How did you get started?

There was a thread recently posted that talked about a father helping his son build a system. How many audiogoners got started because a close relative or family member was into it?

I started when I bought my first cdp/boom box. I bought some 6x9 car speakers and built boxes for them. I had both 6x9's and the speakers that came with the boom box all paralleled into the boom box. Needless to say I blew numerous circuits in the house until I bought something with more power. I never had anyone around when I was younger that had interest in high end, I guess I just read a high end audio magazine and was hooked.
I was in 2nd grade, got a 8track boom box-not stereo back then, and wired and 2nd speaker to it for "stereo"

That was my cheapest system...unfortunately...I took a job in highschool helping keep clean a stereo store. That hooked me. My first real system, freshman in college, ARC sp6 preamp, ARC tube amp (d60 I think), Linn lp12 and maggies.

Still miss that set up sometimes. For the was great!
My uncle gave me a Wollensak reel-to-reel for Christmas. I traded that for a Roberts reel-to-reel which had no internal amp or speakers. Bought a Marantz Model 26 receiver, no-name 3-way speakers, and a Garrard Zero-100 TT with a V-15 Type 2 cartridge. By this time I was 14 years old. Blew the speakers and yanked out the drivers and used the cabinets to build my first speaker project. Found out how to use a capacitor for a crossover. By the time I graduated HS, I was building speakers systems for all my friends. Mostly 3-ways that I removed their blown drivers and rebuilt them with better drivers, new crossovers, and re-tuned cabinets. Tales of a mis-spent youth. Now look at me. I'm known as the wierd-o with the record player, a 1-watt tube amp, and single driver speakers. I was buying some used LP's the other day, and a couple of young kids came up to me and said,"Hey, mister, what are those things? Are they records? I've never seen any before. Hey, Billy, come look at these records!" The world surely has changed. I'll bet they've never even heard "In-a-gadda-da-vida".
In my senior your of high school (1976-77). A friend kept taking me with him into the Sound and Music Co-op in Northampton, Massachusetts. He already had the bug (he went on to become a radio jock); and I soon caught the bug myself. Could not afford anything until my freshmen year of college.

As a point of history, the Sound and Music Co-op evolved and later named changes became "Sound and Music"; "Northampton Audio"; and now "Spearit Sound". So Richard Moulding and I go back 26 years (EEK !!!).

TWL - I'll bet they never heard "Shady Lady" or "Slower than Guns" either. Some folks up here in NH/VT did when I pulled an old Iron Butterfly LP ("Metamorphosis") at the used vinyl store, and a huge grin broke over the proprietor's face. That day, they heard it again in the store while I browsed. What a hobby.

My dad started me out with an HH Scott solid-state receiver, TEAC cd-player, AIWA linear tracking TT and Boston Acoustics A60 bookshelves. Nice rig for a kid!

When I "caught" the audio bug again a few years ago, I realized finally that it was always there.

The Scott got "slider-fuzz" in the controls, I passed the TEAC on, I sold the TT, and I just refoamed the Bostons and still listen to them in my bedroom system with Antique Sound Labs Wave 8 tube amps.
Mwilson, I have every Iron Butterfly album. You should also check out the band "Captain Beyond". Several Iron Butterfly members joined that band after IB broke up. The Captain Beyond album with the 3D hologram cover is great, and "Sufficiently Breathless"(2nd album) is also very good. They are on the Capricorn label.
On the IB Metamorphosis album, "Soldier in our Town" is my favorite.
You guys and your Rock and Roll! I got the bug a few years ago when I was introduced to the music of Mozart. I was in Vienna on a holiday and a friend had access to the royal court. He was able to sneak me in for a recital the young man was doing. It was stunning. Such talent for a man his age.
He went on to bigger better and outrageous things but in those days we had to wait for months or years for something new. The small time theaters tried to reproduce his music but only left us wanting the real thing. Since the advent of recorded music things have become so simple most of you don't appreciate what us old timers had to suffer through.
"Peter and the Wolf" at about the age of seven. Then pop, then rock, now classical and jazz.

