Earliest "MOST WANTED" gear

OK, some of us have been on this merry go round longer than others. I checked in in 1976, age 16. Typical teenagers, I wanted a turntable, receiver and speakers. A tape deck down the road and a decent used car once I got a license.

I envisioned my 1st system- a Dual turntable with a Shure cartridge, AR bookshelf speakers, and as for a receiver, I liked Tandberg and Marantz. Predictably, my 1st system did not look like that at all, though over the years out of a fit of nostalgia I have owned all of that stuff, even if for under a year (and then sold it to another person trying to satisfy earlier desires). Well, at least I envisioned a Teac tape deck and that's what I eventually bought.

What was the "system of your dreams" before you dipped your toes into the water?
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>>What was the "system of your dreams" before you dipped your toes into the water? <<

I pretty much had my dream system when I 1st got started in the late 60s. It was a full quadrophonic system comprising a Sansui 9090db, Dual 1229 turntable with CD4 cartridge, and 4 Jensen 6s. The Jensens eventually got replaced with JBL L-100s, the receiver changed to a Marantz 4270, and I had a Garrard Zero-100 turntable.

Man, I *loved* those systems, they sounded great, could play loud, and looked very, very nice!

OHM F speakers, Phase Linear amp, Thorens table, Tandberg cassette.
Sansui 9090db with the very cool lights and dual watt meter, JBL 4312 monitors. Don't remember the players too much, Yamaha,Marantz etc...
I'm more of a newbee. In around 2000, I had no idea the audiophile world existed. Went into a Tweeter to buy a rear-projection TV. The savvy sales guy had me listen to Martin Logans with Krell class-A gear - Kct pre, Fpb400cx amp, and Kps-28c CD player. Well, that was it. That led 2 a year pointless search for the same sound quality for less money, but learned a lot along the way. Ended up getting as my first system, my early dream system, Wilson WP 5.1s, Krell Kct pre, Krell 400cx amp, and Emm Labs front end. With the audiophile bug set in, I've sold it all and moved on. Still missing that Krell amp...
YEah, the Krell/Logan setup in my local Tweeter back then was quite the combo bound to make an impression.
Pioneer Spec rack with AR-9s. Took me 30 yrs but I got em minus the AR-9s. I do have AR-90s instead. Now building a system around my dream speakers; Infinity RS-1.
McIntosh, Since the 1st day I laid eyes and ears on a complete system in 1977, when I was twelve years old!
My first serious system in the 70's included a Crown DC300 amp, Crown IC150 preamp, JBL Olympus speakers, and an Empire turntable with a Stanton 681EEE cartridge. And, I can't forget the Pioneer SE-50 headphones. Great sound in it's day!
As a teen I had what would was probably the best system amongst my friends: Harman Kardon 330A receiver, BIC turntable and Tech Hifi store brand speakers. A few years later, when I was out on my own I remember salivating over the Large Advent loudspeakers, a Kenwood KA-7100 integrated amp, and a Dual 1219 turntable with Shure M91ed cartridge.
Were those Studio Design speakers? I seem to recall that being the Tech
Hifi house brand.
i went to my bosses home and he had a set of Khorns with a marantz tube amp. I was mesmerized. I never heard anything like that. I had owned a set of bose 501 and a rotel quad reciever with a dual 901 turntable that i thought sounded good. I finally got my Khorns but never got the marantz tubes having also had the bug for home theater. I loved those khorns but sadly am parting with them in favor of a set of Audio Physics Calderas due to my new home not having good corners to put the Khorns in. Nostalgia does have a way of covering up quality as now my system is a much improved.
JBL L300 was my dream speaker back in the day... Still would like to own a pair today.
Mapman, I heard that same setup when I was 15 and it blew me away.
1976, McIntosh separates system with Magnepans,Thorens Shure V15 as a highschool senior. Eventually got most of the pieces though have never had the room for Maggie's. Listened to and owned lots of other loves but still love Mac sound and look best.
1977-BIC Turntable with an Empire Cartridge. Allison Speakers and a Marants Receiver. $1,700 and almost bought it with $20 down and $20 a week... I was running a rat shack 4 watt amp, FM car radio with home built power supply, home built speakers and a gerard turntabe.
My first system was probably 1978 or so I was eighteen. A Harman Kardon Citation 19 amp ( I really wanted a 16 but could not swing it and by that time I think the line up was changing so as the 16 was not as available) and 17 preamp with homemade Philips speakers that I built from plans in a book from Philips that was in a small journal format. The table was a Rega Planar 3 with a Mayware arm and a Sure MkIII cartridge.

Not long after I ditched the Philips for a pair of Acoustat Model 3's along with a pair of highly modified Dynaco MKIIIs.. and so began the roller coaster ride!

Pioneer SX1250. It was advertised as the most powerful receiver on the planet...and I wanted one. Never got one, but that was a pretty lofty dream for me. I also wanted a pair of Design Acoustics D-6 speakers...never got them either.
My 1st ‘high end’ system, purchased in 1970, consisted of Dual 1219 turntable w/shureV15 type II, Teac 4010s tape deck, Sansui AU555 integrated, and Pioneer DX63 speakers. Wish I had purchased Dynaco ST70, AR turntable and 3a speakers. Curently have a Dynaco ST70 that needs refurbishing and AR XA turntable for nostalgia.
Krell mono's (the ones that looked like window air conditioners) driving B&W 801's at Stereo Exchange in NYC. Playing Grateful Dead Touch of Grey.

