With vinyl making a comeback in many American music scenes, CD and record stores are once again the place to go for music. Original companies such as Amoeba and Rasputin are now adding to their current selection, and new vinyl and CD stores are opening up around the bay area. Vinyl will never take the place of an iPod or walkman while going around town, or listening to music in the car, but an increasing number of people are now turning to vinyl to provide higher sound quality in their homes.
The most common place you will find vinyl is a local used vinyl store. There are about 20 of these stores in Berkeley alone, and many more are scattered around the Bay Area. You will often find the best deals on vinyl and other used music products at a local used vinyl store, but you’ll rarely find what you are looking for.
Used vinyl stores are not the place to go to find specific albums or artists because the vinyl is arranged by genre, not artist. The other major problem with used vinyl stores is they often carry unheard of artists and reject albums. You must cherry pick your way through hundreds of albums to find a recognizable name, but when you do, you will be sure to get a great deal on it.
Amoeba is one of the largest vinyl retailers, with two Bay Area locations. One store located is in San Francisco and the other is in Berkeley. If you are on the hunt for a specific artist or even album, Amoeba is the place to go. The staff is helpful and educated and the albums are neatly marked and easy to find. Amoeba is also the best place to find new vinyl from current artists. They carry a collection of new and used vinyl, just as all vinyl stores do. The downside of Amoeba music is the price, with vinyl process easily reaching $20 to $30 for a popular album.
Rasputins is the closest and most affordable option if you are looking to add to your vinyl collection. Rasputins has three locations in the bay area: San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Lorenzo. Although the San Lorenzo store does not have a huge collection of vinyl, it carries many popular titles at a much lower cost than Amoeba. The store also has an extensive collection of CDs, movies, and shirts.
If you are a vinyl enthusiast or just enjoy music, all of these locations have many options including CDs, audio books, and movies. When buying an used CD or record, it is always a good idea to check for scratches and marks that may reduce audio quality. Although vinyl may never live up to iPods or mp3 files, it is a hobby worth looking into if you are a music lover.