I had a cheap quadraphonic system when I was about 15. From there I went into mid-fi, two-channel with Carver, NAD, Rotel, and Altec-Lansing speaks. Even got into some esoteric stuff like Quatre and Phase Research, and reel to reel in my late teens, early twenties. Tried building my own, but it just never sounded right. Dual, Kenwood (audiophile series), JBL, wouldn't stop.

Then, a couple of years ago I went completely insane.....
Krell, Plinius, Quicksilver, Martin Logan, Dunlavy, Resolution Audio, Audio Aero. Yipes! Not to mention the changes in source materials.

And, the Home Theater stuff nearly broke me (of the audio habit, not financially).

I ought to be committed. In some states, it's probably against the law. Please, Help Me! I might buy again.
I was raised with music. Live (the Met, standing room every Saturday between ages 3&5) and at home (my faves were Peter and the Wolf and Porgy & Bess.) Played an instrument pretty well. My father had a Bozak-Mac-Fisher system. Showed me the ridges on lamp cord so you knew which side was which and didn't hook things up out of phase. When I was 15 I had my own rig. ElectroVoice, Eico amp, Gerrard. Evolution brought me to KLH 6s and AR3s. Electronics in that period swung between Dyna Stereo 70/PAS3 and Marantz Model 9 and pre with AR table. Segue to: Old Quads with a variety of amps from custom made OTLs to VTL triodes to krell KSA 80 to ARC Classic 30 with Sota table SME V arm and highish output (for moving coil) carts like EMT, Kiseki Rosedwood. The Quads morphed into a ProAc Response 3-ARC VT130 system. Presently I am getting excellent sound from Totem Mani-2s driven by Musical Fidelity M-250 mono blocks supplemented by a Triad sub-woofer. Front ends are Denon DP59L table with integrated dampened arm bearing a ClearAudio Veritas going into a Luxman LE-109 phono preamp (solid state) and an Adcom GFP 750 pre, (used in passive mode.) Digital: Sony 707ES (hardly the newest piece of gear around but very hard to beat.) Oh, and let us not forget the highly modified Kenwood
KT7500 for "free music." Music? Well, I no longer play an instrument pretty; well I do catch concerts (Mahler, Dylan, BB King). Catch some live jazz, usually at clubs. Was fortunate enough to have heard Ray Brown in Boston a year ago and had a date to hear him at Yoshi's in Berkeley. But he died. On the day he died I had enough Ray Brown on CD and vinyl to play for 12 hours straight and have plenty left over.
My first system included a Sansui tube receiver a Dual turnatable with a Shure catridge and Japanese no-name speakers. They were purchased in 1966 while I was still in the Navy. I have had MANY different systems since then, but my love of music motivated me to get into the hobby. The price tags keep getting bigger and the music keeps sounding better.
When I graduated from grammar school I recieved a folding "all in one stereo w/ Garrad turntable" as a gift from my parents. Most of my rather generous allowance (I worked hard for it) went towards records (1'st 45 was the Beatles "Hey Jude", first three albums "Magical MysteryTour" "Sgt.Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Cosmo's Factory". The next year I was sent to Boarding school in Europe. When I came back I was dismayed to find all my meticulously maintained records ruined (cigarette holes,scratches,gouges, etc.)my parents thought it O.K. to lend my prize collection to my cousins (My mother also thought it a good idea to throw away a huge collection of "MAD" magazines and replace my subscription with "Boys Life" (Yuch!)). There was nothing I could do about it, especially since I was away most of the time. A couple of years latter I returned and left. I was legally emancipated at age 14. Despite working three job (minimumn wage) I couldn't afford a new stereo (being on my own did allow me to spend almost every night in N.Y.'s great jazz clubs thanks to a fortuitous mistake on my passports year of birth). I always promised myself that one day I would own the best. I had all the classic misconceptions of the era (thanks Julian Hirsch), a watt is a watt, big boxes with many drivers and a reciever was all anybody but an idiot with money needed. A friend/co-worker who attended a lot of shows with me, brought me home to hear his Linn Kans with Adcom power amp, it was all over. I had to rethink all my previous misconceptions. The next year I spent over 10% of my measly yearly salary on speakers alone. I haven't looked back since.
My father can't carry a tune but loves music. He got into the hobby in the golden mid-Fifties with a Rek-o-Kut TT, a Shure cartridge with the first Fisher stereo amp--saw one on auction recently at about $300--and EV drivers in custom horns. He made sure the kids had something to play their records on so they wouldn't have to use his system. I learned not to drop the stylus on the disc and to keep the volume down at startup.

