Hi Fi Stereo ConsoleBack in the 1950’s, the rage was to have a Hi-Fi, – essentially a high fidelity, analogue, boom box on legs. It was a piece of furniture and somewhat of a status symbol. If you loved music, you owned a Hi-Fi, and the neighbors knew it. It was strictly platters back then on a turntable with a stylus that ran between the grooves of a vinyl record. The stereo speakers were part of the console and were often covered with decorative fabric to add to a modern look. Oh, to be cool in the 50s.

Are you discerning enough to know the difference between digital recording and a good analogue recording? Would you consider yourself an audiophile? An audiophile is specifically interested in the high fidelity sound from tapes or disks. They are the purist to some extent of the listening world. They are like a plumbing company getting into the depths of what makes things flow, or sound the way they sound. They want to hear the aliveness before they hear the digital, clean, flawless rendition of a piece. They want to take the sound in with the flaws and the perfections.

Over time those who consider themselves audiophiles have embraced the new technologies. Some kicking and dragging, but nonetheless unable to deny the crispness of sound that can be delivered without fault. Like any statement made in history, there is always a period at the end. Nonetheless, collectors emerge and keep the lifeblood of a genre flowing, decidedly to a specialized few.

Among those relatively few, several have become collectors. Fearing that an era of expression could be lost forever, there are those who have decided it is their personal responsibility to preserve the beloved record.
The collector who reportedly has the largest record collection in the world is Brazilian, Zero Freitas. The sixty-two-year-old Sao Paulo resident has been collecting for about fifty years. He buys up other collectors’ stashes, inventory from store closings, estate sales and anywhere he gets a bead on discs for sale. In some cases, he doesn’t even have to pay for them as they are headed for the dumpster. Freitas saves the platters from the fate of the fire and feels as if he had saved a life.

This guy is over the top, but no judgement here. There are times and circumstances that justify “over the top”. Freitas, by self-admission is compulsive when it comes to feeding his collection. Here’s the kicker; he says it goes back to when he was a five-year-old kid and listened to his father’s Hi-Fi stereo. By the time he was a tween he was buying records and by the time he graduated high school owned approximately 3,000 records.

A wealthy man whose family run private bus company allows him to indulge his obsession now boasts somewhere in the neighborhood of several million albums. Freitas has been in therapy for the past forty years to get a handle on why he needs to keep acquiring more albums, but doesn’t seem to think it’s time to stop – therapy or collecting. With constant scouting, he continues to fill his warehouse and hire staff to catalogue the vinyl albums.

Are you prone to collecting? Is music your thing? Stats show that you may be in the age group between forty-five and fifty-four – odd but true. It’s got to be hooked to nostalgia, but that’s a topic for a whole other post. Leave a comment below and weigh in on this subject. Are record albums destined to be a part of the future or forever relegated to the past?