How Many Albums In Your Collection Is ‘Enough’?

Before I get to this question, I will recount a tale of woe which prompted this query.

Back in the day (pre Tidal and The River) my sampling of music was random and misguided. Usuallly a purchase of an album would be the result of either already owning an album of a particular band with an ill-educated urge to own more from the same Band, or wandering into a record shop (more latterly a CD shop), browsing for what seemed forever and coming out with a random purchase.

With this strategy, I managed to build a decent sized, but ultimately unrewarding library of music. Some good stuff yes, but way too many albums the led me to mutter under my breath ‘…what the hell was I thinking…?’.

As a consequence, my collection of albums was limited in size and questionable in content. I became rather disillusioned with listening to music in the home and even contemplated selling my beloved HiFi.

Then t’internet happened, then streaming happened (both subscription and local). Halle…flippin’…llulia? At last I could research new (to me) music on t’internet (and the Music Room in this wonderful place), listen to a whole album for ‘free’ (well ‘virtually’ free - excuse the pun) on Tidal and make a considered decision if a CD was either a pile of rubbish, good but only good enough to put in my Tidal favourites, or ‘bonkers good’ that warranted either a CD purchase from that cheap watery place or so good I needed to seek out a hi res version, if it existed.

The result - a more diverse library of music I simply adore! Belters, each and every one. OK, there is the occasional CD I will go off, but on the whole my collection is so much more rewarding than it used to be.The main problem is deciding what album(s) to listen to.

My collection is also of a size and ‘quality’ now that I simply can’t get bored. And I guess the size of my collection is what I am really referring to in the title of this thread.

I now have a core of probably 200 albums (and growing) that I will listen to on a ‘regular’ basis, with say 200 more I would listen to less frequently and 200 more that I would rarely, or never listen to.

So how many albums do you need in your ‘listened-to’ collection and how do you keep your collection fresh and rewarding?

1 Like

Thats a good question…i have bought some real stinkers over the years based on a liking a bands previous, and/or the latest single. The music on the forum together with ability to have a quick internet listen has been amazing.
With my first hifi i got to cds/82/250 active SBL,s which for many reasons eventually never got reinstalled after a room refurb. In the late 60,s 70,s , 80,s the charts had folk, pop, motown, rock reggae…you name it. I guess i fell out of love with the music scene.
Now as i look back there was still great music which passed me by, which i am now rediscovering, and the latest music from young bands. I have probably bought 500 cd,over the last 2 years since taking up hifi again. A lot from the Magpie.


I have over 1,300 and find stuff that I’ve only played once and often years ago. I’m continually “discovering” new music in my own collection. So maybe that’s enough.


Good question.

I actually concluded a few years ago that I had more media in my house, that is music, films and books than I could possibly digest before I died.

Now I have managed to cure myself of my commodity fetish of owning a product, streaming is a godsend and provides most of what I need musically. I still have a music collection but moving house last year prompted me to hone it down significantly. I now only buy music which is either unavailable on Tidal or which is more special to me. Sometimes the availability of a hi-res version will sway me or a nice vinyl edition or if I want to give more support to smaller artists or bands. But Tidal is mostly good enough.


In my case the old stock controllers 20/80 rule seems to apply. 20% of the inventory are the regular played albums & of that 20% a further 20% of them get chosen most regularly. And I would mind betting if everyone really analysed their own album inventory, we are all the same.


Of my historic collection that 20/80 split may be true, I’m not sure. Streaming, even from my own collection, means the ‘80’ are less likely to get forgotten about. But now I have more time for listening to music I do look at the new releases every week and play a few. Another advantage of Tidal. That and simply talking about music has also introduced to me to more older music that I feel I really should have known about much earlier. And one new discovery and reading a bit about it is often a link to another.

Also I think I have a more relaxed attitude to listening to music now than I had in the past and consequently am noticing and absorbing a lot more despite having a much more modest system.

1 Like

For me I let my collection constantly grow, there is always new music, bands, and classical recitals to discover as new ones are recorded.
The big bonus for me as has been virtualising and linking my collection with Roon and Tidal… from a SQ perspective going down the path it makes no difference where the sources physically reside for your collection… and I have discovered so many new bands and wonderful classical music performance recordings that way.
In fact I would go as far as to say, without using a librarian, media manager and media aggregator such as Roon, I was barely scratching the surface of Tidal, and prior to Roon there was definitely a SQ performance hit when natively streaming Tidal, especially with the legacy streamers. With the new gen streamers and a Roon thankfully streaming has truly of come of age and it is now seamless, no SQ difference at all, just as it should be.

Since Christmas, when I started Roon, the albums and EPs in my collections have increased by about two hundred.


There is no rule that says all music has to be enjoyed forever of course as well. Even enjoying some music for a limited time is valid.

I do need new music all the time as well. I remember John Peel once saying I think a parent asked him, “Why do you need another record, you bought one last week.” To which he retorted, that’s like saying, “Why do you need more food? You ate last week.”


