The Collector Series is a photography and interview project documenting vinyl collectors in their most natural and intimate environment.

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Name: Jackie Firebird

Location: Phoenix, USA (and Germany)

About me, my music interest and how long I have been collecting for…

Growing up in the northwestern countryside of Germany and an early exposure to music (played the drums since I was 8), I began buying vinyl in my teens and recall De La Soul’s “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’ ” (’91) being about my first purchase. I was 12 at that time.

Helping during the seasonal harvest in my neighborhood became the ticket to more music for me. We were no farmers but surrounded by them. My parents had a lot of vinyl as well and were Disco lovers, which probably determined my taste for similar rooted music. Throughout my DJ’ing years the collection began to grow in areas of House, Disco and Funk. Later on some interest for specific areas of Rap, Punk and Classic was discovered. Through early childhood Christmas experiences I fell in love with the voices of Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline and alike. As romantic and exciting the far West seemed to me, I never thought I’d actually live in the US back then. I became an Expat in 2008. 

In general I am very drawn to the mid-century era  (Furniture, Cars, Architecture,…). The early Disco exposure keeps squeezing through in many of my current choices.

What’s up with your listening setup? Can you tell us more about it?

Early on I started experimenting a lot with hifi- and professional audio equipment, building my own speakers to understand the physics and dynamics. It was more than a hobby and became a significant part of my professional life for 10+ years (I own an event company in Germany for 15+ years now). Fortunately I had a lot of exposure to both the recording- and playback chain of equipment and went through a lot of incredible made products. 

Today I am enjoying my “Leben CS300XS”, a handmade integrated tube-amplifier from Japan fed by the German “Clearaudio Concept Wood” through a “Phonomena II+” pre stage and into the wonderfully built Zu Audio Omen MKII from the US. 

I’ve experimented with many single-driver, high sensitivity- speaker systems (Fostex, Lowther, Rehdeko, Ciare…) that don’t need crossovers and are very dynamic and musical (with some disadvantages in frequency range). Prior systems were made of ProJect turntables, Rega- and Creek amplifiers feeding vintage Bose- or JBL speakers, which I refurnished for fun here and there. 

What does your record collection mean to you? 

Vinyl is a great preservation method for my favorite music- and connected memories to me. When taken care of it maintains its dynamic character, yet will grow older with you. More scruffs, the cover fades, it might get bent out of shape here and there. Collecting had a positive effect on my life as it constantly reminds me to things I enjoyed and grows my musical horizon at the same time. 

There is a ton of vinyl I have not yet added to the collection…but stay tuned, it is growing weekly!

Do you have a record collecting philosophy? A price you won’t pay, maybe, or a total number of records you won’t go past. Do you buy reissues?

If possible I like to buy the first press of my favorite albums and preserve them well. I buy- and sell copies until I find a Mint one to keep. Re-Issues are OK with me as they make the music accessible to more listeners at a reasonable price. Obviously really rare units take a big value hit in some cases. I prefer when they come from the same sources (hopefully analog, Tape,…) and are well done. 

 What’s your comfort record, the one you can always go back to?  What makes it so special?

My comfort record would have to be “Kings of Convenience – Riot on an Empty Street”. I can’t tell why that is but if satisfies my senses, especially the tracks that feature Feist – to get a glimpse of their sweet chemistry I recommend watching “Kings of Convenience ft. Feist live at Le Bataclan November 11th 2009″ on Youtube. 

Any tips for other record collectors out there?

One tip for other collectors would be to look at their early exposure, which for me was boxes of old vinyl my parents stored away. Odds are you find some sparks that encouraged you to take this more serious in the first place. I love almost all music and am sure so do many other collectors out there.

 

 

Find out more about Jackie Firebird’s collection via his instagram:

Instagram:
@jackiefirebird

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