Published on
Updated on 

Kjetil Haaland and Classical Vinyl World


Embracing a deep love for classical music, Kjetil Haaland curates a 900-strong LP collection with a focus on European giants. Join his vinyl journey, merging tradition with modern listening.

Kjetil, can you share how your journey into building your record collection began? What initially sparked your interest in collecting records?

I just started buying a few records as a teenager in the late seventies. I played the saxophone then and pop music did not interest me as much as jazz and classical. Back then you had to buy records (or tape friends' records) if you were not to be at the mercy of Norway's only radio station. That said I didn't really start building a collection until my early twenties, and then mostly rock and alt rock, more American than British (big fan of the Stones though, maybe because of their jazz drummer?). But the jazz and classical interest was still there. Later I started buying CDs, and it's just the last three years that I've started collecting LPs agBut: I never sold off my LPs and my turntable, like many of my friends did.

What music genres do you enjoy collecting the most, and what draws you to them? Are you more inclined towards classical music, or do you also explore pop genres? Are there any particular labels that stand out to you?

Nowadays 90% classical, with some jazz and rock in between. I'm looking after my father's records (he's on CDs and Spotify now), and there have been some finds, like a 500 disc opera collection a local used records pusher didn't want to use his time on. Labels: The big classical European three DG, Decca and Philips mainly, and of course some CBS.

Could you give us an idea of the size of your record collection? Have you ever faced challenges with storage space, and if so, how do you handle unwanted records?

I have some 900 LPs. My wife's opinion is that they take up too much shelf space, but I have them stored so that they're easy to find. Grouped mainly classical/composer/work/performer, jazz/performer/album, and pop-rock-etc/performer/album. I clean every record ultrasonic and give them a fresh polylined inner cover. I do have a few 78s just for kicks. I wouldn't say that I have any records that require extra care, but of course a pristine 1956 Columbia Verdi opera with Callas and Karajan is of high personal value. 900 is of course not many (Haruki Murakami has some 15000...), but my LMS says that I have some 3300 digital albums on disk, so it's not that there is little music in the house. I use Spotify too. If there is something I really like I get the LP if possible. (Our oldest son buys LPs of the bands he likes, and he's really into "the magic of vinyl".)

How do you go about storing your vinyl records? Do you utilize special record sleeves and keep the album covers separate from the records themselves? Are there any records in your collection that require extra care?

Some LPs are stored by the stereo equipment, others in an older Ikea Bonde (Kallax-like but tall with a rear wall like bookshelves) in our office/library.

How important is the listening environment to you? Do you prefer having a dedicated room with audio equipment, or do you find enjoyment in listening anywhere? What factors contribute to sound quality in your opinion?

The stereo is in our living room. To me that's civilization. Of course I do have to resort to headphones sometimes, but that is ok. The important factors for sound quality are of course the cartridge, arm and turntable, the loudspeakers and the room. I do not think one should fuzz too much about electronics these days. We have phono amps that follow the RIAA curve at +/- 1dB and sinad @ -80 dB with MC, power amplifiers with sinad @-120 dB and so on. I'm not into the weird word of tube and whizzer cones! I do find enjoyment in listening anywhere, but the glass of beer on the side table on a quiet evening and the time to go deep into Mahler or Wagner, or just let Johnny Hodges' creamy alto soothe you, being at a concert at home using that old tech is something of its own.

Are there any local music stores in your area, or in Norway in general, that you frequent for discovering and purchasing new records? How much time do you typically spend exploring and getting acquainted with new additions to your collection?

There is one shop that sells new records and another that's rather big on used stuff, jazz and rock/pop but no clue on classical. I must admit that I buy new vinyl on the net. I'm a regular at iMusic and Presto Music.

Lastly, what advice would you give to someone who is just starting their journey into vinyl collecting and wants to build a quality collection while preserving the integrity of their records?

Get a proper turntable that doesn't tear your records up. Do not necessarily buy a new one. MC cartridges are not necessary. Conicals are mostly nicer to the vinyl than ellipticals, but get a Microline/Microridge/SAS anyway (the AT-VM95ML is a real audio bargain). Get a proper record brush. The ones with carbon fiber hairs on the sides and a microfibre pad in the middle are fine. Get a stylus cleaner. Get an ultrasonic cleaner. Clean every record with it and give it a new polylined inner sleeve before the first play. If your turntable is manual, don't leave it playing the runout groove, Never leave a record on the turntable, even if the table has a dust cover.