My collection grew across te decades, though faster in the earlier years, as what I felt to be good music gardually became hard to find.
Now with a collection of around 1200 albums it grows only very slowly - and there is enough there for me to listen even without repeating anything for best 2.5-3 months of playing continuously every waking hour - and in reality with normal available playing time more like a year or two, while as I think is common I have a hard core of maybe only 100 albums or so that get played far nore often, making it even longer to get through all the rest. I think my collection is plenty large enough!

I struggle to understand people having 5000 or sometimes even more albums, so many they sametimes repeat purchase because they forget what they have, while most must never get played - however that is presumably collector mentality, much as those who collect stamps or teapots… except you cant play stamps or teapots, so at least the music collection can give pleasure additionla to collecting.

1 Like

1 Like

Asset on my QNAP tells me I have 13,370 albums and I know people who have much larger collections. All my albums are CDs (now ripped) or downloads and despite 300 LPs in the loft I have not been enticed back to vinyl. I’ve been buying albums for about 40 years and could probably tell you where and when I bought most of them. They are all catalogued via a barcode scanning package and an excel spreadsheet macro and I never duplicate a purchase unless I want a remastered etc version.

I’ve got a nice system and being retired I have the time to listen to my collection. For me it’s the love of music, finding a new artist and taking a voyage of discovery, bit like following the Pete Frame family trees. I’m interested in the artist and who plays on the album, of course, but also I want to know who produced/engineered the album and where it was recorded - which again might lead me somewhere else.

I never feel the collection is too large, or the need to impose a moratorium on my buying habits.


i am probably very selective and despite long hours in searching new music, i am buying perhaps 4 or 5 albums per month. I sold all the cds and lps i am not listening anymore.
So today i have around 400 lps and 500 cds/ hirez rips/ downloads.
I would like to have more but don’t find enough new albums that impress me enough.

1 Like

Most interesting to hear of others’ collecting habits, some of which I can directly relate to.

With Tidal and the internet for ‘click of a button’ research and purchasing, it has never been easier to sample and build a wonderful music collection. For me, this has been a saviour and has reignited my passion for great music and has prompted me to listen to bands and genres I would never have dreamt I would be interested in. So it is the breath as well as the depth that has been inspirational for me.

For example, I am listening to Amos Lee right now and I so rate this bloke. I only recently discovered him on the WAYLTNAWMABI thread in the Music Room on here. A lovely time sampling his work on Tidal and now I have three of his albums, and he gets regular listens in chez NigelB.

My collecting habits have gone from revolutionary (or should that be revelatory) to evolutionary.

When I was at my most disillusioned, I discovered the internet and subscription streaming as a means to discover and buy music. At this time my music buying exploded. My collection expanded very quickly.

My music buying has calmed down a bit since then, limited to those great finds and belters only. So now my music collection has stabilised where purchases are cancelled out by those albums I tire of. So now I have a rewarding but gentle growth in new stuff, offset by albums that drop out of my favourites. So a nice churn in my collection so I can enjoy old favourites but am still rewarded with a steady and gradual influx of new finds.



Then you retire…:sunglasses:

1 Like

That would be nice but ∞ = £££££££££s…recurring.

A more serious answer±

When we bought our current detached house 4 years ago, I bought a Naim amp to fill the living room. To my great surprise it was finally possible to listen to Symphonies.

All I have done over the last 4 years is listening to Tchaikovskies symphonies, then 2 years Bruckner, and now I have dipped my toe in Mahler.

As a sider, I listen to seventies vinyl. Have bought some LP´s to get the tension a bit away from the heavy symphonies. Lovely, late evening listening with my wife.

But I listen mostly to 1 box set these days: Haitinks Bruckner - Mahler - Brahms set.

So, 1 album is more true than infinite, I´m afraid!


I think it depends only on the size of your house snd whether you value physical media. I have 2000 cds and 1500 lps, and for a 2 bed terrace that is probably enough. I don’t feel the need to own new lps unless I like the artwork, and no need to own new cds unless they are not on tidal.

1 Like

I had a huge clear out in the early 90s. Since then I have been a bit more circumspect but not heavily. Even if I could triple the time I spend listening to my music, I doubt I could play my entire collection over the rest of my life span. So what difference will a few more make on top of that?

1 Like

This is an interesting thread. I have around 1,500 Vinyl records and 2,500 CDs. By coincidence, I have recently started a review of my vinyl collection, as for various reasons I have a large number of albums I no longer listen to. In the days before the internet, I would buy lots of records and the “hit rate” was variable. Now, with the internet, I am able to listen to albums before making a purchase and I am finding that I am discovering lots of good new music this way. So, my collection is expanding, but as a counter balance I am starting a process of disposal of some of the albums I no longer require.

1 Like

I have an Ikea Billy bookcase for ‘normal’ cds. Its the big size one and must hold about 1000. I am (was) way over this with piles of cds around the room. I decided to organise the CD’s again. I recently moved house so they were all mixed up. Everything I had not listened to in years and I did not have an urge to listen to I listed on eBay. Selling a CD for an average of £4 is never going to make me rich but it drips back some money and declutters my house a little. I always have stuff on eBay anyway and run a mail order business so posting is easy. The reason I say ‘normal’ above as I have a really large music collection of Metallica. I have about 1000 Metallica CD’s currently but know these need to be reduced! Most of my current Naim HiFi purchases are funded from selling bits from my collection!