Vinyl’s big comeback

t’s boom times for the vinyl industry, as music consumers are gradually re-embracing those flat, black and circular records their parents (or, likely, grandparents) used to fill milk crates with. It also means there’s an upswing in sales of vintage audio equipment – the new must-have for music purists.

“Every day, it’s in and out, in and out,” says James Wallin, who works at Northern TV & Vacuum Company. The Madison Heights repair shop also sells vintage turntables and radios restored by staffers there, and customers keep coming, well, in and out to make their growing vinyl collections more authentic. Or, Wallin says, “People are pulling turntables out of their closets and basements” to get them up and running again.

For music enthusiasts, Wallin says someone on the hunt for a vintage turntable should do plenty of research online to see what kind of equipment they’d want. A tabletop record player? One with a radio built in? Or a fashionable console?

“Know that with a vintage turntable, you’re going to need a receiver with a phono input – a ground wire,” he says.

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Sometimes bargain hunters can get lucky with a $15 find at a garage sale, but nicer ones can run into the thousands. Regardless, some repairs aren’t as expensive as people think, Wallin says. Replacing a needle can cost about $25; replacing a cartridge can be as low as $50.

But nothing compares to original equipment, Wallin says. “They’re making new machines that look vintage, but it doesn’t compare to the sound of a vintage turntable.”

Here’s a list of area shops that deal in vintage audio equipment:

Dearborn Music, 22501 Michigan Ave., Dearborn

Ecotopia, 6119 Haggerty Road, West Bloomfield

Flipside Records, 41 E. 14 Mile Road, Clawson

Hello Records, 1459 Bagley St., Detroit

Northern TV & Vacuum Company, 27633 John R Road, Madison Heights

Peoples Records, 1464 Gratiot Ave., Detroit

Solo Records, 30118 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak

Stay Pressed Records, inside The Rust Belt Market, 22801 Woodward Ave., Ferndale

Street Corner Music, 26020 Greenfield Road, Oak Park

Two Jerks Records, 22 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti

UHF, 512 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak

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