How did we get into this crazy hobby?

In reading another thread, a person noted that many of us became interested in the hobby at about the same time. I think it would be interesting as to what got us interested and how it started. Perhaps manufacturers may ultimately want to take note.

For me, it started in elementary school when my parents allowed my sister and I to each choose a new record (album). Which I think I wore out in less than a year. I found listening to the radio was unsatisfying as I had to listen to music I was not interested in. It went from this to tyring to record off of the radio (yes, with mirophones) onto either 8-tracks or cassettes (to give you a timeline, this was the mid/late 70s).

In junior highschool I got a paper route and made $23 per week. Just enough to buy 3 new albums per week. I went to my local record store, Beggars Tune where I would choose 2 new albums, Rocky (she worked there) would be given the responsibility to choose my 3rd album of the week. She turned me on to some very good stuff, jazz, rock, classical, Grateful Dead and much more.

In highschool (9th grade), the silver pre 1964 quarters that my grandparents had given me every year since I was young shot up in value thanks to the Hunt brothers in Texas. When my parents were out of town, I took my quarters to the local coin store and sold them at 20 X face value ($5 per quarter). I got about $1,500 for this and took the bus to Sound World and bought my first real stereo system (AAL speakers, Teac Cassette deck [with auto reverse V-9 I think], Luxman integrated amp and BIC turntable.

Two years later and up to a couple hundred records I convinced my parents to get me a Thorens table for Christmas, best Christmas present I ever received. Just got rid of that table last week!!!!

Many years later and like many of us, I could probably benefit from some sort of 12 step group program and be cured once and for all.
Simply put MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC!! After that it is like any other passion, be it racing, you want the best car you can afford and tweek it as budget allows. With audio it just seems that we are forever chasing that dream of system that sounds as good if not better than the best we have heard. Once you hear an AC Cobra 427 rumble, a Honda won't do. Once you hear a set of Avante Garde Trios driven by Viva tube amps with a Gran Prix TT and a Lyra Titan cart. You want your system to sound like that or whatever the system is that made an impression on you. I am sure many will have better examples for the illustration I am attempting here. Bottom line I want to hear the music in it finest reproductive splendor. Well gotta go my LP is on it's last track and it's time to choose another....maybe Allison Krause Live...nope Natilie Merchant Tiger Lily!
Well..for me it all stared when I was a child and seemed to always be surrounded by music that my Mother would play over the music system in our living room. I used to love to get a brand new pencil and sit in my favorite chair listening to Beethoven's 7th Symphony and pretending i was conducting. Late on...I would constantly borrow my sisters portable record player with detachable speakers..I think it was a Panasonic...Much to her displeasure!

When I was in High School my parents had some farm land that had a nice house that was completely cleaned-out by robbers.. I convinced my Dad to take some of the insurance money and let me get a real component music system. At the time my Uncle had a small retail home audio store and he sold to us at cost a pair or Acoustic Research AR-12 speakers, a Technics 25 watt receiver, Pioneer Pl 530 turntable/ with a Shure M97ED cartridge, and a Pioneer CTF 2121 cassette deck.
Boy!...was I in heaven....

That was my first system...and years later and several thousands of dollars poorer, I think I've gotten to the point that I enjoy the music so much more and try not to obsess about the equipment as much. Perhaps there is wisdom to be found in old age, after all.

Yeah right!...good luck with that!You obsessive-compulsive die-hard audiophile!
started reading billboard and cashbox as a grade schooler...started working in a record store at about the same time(circa 1966)....stocking the pop cooler, and checking in records that arrived via greyhound bus.....we had a wall with the top 100 singles that was reshuffled each week. bubbling under the top 100 as well. older hipsters drank lots of chocola, while arguing about the latest lps and politics......looking back i was extremely lucky.....
I was never really interested in music growing up. I listened to shortwave radio as an early teenager and other than buying a few albums over the years I mostly listened to FM radio. Finally bought a stereo when I was 23, shocked my then GF now wife. Cheap pioneer/technics tt/kenwood speakers set up. Around the age of 31 I became friends with a bunch of folk blues musicians out of NYC that settled in Bloomington, IN and they (anyone know of the Dorkestra and Carrie Newcomer?) introduce me to folk and blues and I got to meet musicians like Jon Svetky, Ellis Paul, and many others through them. So 16 years later after a crappy year at work last year (I teach Comm. College) I read about an Ipod tube amp and one of my instructors had an old McIntosh mono amp she asked me about which made me curious and I took the plunge into tubes and vinyl.

