Interview with SANDRA SCHUMACHER, Record Collector from Germany

Sandra Schumacher aka _bobby.jean_ has been surrounded by music since early age. Her father is a record collector who inspired Sandra to start her own vinyl collection.

In a new interview in the “Record Collector” series, Sandra lets us know about her collection, her first record, choosing vinyl, and more.

How did you go about starting your vinyl collection, and how long has it been since you are a record collector?

I was lucky to grow up in a household where music played a very important role. My father has always been a very big music enthusiast himself, with a big love for records. He started to share his love for mainly classic rock with me at a very young age, and I remember being so fascinated by those amazing covers of especially Led Zeppelin and Rainbow (Rising is still my favorite cover artwork). Sometimes I just sat in front of his collection and admired “the beauty of vinyl”. 😉 When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I begged my parents for a record player of my own. I already collected some CD’s, but it was about time to get into the real thing! They were a bit skeptical to buy me a brand new one — so the first turntable I owned was a very old one from my late Grandma. The sound was horrible, sometimes it didn’t work at all, but I could not have been prouder. Wonderful memories!

What was the first vinyl you bought or received?

After my wish was granted, my father gave me some of his records, some he owned twice. Since he is the biggest Deep Purple fan in the world, my first record ever was In Rock. Thinking about it now, it is really funny that an eight year old girl loved that music so much.

The first record I bought myself was a album by the German singer DORO (I live in Germany), who was my biggest idol as a young girl.

Photo: @_bobby.jean_

How large is your vinyl collection? 

Approximately 500 records and increasing. But luckily, I live in the same house as my parents, so my dad and I still share our love for music. We often exchange  records from our collections. Even as an adult woman now, that is a fantastic thing and I am really thankful for that. Music connects! So in total there must be about 2000 records in the house.

How do you go about choosing which record will have a place in your collection? Do you usually check new albums online, or do you grab a record just “out of the blue,” or it’s a mixed bag of these two?

It’s a mixed thing. I stay updated about my favorite artists and bands via Facebook, Instagram and their websites. But I also like it “old-fashioned”: reading music magazines like “Classic Rock,” “Good Times” etc. Sometimes, when I am in a record store or a record fair, it can also happen that I grab a record “out of the blue,” because I am always curious and open for new music.

Where from do you get your records usually?

Mostly I would say from online shops like Amazon, JPC and that stuff. Sadly, there are not much record stores around anymore in my area. I think it is important to support the “small shops.” So everytime I discover a new one, I just have to stop and check it (which always ends up spending a lot of money). Besides that I love going to flea markets and record fairs. Not only for buying records, but also for having nice chats with other collectors.

What is the most valuable record in your collection? And do you have sort of a wishlist with records that you want to get one day? 

I measure “value” in two different ways: for the price and for a personal value, like special memories that are connected with a record.

For the price it must be some bootlegs and shape vinyl of Guns N’ Roses and The Rising by Springsteen, which is really hard to get these days.

For personal reasons and memories my most valuable record is Darkness On The Edge Of Town, again Springsteen. That record just means everything to me. Filled with “darkness,” but in this darkness there is always a glimmer of hope. So inspiring!

My wishlist is pretty long, but there is one record on top of it since my early youth: Live!? Like A Suicide, the first EP of Guns N’ Roses. Hope to get that one someday!

Sandra with her copy of Rammstein's "Paris"
Sandra with her copy of Rammstein‘s Paris (Photo: @_bobby.jean_)

Tell me about your turntable setup (turntable, preamp, speakers,…).

My turntable is a Denon DP – 300F. Love it! Amazing sound quality. The amp is by Denon as well, the PMA 1500AE.  Plus two speakers by Phonar.

Do you have any advices for people that are about to start or just started collecting vinyl?

It is so wonderful to see so many young people starting to collect records. The ‘vinylcommunity’ is amazing, so many nice people who share their love for music all over the world. If you are a newbie to vinyl, I would just recommend to get a decent turntable first (DENON for example has a very high standard in any price category). Then maybe go to a record fair and grab some classic records to “get the feeling.” There you can find lots of records for decent prices. And I think it is interesting to know the original pressings before the re-mastered ones, so you can compare the difference in the sound. But that is just a personal thing. I like the scratchy old ones.

And last but not least… connect with other collectors, so you can exchange new music and talk about new releases.

Follow Sandra on Instagram.

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