do you remember

the first time you heard a high end system that floored you? For me it was in 1974 at Audio Dimensions in MI .......Quad ESLs driven by a monstrous Audio Research amp.The preamp was an ARC SP3, the turntable was a beautiful Luxman ( I believe) and a cartridge hand delivered by Joe Grado
It would have been 1964, when I was 22, at a long-defunct stereo store in Seattle, WA, called Electricraft. They had a store in the downtown business area, and I remember wandering through there thinking "what incredible audio toys". I don't remember any specific system, but I do remember the Marantz, Fisher, and other electronics; the big JBL, Altec, and Bozak speakers, and the smaller acoustic suspension Advents and KLH's. That summer, while I was working for the Coast & Geodetic Survey -- surveying the spring 1964 earthquake damage in Alaska -- that I bought my first piece of gear: a Fisher 500C receiver.
A record store in Portland (Music on Records?) had a pair of Quads set up. Don't remember any other details, but have never forgotten it. (still haven't bought quads for myself, but they're always on my list). This was end of the fifties or very early 60's.
I grew up listening to my dad's mono system, single Klipshorn corner horn, Scott vacuum tube integrated and tuner, Garrard rim drive table and Ampex reel-to-reel. A lot of modern high end could learn from this rig.
Shortly after I bought my first system back around 1978, one of the store owners invited to his home to hear his personal system. He had a Linn LP12 feeding big-ass MacIntosh tube gear feeding some huge Fried pyramid-shaped sub/sats. Quite amazing sound, but best of all, this guy lived in a trailer! His system probably cost more than his home. I guess he had his priorities straight after all.
Yeah, I remember, only my recollection is a bit different than yours, and most of the others who have answered this thread, as what I remember most is the music, rather than the system itself.

My brother (age 12) and I (age 16) went to a stereo store to window shop, way back in 1976, on what was then Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road (now DeAnza Blvd.) in Cupertino, at a store called, I think, Pacific Stereo.

I have no clue what the stereo components were, but, he played a Import LP of Supertramp's "Crime of the Century". Both of us were just amazed at the sound of this album and the system. I still remember the goose bumps as those first harmonica notes sounded.

The very next day we both bought copies of the album.
(FYI: While we loved the music, we both thought the pressing was a piece of crap (which it was, being a typical A&M American pressing). Didn't matter though, as the music still came through to warm our souls!)

Once I got a decent system, one of the very first MOFI albums I got, was Crime of the Century. (And when the CD came out I got that the first day it was released, and I picked up the MOFI gold CD as well. I now also have the UHQR (bought used) of this album too.)

Oh and by the way, the Speakers Corner re-release on LP is as good a pressing as I own, and I recommend you pick it up while you can, in case you too think that this is an incredible album, as my brother and I do.

So, if you are tired of my rantings here on Audiogon, and on the Audio Asylum, you have Supertramp mostly to blame!

Anyway, my two cents worth.
My first time in a "high-end" store in 1992: I walked right into a demontration of the "new" Mission/Cyrus system by a Mission representative. Listening to "way down deep' truly got me floored and eventually got me into high-end. A year later I attended the high-end show in Frankfurt and started getting more and more interested in hifi.

By chance I found the speakers, a pair of Mission 751, several years later on a closeout, keeping them for the next 8 years.

The rest is "Audiogon" history (as documented in my systems pages).

It was Quad ESL and Audio Research and a Linn turntable. I remember listening to Lou Reed: Walk on the Wild Side, the way the background vocals kept getting closer and closer with such clarity is something I still remember, even though it was around 1980.

Desoto, Audio Dimensions is still there, just north of Detroit, run by a guy named Harry.
I already had a pair of Rectilinear 3s with Crown amps, but on my way to lunch, I walked by the open door of a stereo store and heard wondrous music. It was a pair of Infinity ServoStatic 1s playing with Paoli moded Dyna amps. I bought a pair three days later, and it has been a slippery slope since.
I was at a Detroit builder's show in the early 60's and was stopped in my tracks by a system using JBL's Paragon speaker driven by Marantz model 9's.
This single-cabinet speaker looked spectacular!
Talk about form following function...
888trinity, did you buy the Paragon. I too heard one about the time I heard the Infinity SS1s, I too was struck by the look as well as the sound, but I bought the Infinities and not the JBLs. I have come close at various times to buying the Everests and K2s which followed them.