What a great story!
My own is not quite as good, but here goes (I think I've told this one in these forums before): When I was very young, my dad would listen to jazz after we kids went to bed. I remember hearing the great masters playing softly coming from "somewhere" downstairs, and being young, wondering when all the musicians showed up at our house.
I used to sneak down to the landing to peek into the living room to see them, but they were never there. The lights were low so it was hard to tell. As I got older my dad turned me on to all the discs he had and how to operate his "record player". My dad is gone now, but every time I play an LP that really sends a shiver up my spine, I smile and think of him. Thanks dad for giving me a lifetime love.
In the beginning of 80's audio equipment in Russia was stepping behind 70's or even tube 60's equipment of other countries such as UK and US thus beginning an age of Russian high-end.
Anyone who loved music would certainly prefere to hear it more clear.
Whoever was able to acquire Shure cartridge had certainly more superior system than others who couldn't.
I firstly had mono tube radiola i.e. one-box turntable SW/AM/FM radio and 5w amp and happened to love music of different kinds: Shostakovitz, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Glenn Miller etc... since I was a little kid... When I was a guest of my friend who's father was contracting in Iraq I saw his record player is separate with receiver and speakers are separate too and it sounded realy great especially compared to my tube radiola. When I brought my records to listen, I was realy surprised and dreamed of something similar or even better and here it all started...
It wasn't only happening with me but with many other kids and adults. My parents didn't understand me but despite that my dad brought me from factory a real good output tubes so I could build my own 2-ch amplifier.
Having taken appart my tube radiola that I hated after listening to a descent equipment I started to study and DIY...
Most think I have William's desease. It was covered on 60 Min's last night. You basically have music in you and you don't know why.
The (Motown Sound)!... It was back in the early 60's that I first heard this big-bold wall of sound. Hooked from that point on.
My father building Heathkits. At the time there was no vacine and the bug bit right into my bloodstream and stayed there.
My addiction started in the late 50's with my parents passion for Music compounded by my dad always having GREAT audio equipment around.
Collaro (any body old enough to remember)
My wife went the other direction. Her dad liked smooth jazz which he played in the car on excruciatingly long and boring road trips. She used to get carsick a lot so now she associates jazz or audiophile music with nausea. I can`t play that music while she is around. The first time I heard B&W speakers about 20 years ago was the beginning of my journey. It was at Hudson`s Audio in Albuquerque. I was bitten. I bought the DM330`s but lusted for the Matrix 3's. 5 years ago I found a mint pair for $400 and am in hog heaven.
The first time I listened to to Sgt Peppers on headphones
in a word- reel to reel tape recorders; i.e.-
Mine started in the 70's when I would sneak my Frampton Comes Alive album onto my dad's fisher system insted of my fold out record player.
back in 74 in college got an antec lancing receiver that cradled a garrard turntable on top-as one piece--along with braun speakers (soon to be ads) this was coming up from the zenith flip top record player so i would turn that thing up!! it had tons of distortion but i did not know it then---i also did not know that i would upgrade every two to three years one or two pieces for the next 30 years---going from braun to ads 810 to fried to metronone 7 and sub woofer to linn to vandersteen 1s then to 2ci then finally vandy 3siga
As most my age, I grew up with some sort of radio, but we also had a 'hi-fi" in the basement and as kids we could spin all the discs we wanted, my Dad had quite a few, I never thought until now where these LP's are today. Furthermore, my Dad purchased a Jukebox that was adapted to not need money and us kids spent many hours playing records and shooting pool in the basement.
In high school a good friend had a stereo and this also played a part in my audiophile adventure.
(I just called my Dad and asked about those LP's, he said they are sitting in his barn. I will be interested to see what is there.)
My dad had a Telefunken hi-fi set and a fairly decent collection of LPs...we listened to Brubeck, Miles, Pete Fountain, Chet Baker, Satchmo, Ellington, and even lesser names like Acker Bilk and Bert Kaempfert. My sisters got portable record players early on and I inherited an old Silvertone upright console when I was about thirteen. The first LP I ever bought, about 1958, was a Christmas gift for my folks called 'Cool Swedish Jazz'. I'm sure they were surprised (and hopefully pleased) by the gift but I don't remember the recording at all. The earliest record I can remember buying for myself was Dave 'Baby' Cortez' 45, Happy Organ...I was hooked.
When I was really little during the early '60's my Dad allowed me too play records on his big console turntable. Some were those party tune albums with little kids wearing fun hats and eating ice cream on the album cover, but that's also when I also discovered Chet Atkins' In Hollywood LP.
Around 1969-70 my Dad brought home and unboxed a Sansui receiver, BSR Turntable, KLH speakers, an 8-track, and a Sony reel-to-reel. I would say this is when my love of good sounding music was born.
But it wasn't until four years ago when I truly started to assemble a system worthy of Audiogon notice. Thanks to an inherent pack rat gene, and the generosity of A'Gon member Sherod, we still have this system sans the BSR. I should post it some time in my virtual system.