Also the Ohm Walsh F's driven by SAE or Phase Linear power amps at Tech HiFi in Springfield, NJ off of Route 22, Johnny Rutan was the store salesperson who now owns Audio Connection in Verona NJ. Happy Days!
I will never forget my first lusting for a sound system, it was 1974 and Mike Oldfield had just released "Tubular Bells". I stopped by a stereo store on the Northside of Indianapolis, and the salesman asked me if I had heard ESS Heil Air Motion Transformer speakers yet. He dropped the needle on Tubular Bells, and I was gobsmacked (although it would be 40 years before I knew what that meant.)
After hearing the Heils, I was bitten by the Audiophile bug.
My first system has proven to have been wise choices, despite my naive views back in 1975. I was steered to the Large Advent Loudspeakers, which I still own and enjoy. My early electronics were Yamaha, and I stayed with "Natural Sound" until I was given a Denon AVR-2805.
When it comes to AMT, I finally got a pair, but they are the Dayton Audio bookshelf model which retail for $50 a pair and serve my bedroom system quite well.
Lately, I have been gifted with something that would have been in my "dream system" should I ever win the Lottery. A friend gave me a 1-meter pair of Nordost Valhalla (one) flat ribbon speaker wires. When Harry Pearson said they were the reference by which all speaker wires would be compared, he made an understatement. The Nordost folks released the Valhalla 2 Reference which broke the bank.
Over the years, I have befriended other Audiophiles and enjoyed their systems. I met a man who sold the Crown Prince floor-standing speakers, which I auditioned in his dedicated listening room (A room build within the confines of the garage, with amps the size of military footlockers, and connected with cables that looked like Amazon snakes). Another fellow is on pure vinyl and drives his Vandersteens with BAT electronics--and it sounds very impressive. Another friend uses a Hegel amp to drive his new speakers. But, as with all subjective judgments, I value what I listen to in my home, and with various tweaks, I can honestly say that the only thing I would upgrade now, might be my Schiit Modi 2 DAC to a Multibit version. A rather modest jump from the $99 entry-level to the $249 unit, I would hope could even further improve my digital library. I have no interest in vinyl--pops and clicks, and 15 minutes turning over schedules.

my system consisted of a marantz 4300 4 chanell receiver, a pioneer pl-51 direct drive turntable with a audio tecnica at 15 s shibata stylus, with a jvc demodulater for the cd records and 4 bose 901 spealers. later on i bought a phase linear 400 for more powr!

zavato OP
  Earliest "MOST WANTED" gear

1977 Mark Levinson ML2 monoblocks, huge, heavy, very hot. Pure Class-A 25w into 8ohms, YES only 25w.
But can drive anything even the nasty Wilson Alexia MkI with a .9ohm!!! load in the bass perfectly to a certain level. Not for headbangers. Best amp ever for Quad ESL57's

Just one of a pair:

Cheers George

My first really serious system, about 1975, was a Harmon Kardon Citation 2 power amplifier, with a Citation 1 preamp, rack mounted in a nineteen inch military rack 7 feet high, which also contained my Technics SL-1100 turntable, which was on a drawer slide, and equipped with a Rabco linear tracking arm. Also in the relay rack was a Hammerlund SW and AM receiver, which I used to tune in Beaker Street which was broadcast from Little Rock after 10:PM. The speakers were Altec corner horns with dual 15" woofers; but the High End bug bit when a friend brought over a set of Fulton Musical Industries (FMI) 80s...
My first real system was purchased in 1978 at Alan Audio in Bloomington, IN. Advent 300 receiver, New Advent speakers, and a Micro Seiki MB-14 turntable. No idea what cartridge they put in it. Lots of records available at the used record stores for $2-$3 apiece. My 15 watts/channel blew away just about everyone else on my dorm floor.

Those were the days.   :-)

18 in 1978 - Actually bought Sansui G4500 and Infinity RS-Bs(?) 3 ways.

Also liked the Polk 10Bs. 

1968: AR 3a Loudspeakers & XA turntable

1970: ESS TranStatics, McIntosh electronics

1971: Infinity Servo-Statics, SAE electronics

1972: Magneplanar Tympanis, ARC electronics, Revox A77, Thorens TD-125/SME 3009 Improved/Decca Blue

Earliest "MOST WANTED" gear

As I mentioned before, 1977 Mark Levinson ML2 monoblocks only 25w!!!  Class-A monoblocks, that can keep almost doubling down to 1ohm

For a source would have to be Naim CD555 with 555 power supply.

Passive preamp, naturally

Speakers Wilson Wamm

Cheers George
My first system, early 1970's, from my earnings working on Saturdays in a bookstore, first as a schoolboy and next as a student:

Linn Sondek LP12, SME 3009ii improved, Shure V15iii
Quad 33/303/FM3 (Quad 33 input board specific for the Shure cartridge)
Quad ELS57
This is the system I used until a few years ago, augmented from the early 1980's by a succession of disc players.

I have never thought that the continuing upgrade itch is a very smart thing. Think hard, buy something excellent, and then live with it saves a lot of money, produces better results and keeps you sane: technology does not change that fast. The CD player (first generation Philips with an adapted Quad input to cope with the 2.0V output of the disc player) was the only worthwhile upgrade for years.
My dad had a Sansui BA 2000 and CA 2000 amp and pre along with a TU 9900 tuner.   My first receiver was a 40 watt JVC but I soon replaced it with a Sansui AU 9900 int amp.....  it's still on use at my brothers house.

I used to live near a place called Manufacturers Markerplace  it was where you could find recently discontinued gear and slow sellers for a great price..   I used to lust after the S.A.E. gear there.  They also had Teac ,Sony ES,  Mitsubish, Technics....  but I always wanted that stack of S.A.E. gear.