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Jared Lekites: A Collector's Tale


Meet Jared Lekites, a solo artist with a flair for weaving melodic pop with acoustic folk. Join us as we delve into Jared's vinyl universe, exploring the roots of his collection and the dedication that has amassed over 700 titles.

Jared, tell me a bit about yourself: When did you first develop an interest in vinyl records, and how extensive is your current record collection?

One of my earliest memories is from when I was no more than two years old and my mother was playing her record collection on the family stereo for me. "His 12 Greatest Hits" by Neil Diamond on MCA Records is the first one that immediately comes to mind. Eventually that entire record collection was gifted to me a few years later as my interest in music grew more intense. My conservative estimate for my current vinyl collection would be in the range of 700 to 850 titles.

What aspect of vinyl records do you find most enjoyable - is it the sound, the collecting process, or something else that captivates you?

There is a nostalgic drive to most of my collecting but I also really enjoy getting into the nuances of various different pressings and masterings of one particular title. Also if there are certain artists whose catalog I happen to treasure more than most, I try to obtain their full catalog on vinyl.

Are there specific genres, styles, or record labels that you particularly enjoy collecting? Could you share your thoughts on a label you admire, such as Motown? What aspects of that label appeal to you, and could you recommend any standout records from your collection associated with it?

I have eclectic tastes. Popular music of the 1960s and 1970s makeup a large part of my collection, however, because that happens to be the music I love the most. The Beach Boys and The Beatles take up a lot of real estate in my LP storage, for example. Going back to nostalgia driving my collecting, I remember one of my uncles belonging to the Columbia House club when I was a kid and he was able to get a lot of 1990s popular country music albums on LP that were only available on cassette and CD. When I started building up my collection when I was in college, those were among the first titles I sought out (the first 3 Garth Brooks albums for instance).

Would you be willing to share a photo of your collection? How do you store your records, and do you have space to accommodate your vinyl collection?

I don't currently have them all in one room. There's not a good "livable" way to achieve that with the house I live in at the moment . I have what I call my "floor display" vinyl which is the all the LPs I want to have the quickest and easiest access. This is a Sefour audio furniture four-tiered LP rack. This display also houses what are the higher graded vinyl titles in the collection (VG+ to M). The titles in this display are arranged alphabetically by the decade of the musical artist's prominence from the 1960s to a touch of the 1980s. I've included close-ups of the LP spines upon the first two shelves which cover the 1960s pop from The Association to Van Dyke Parks. Anybody else might have trouble navigating it but I know right where everything is.

The rest of my collection is scattered. Some more LPs are in storage units (the ones that are duplicates that I may sell later, usually) while others, mostly more recent artists, are "hidden" in some mid-century modern furniture items. I keep my collection of around 200 7" 45 singles in a carpet-lined Odyssey C45200 case.

How do you ensure that your vinyl records remain in excellent condition? How significant are inner sleeves to you, and do you have a preference for a particular type of inner sleeve?

A high percentage of my LPs are stored in non-PVC slip covers. I used Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab branded "original master sleeves" for a while but one of my favorite local record shops have recently been selling their own branded inners which are just as good so I've switched to those for the time being. I only use the inner sleeves when I feel it necessary; some new vinyl purchases already have decent enough inners. For certain artists where I sought out really good copies of every record in their entire catalog on vinyl, I definitely prefer to store the vinyl in the special inners instead.

Do you primarily purchase vinyl records online, or do you handle the shipping yourself? Have you encountered any challenges with shipping or delivery?

I buy a lot of used vinyl and I prefer to go to a physical location and thumb through the racks. If there is a particular pressing that I'm really keen to get a copy of, that is when I will hunt on Discogs. I've had a couple of records arrive warped and only one time did I have an LP arrive broken and unplayable. In all instances, the sellers were understanding and refunded either the entire purchase or the cost of shipment so it wasn't too big of a deal.

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