record Clamp. This has a low-mass design that will work well with any turntable and sells at a promotional price of $29.99. Record clamps are like paperweights. They sit on the spindle and hold down the record to reduce minute vibrations. Audiophiles disagree on their effectiveness. It really depends on the turntable system and the record being played, but for under $30, it is easy to experiment and see how the clamp affects each record.

The second product is the Vulcan TTx2 Turntable Stand. It not only provides a sturdy, vibration-free platform for your turntable, but has storage for more than 200 records. It is available in black for $169.90, or carbon fiber vinyl or rosenut for $199. Proper audio furniture and media storage can be very expensive, and the Vulcan TTx2 gets you both at a bargain price. It is selling extremely well and frequently on back order, so if you want one, don’t wait too long.

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