I setup a very low-key system with stuff off of Audiogon and have started to upgrade a bit, first the cheap pawnshop tuner and now going from BW DM602's to Triangle Speakers with some tweeks here and there. But man, nothing like listening to vinyl even on a simple system like mine. Rediscovered all this vinyl I bought over the years but never listened to.
I'm 52. During vacation in the 6th grade, I had $5.00 to spend at the end of a week vacation with parents. We stopped in a Grace Dept. store in Raleigh, NC, 130 miles before we got home. Figured I should drop the bucks somewhere and this was it.

$.88 each got me a Rolling Stones "Between the Buttons"
(Mom hated their appearance on Ed Sullivan and even better, this one had "Let's Spend the Night Together" on it, but I'd never heard anything by these guys except "Satisfaction" on AM radio). I almost didn't, but the cover of "Fresh Cream" was too cool and I'd heard this guy in there was pretty good with a guitar, so I dropped the big money on that, too.

We got home and the first thing I drop the needle on is "I Feel Free". To say my world, at that moment, changed is an understatement. No more Monkees albums for me: I had to dig that old guitar out of the attic. Christmas that year was more Cream, Hendrix and even Grandma bought me a Stones album!!

37 years later of trumpet (major) and guitar and bass, music has been indispensable. (I'm taking a short break now). Music keeps me sane while I practice law.

That was MUSIC. Now "Stereo" (as we called it) was quite different. I was shopping for new horn for High School graduation and in that Music Store were some type of panel speakers by Fisher and a 504 reciever (SQ 4-channel, anyone?) Some "Brothers 4" or other "collegiate" type group was singing a version of "Never my Love". That was when the emotions of a system (even not so good) related to my life (gorgeous new girlfriend, etc.) The Bach trumpet stayed (I got a ton of them and others later), but a Fisher 304, a Quad 1218 turntable and Shure M91 cartridge, with KLH 33 speakers were the ticket. I've moved, erratically, due to school and family, etc., up-market ever since.

Every once in a while I need to ask that question that you did...when the "resolution thing" or the "imaging thing" are praying on my mind and my wallet, I need to ask "how did I get into this crazy hobby?"

Music then and now takes me places I otherwise would never go or have gone. College without Steely Dan? Law school without Arrowsmith? Love without Phil Collins? (Just kidding. Wondered if you were still with me or not!) How about love without Michael Franks and "Sleeping Gypsy" or at times, Ted Nugent?

If don't mean a thing if it ain't got that certain je ne suis pas.
It was fun reading the replies to this thread and forced me to think back. You all have some vivid memories! Some moments I can recall...

Sitting on a little wooden stool between the buclet seats of my Dads 1967 Chevy pickup, staring at an 8-track player he bolted under the dash, with the same 8-track always plugged in, CCR.

It seems like I spent almost every summer night staying over at a friends house and I remember us purchasing a headphone splitter so we could both use our own headphones off one jack on his radio. ...listening to WGRD in Grand Rapids, MI.

My dad purchased a jukebox and put it in our basement, we still have it, although not working. It had a large glass front and when selecting a song you could watch the "rack" spin to the record, select it, pull it out and set it down. We played that juke box a lot! ...enjoying pool (billiards) as well.

It seems like a special time for playing music back then (70's).

Unlike Chris, I have always liked the radio, for whatever reason.
This is the best thread I have seen thus far on audiogon. It is great to get the personal history angle.
Chashmal, I vaguely remember Beggars Tune, and I positively remember Sound World. Is this Appleton? Sound World was where I heard the best system I had ever heard, and it changed my life.
My bad. My previous post was directed at Ckoffend. Trying to multi-task. (was on the phone) Sorry.
My Uncle Warren was a merchant seaman making the trip between San Francisco, Japan and Seattle. When he was taking his Coast Guard test for 1st Mate, he stayed with us for about two weeks. His next trip he brought my mom and dad a Sony reel-to-reel with detachable speakers (ca. 1961?) as a thank you gift.

As the oldest child, it fell to me to set-up the tape my parents wanted to listen to and to get the speakers "just right." I was hooked!

One of my fondest memories is of watching my mom clean the house accompanied by Sousa Marches blasting out of that player.
I followed my dear departed Dads footsteps.
We always had a way to play music at home but
I still vividly remember the time, the room & the songs we listened to when he brought home a new Nordmende stereo system about 1963 and put on the Limeliters "There's a meeting here toninght". I've been hooked on good sound and the ability to play exactly what one wants ever since.
I consider music appreciation to be one of the dearest interests he introduced me to.