When I could, I started to build up my own system. An ELAC changer, a Dyna SCA-35 kit (thanks Mom!) and homebuilt speakers with Wharfedale drivers. Later, a Connoisseur turntable with Decca arm and cartridge, HK Citation 12 kit and ESS AMT-1 speakers. Didn't find a preamp I liked before the divorce.

Kits were a great way to learn and get great sound into the bargain. You can still do it today, but the marketers take up so much bandwidth that it's harder to learn about them.

Unsound, I was sent to boarding school in Europe at 15. I know what goes on while you're away (parents gave my bike to the chauffeur, what on earth happened to... ). Congratulations on your emancipation!
I was on the school playground after lunch when a dirty man in a raincoat approached me. "Hey kid, I want you to try something. Don't worry, I'm not gonna take nothin from ya." And he slips me a slim package in a brown wrapper. "If ya want more, the directions are in the bag." and he disappears. Inside was a copy of Brubeck-Tjader, and the address of The Record Hunter...
I was walking down 27th street in Milwaukee when this big, long, black Lincoln Towncar pulled along side of me. As I glanced over to see what this shadow was, a window rolled down and a southern gentleman (I could tell by the accent) said "Hey dude, you wanna get high?"
"I don't do that anymore." I said, almost telling the truth.
He chuckled for a moment and replied, "You gotta check out what I got, then you can go straight."
I was tempted to turn and run as my mother had instructed when I was a little boy, but he had not said anything about candy, so I figured he must be okay.
"Watcha got?" I asked affecting my most sofisticated tone.
The man called to someone up front who steered the car to the curb. The salesman got out. He must have been all of 6'-9" tall and tipped the scale at over 300lbs. I stepped back, for obvious reasons. The man pointed to the trunk of the car which suddenly popped open.
"Check this out..." he drawled, or was he drooling? I don't remember it was a long time ago, and not relevant to the story.
My eyes popped out of my head, and my chin hit the ground. It was disgusting. As anyone who lives in Milwaukee and near 27th street can tell you santitation was not a big priority to the city fathers. I tried to look up at the big man but it was not possible with my eyes hanging out like they were. After replacing the orbs into their sockets and dusting off my chin I glanced into the trunk again. The original affect thankfully did not reoccur.

The cavernous trunk contained all manner of hifi gear. I was drawn immediately to the MacIntosh gear by the bright lights and multiplicity of knobs (I am not particularly bright, so such things are very interesting to me).
"That's cool!" I muttered pointing at the MacIntosh reciever.
"You're not real bright are you?" asked the big man in a friendly voice.
"No sir, but I sure would like to get some of that stuff in there. What is it?
"This is stereo equipment." he answered.
"What does it do?"
"It plays beautiful music."
"I gotta get some, but can I listen to it before I plunk down my hard earned paper route money?"
"Of course," he replied "what do you want to listen to?"
I pointed to a bunch of stuff. He removed several boxes from the back of the trunk and handed them to me. I almost stumbled under the load. It was all I could do to carry all the boxes. There were two Klipsch speakers, a B&O linear tracking TT and a Nakamichi cassette deck.
"I'm gonna run home and listen to this stuff, if it sounds as good as you say I'll come back and pay you the $8000, for all this stuff."
He turned around and winked at the driver.

I ran home and sure enough, the system was everything he said it would be. Some of the music was so good I nearly wept as I listened.

I still feel bad about never going back and paying the man, but I told him it might take a while before I would be back. As far as I know he's still there on 27th street waiting for me.