Collector Interview: Darron W.

Posted on May 08 2018

Darron West is a Sound Designer who lives in New York City and has been collecting records for over 40 years. Darren's current set up includes  the 2011 Project Debut III with the Acrylic platter and the upgraded Ortofon OM30 cartridge running into a Rogue Audio Sphinx Integrated Amp into Paradigm Studio Tower 60v5 speakers. On his extended listening system, Darron says, "Shiny small discs play on an Oppo multi-disc player through a Schitt Audio Bifrost DAC and a ridiculous collection of headphones from Grado, Beyerdynamic and Mr. Speakers for working or listening late night."

Darren uses our A-Z 6 panel horizontal stencil record dividers set to organize his collection.

Brief intro: who are you?
I'm a Tony Award winning theatrical Sound Designer living and working in New York City.

Size of your collection:
600 aprox.

How do you organize your collection?
Alphabetical by artist in order of release and group'd by genre.

Give us a breakdown of your collection: how much is used vs how much is new?
I'd say at this point it's 60/40 used (or I've owned since the 80's) and new. 

Favorite or biggest music genre in your collection:
It's pretty eclectic but, majority of it is pop, jazz and rock primarily.

Current top 3 albums:
Old 97's- Graveyard Whistling 2018, Afghan Whigs-In Spades 2017 and Tommy Keene- Songs From The Film 1986

What album do you think every new vinyl collector should own?
Radiohead in Rainbows, Miles Davis Sketches of Spain, Tom Waits Nighthawks at The Diner

Best party album:
Martini's? definitely Bill Evans Live at the Village Vanguard, for Bourbon? Calexico Spiritoso

Best album to listen to when you’ve had a rough week:
Chicago or Blood Sweat and Tears Greatest Hits or anything from Radiohead

Last record you purchased:
Son Volt- Straightways

Album you're in search of:
XTC- Nonesuch (it's the only one I'm missing from XTC)

How long have you been collecting records? How did you get into it?
1st record I purchased with my own money was Cheap Trick Live at Budokan in 1978 and I've been collecting since then. I worked in music stores and record shops as a kid after school (even worked at Tower Records (RIP) on East 4th St. in NYC when I first moved to NYC in '93)

Where does your vinyl collection live in your home? How often do you listen to vinyl?
The entire set up is in the living room. I start the day with a record and end the day with a record and if I'm not at the theater or in the studio working there will be something spinning all day.

Any tips for sharing a collection?
Mmmm not really but, my general advise is to teach them how to file it back in the proper place and use the method of popping out the LP in the rack next to the one you pulled so you know where it needs to go back.

What is more important to you? Sound quality or building your music collection?
Well being a sound designer it's equally balanced between the two. I invested in a system a few years back that I'm very happy the investment is in the vinyl at the moment but, the records I have are listened to. I'm not one for collecting, just to be collecting. I also live in NYC and so despite being lucky to have a nice sized apartment it's just not practical to have a bloated collection. Where do you hunt for vinyl? I'm a giant fan of Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, and when I'm traveling for work the first thing I find are the local record stores. When in San Francisco I always stop by Grooves, in Nashville it's Grimey's, and in LA it's of course Amoeba.