Components I would have died for when I was a wee pup

Turn back the dial to 1976-1977 (I was 16-17). What did I really want? 

Thorens turntable or a Philips GA212 with a Shure V15,Type 3 cartridge
Tandberg receiver
JBL L100 Century

what did you have in your cross hairs when you started out? 
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Back in the early to mid-70s, I had the JBL-100s, a Marantz 2245 receiver, and the Shure V-15 in an Elac Miracord turntable back then. They were fun and fine FOR THEIR TIME (emphasis added)

As much as the pure nostalgia attraction factor beckons, this  hobby equipment selection has evolved significantly in that the "old time' 70's era gear cannot even remotely compete with today's equipment. 
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Any record player after I saw and heard my dad’s friend’s Philips Black Tulip quadraphonic? set up. Dad had no interest in a "music center" so we had no records in the house.
Oh man...

Pioneer HPM100 loudspeakers to go with my Sansui 9090db receiver.  Crazy Eddie had 'em,  a few of the other local audio/appliance stores had 'em.  

I never got 'em.  

Every once in a while I see a pair for sale and I have to stop myself from buying them.

(Pioneer SX1080,  Pioneer SX850,  and a Marantz 2252b still working 2016)

I just got chills....

The first speakers I heard that completely changed my concept of what was possible was the Electrostatic Sound Systems (ESS) TranStatic I loudspeaker, in 1970. It had three RTR electrostatic tweeters, a KEF B139 woofer (the oval one Dave Wilson later used in his WAMM) loaded in a transmission-line enclosure, and a KEF 5" Bextrene midrange driver. FAR more transparent and uncolored than the AR, Rectilinear, JBL, etc. bookshelf speakers I had heard. But a pair retailed for $1200, far more than this starving musician had to spend on speakers. I already had an AR turntable with Shure M91e cartridge, AR integrated amp, and AR 4x speakers, and those would have to do for awhile.

The following year I heard the Infinity Servo-Static I. Even better, but $2000! By 1972 I had money to spend, and by then the original Magneplanar Tympani T-I was available. With a pair of them bi-amped with ARC amps, a Thorens TD-125 table with SME arm and Decca pickup, I finally had a system that satisfied. For awhile ;-)!

Tech Hi-Fi used to put out a sales book of complete systems at ever increasing price levels. I used to look at that more that Playboy. I was always thinking I could spend a little bit more. Kind of like buying a boat. It always gets bigger even before you buy one.
As a early teen i was mesmerized by my buddies older brothers pioneer quadraphonic receiver with the spkr box that blinked to the music lol .. i thru the yrs aquired a few tandbergs including reel to reel and a nak dragon tape deck , i dreamed of the big class A mark levensons and the tympanis ( later owned alnost all but , at one time or another ) cj stuff was the holy grail for me at 18 when i began to sell gear at a brick and motar . ( racking in almost 200.00 a week part time sometimes lol
Anything McIntosh!  
In approximately 1985 I was totally obsessed with Carvers Amazing Platinum Loudspeakers. A shop in Emporia Kansas had a pair with Carver mono-blocks that I thought were the most "amazing" thing I had ever heard or saw. I was, at the time,  $7 per hr oilfield trash. Not a chance in hell. Oh well.
An all Revox or Tandberg set up with Snell A/IIIs and the room to put them in. :)
I started a little later, like the mid '80's.
So, more like a Rega Planar with a SME 3, a pair of Vandy 2's, I forget what I wanted for amp and pre- but the preamp was tubed. 
A pair of DQ-10's also made me drool. I ended up with a BIC Soundspan 600's, which weren't that bad. (Sold them to my ex who liked them, too).

Oh well, it took me 30 years, but I finally got the Vandy's.  I am glad I still remembered.
when i worked at the now defunked "Discerning Ear" in md. We sold the full tandberg line . We had the whole rig including reel and cassette, pre , power , tuner ran through the all new mg3a in a treated room . It was and still ( sentimental i guess) one of my all time favorites.. It outshined even the big class A luxmans at the time . Vpi hk and an lp12 w/ a maggie tonearm oh the memories..
I started out with a Harman Kardon 330C but the cats meow was the Nak Dragon cassette and the RX505 auto reverse table and all the Bang & Olufsen stuff.  When I went to college a few years later I remember loving the Mitsubishi receivers with the rotary tuning dial and gorgeous huge Denon TT's.  
Love at first sight/listen: Empire 698, Pioneer SX-1250, Watkins WS-1a (Infinity/Watkins Dual-Drive woofers) when I was 15 years old. Way more $$ than I could afford at the time. Bought all of the above a couple of years ago as my vintage system and, by gum, it sounds as good as I remember on the rock of that era and so beautiful.

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Avantgarde Trios. I still remember hearing the Who's "Live at Leeds" through them. The amps shredded my ears, but it was certainly memorable, and I always wondered what the AGs would sound like with a friendlier amp. I found out years later, and again, it was quite the experience. Even back then, the cost was astronomical, though!
Back in the late 70's/early 80's I worked in the high end audio business.  We used to say that we hoped that, some day, we'd be able to afford to buy the equipment we sold to others.

I wished for McIntosh separates (C32/MC2205/MR78), Revox turntable, Nakamichi 1000 cassette deck, B&W 800 speakers...and a good home for those components.
****what did you have in your cross hairs when you started out?****

At 18?  The pic next to your moniker is about it 😉

But, seriously, stacked Quad 57's/Sequerra ribbons/Levinson ML2's.
lynott82 posts12-31-2016 10:19amAvantgarde Trios. I still remember hearing the Who’s "Live at Leeds" through them. The amps shredded my ears, but it was certainly memorable, and I always wondered what the AGs would sound like with a friendlier amp. I found out years later, and again, it was quite the experience. Even back then, the cost was astronomical, though!

Lynott, you must’ve met REAL good sale pitcher to spend on your first system near-fortune! I was also in dedicated Avantgarde room (obviously to fulfill my curiosity to innovative speaker design in 90’s) and after audition I had my ears ringin’ for the WHOLE week. The most expensive Trios obviously sounded the MOST terrible and ringin’ with upper mids dominating the whole spectrum and unfortunately there’s no ’right amp’ for’m. Such deep lack of tonal balance I haven’t heard in any speaker at all. Similar effect I heard when I placed the clock radio in the corner of completely empty room and turned the volume all the way up till clipping!
The best sound in Avantgarde listening room was out of Solo the least expensive speaker($4k back than?), but unfortunately it’s out of production today. T

Those Vandersteen 2a's were my grail-which I thankfully got 34 years later in the form of 3a sigs.
Dahlquist 10's, Maggies, and a brief fling with Shahanian obelisks also piqued my interest. I was obsessed with speakers, as you can see.  
Funny that I wasn't thinking about amps/preamps. I guess not having discretionary income actually saved me from a load of frustration.

"****what did you have in your cross hairs when you started out?****

At 18? The pic next to your moniker is about it 😉"

Hilarious and so true.

Best to you frogman,
When I was a little older than a wee pup and totally into this hobby in my mid 20's, I would venture into a few Phila area stores and pretty much wanted everything

Sassafras Audio:  Perreaux, cj walker, Maggies, cj, Audio Research, Tandberg, Sonographe

Chestnut Hill Audio:  Rauna Tyr's, Moscode, Counterpoint

Danby Radio:  Sequerra Met 7's, early Thiels, Nak Dragon TT, McIntosh

Stereo Trading Post:  basically a musuem of the coolest high end used gear, you name it, it was probably there in the mid-late 80's

There were a couple of other joints Community Audio & Sound Service (aka David Lewis Audio) but I didn't go there that often.
I almost forgot:
The Ampzilla
Thankfully, I never got one.
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B&W DM6 or Dahlquists with a Janis W1 sub.  The dream system I never had.  
I heard the Son of Ampzilla once, ok sounding but I thought a B&K ST140 would trounce it then again I like mosfets over bipolar outputs
Revox B760 tuner when they came out in the early 80's. I have two now.
The “Dream System” I’ve “NEVER” had has actually crossed into two decades.

Back then, I wasn’t as much into High-End Audio back then as I am now.

If I could’ve afford it back then, I would’ve even did yard work or had a paper route (if my parents would’ve let me do that).

I would’ve put together something called a “Dream Disco” System consisting of:

Pioneer HPM-100 Speaker System
Pioneer SX 950 or Pioneer SX-980 Stereo Receiver (85 WPC or 80 WPC)
Technics SL-1500 Turntables w/Stanton 680 Magnetic Cartridges (x2)
Numark DM1000 DJ Stereo Mixer
Nakamichi ZX-9 Cassette Deck
Pioneer RT-909 Reel-To-Reel Deck

I certainly would love to that Nakamichi ZX-9, Pioneer RT-909, and one of those Turntables now (reconditioned, and with more of an Audiophile appropriate Phono Cartridge on it) though.

I would’ve sold the other Turntable.

"I certainly would’ve love to kept that Nakamichi ZX-9, Pioneer RT-909, and one of those Turntables** now (had it reconditioned, and put more of an Audiophile appropriate Phono Cartridge on it) though".

Not only I would’ve sold one of the Turntables, I would’ve sold the Receiver, the Speakers and the Mixer Console too.

The 1970’s and the 1980’s are over.

My tastes would’ve matured, I would’ve transitioned into High-End Audio at that point, thus meaning I would’ve also broke this system up.

** = Turntable(s) would've been Technics SL-1500 MkII's, not the standard Technics SL-1500's

Sorry about the typos and grammar in the original post.