Hearing original Quads with a Dynaco St 70 with the Audio Research mod, with the original Oracle table and Acoustic Electronics cylindrical subs. Sublime.
At the 1960 Detroit Auto Show, which I attended as a young lad, I heard a demostration through headphones of something new called "stereophonic" sound. It impressed me deeply, and combined with a developing love of music, got me hooked on two-channel audio. Nothing fundametal has changed for me in this respect in the succeeding years, except the quality and cost of the gear.
Neat thread, and GREAT stories. Mine dates to around 1983. I was working in a mall in Massachusetts, making money through college. This mall had a Nantucket Sound store in it (anyone remember these?).
I was already into music, but had no concept of the finer systems. I used to like to visit this store to see what i couldn't afford.
On the third or fourth visit, I walk into this glassed room, JUST as a climax from Stravinsky's 'Rite Of Spring' is being reached. This is the part where there is a buildup of some brass, then a brief pause. I literally opened the door during this pause.
Then, out of these massive speakers (Snell A's), comes a long series of Tympani shots that literally caused my hair to blow a bit. Then the back-and-forth tumult of strings and brass, as the "storms" of spring set in.
I don't remember if I vocalized anything, or if I was too dumfounded to even talk. But from that day forward, I paid good attention to the equipment, as well as the music.
It's been downhill for the wallet ever since :-)
1969 (I was 7) I took my brothers portable turntable with detachable speakers and attached them to my bed's headboard, one on each post! AHHHHHH! Stereo!! Shortly after that, I was stuck to my Dad's headphones and my brother's Neil Young "harvest" album... over and over and over.........
Those were the days!
A high school buddy, in 1975, had stacked Advents with Crown amps and Thorens 124 turntable. We used to sit 3 on his sofa and jam out all night. That led to me getting EPI 100s and Dynaco SCA35 amp with Thorens turntable. I mounted the speakers on the bedroom wall and moved them so much it looked like a machine gun had riddled it with lead!
I guess it would have to be many, many years ago when my family was over at a friend's house and we were listening to some music. I think it was around '70 or '71. I don't remember what the music was or what equipment they had, but I do remember are the headphones and listening to stereo for the first time. "WOW! This is neat. Different sounds in each ear with drums and vocals coming from the top of my head. How can this happen?" I was memorized by it. My brothers wanted to listen, but I did not want to give up the headphones. When I did I took them back as soon as I could. Mom and Dad had to drag us away from the stereo in order to go home.
Within a few days I tried to make my own headphones with two small transitor radio speakers. Crude, but they worked. Only problem was it wasn't stereo. By Christmas I had a small Montgomery Ward's stereo with cassette and Santa gave me a pair of headphones.
I will never forget that first experience and have enjoyed every minute of it since.
My father's passion for recorded music was the true root of it all. He had a very good mono system (Weathers table, Bogen tube amp and preamp, and Altec speaker) until 1967 when he bought his first stereo (Garrard table, Scott solid state receiver, and Scott 3-way floor standing speakers). That system was not as good as what it replaced, but it was equipment lust 101 for me. I was regularly transfixed by Tchaikovsky, Horace Silver, Beatles and Puccini.
We had an indulgent neighbor that allowed me to cannibalize the dozens of dead and dying TVs and stereo consoles in his basement to cobble together crappy systems (speaker cabinets out of cardboard cartons, etc.). All the while I was buying records with every penny of disposable income (nothing's changed!). My first "real" system was a Panasonic Dentist's Office special (de rigeur for every dentist's office in the early 70s) that I modified over and over until I started buying real equipment a short time later (mowing lawns and paper route = equipment).
I got into the audio industry in the late 70's, buying equipment cheaply in bulk and selling it for a small profit. I also bought Hafler kits and modified them for sale to friends for a small mark up. All the while I was getting hugely into the playing and recording of music. Much of my college time was spent on these pursuits.
Although I remain an avid musicaholic, my drive for building and collecting equipment is greatly diminished. The system that I have assembled dispenses musical bliss with nary an effort, and I feel no compulsion to change a thing. My son, however, has stepped into the breach. He has started building his own system and tweaking things to his liking. Alas, the passion has been communicated to another generation.
Older buddy's in the neighborhood w/Marantz receivers, Gerrard turntables & those Sansui(?) speakers with the
diagonal wood lattice grills, playing Steppenwolf & Cream albums from the Murphy's cutout bin. Meanwhile I had a Panasonic quadraphonic system w/8-track, turntable & receiver & 4 detachable speakers. I had some quadraphonic 8-tracks that would do some wild things, Ten Years After, a space in time comes to mind. From then on has been nothing but fun.
Circa 1974-75..Lots of my friends had stereo systems in college and they all played loud. I really didn't understand what the big deal was. I got a chance to visit my girlfriend's parent's house.....her dad put on 'Chicago Damn' by Bobbie Humphrey and my life was changed forever. The crystal clear sound of that flute and synthesizer coming through a Sansui 771 reciever, Dokorder 7140 reel to reel and a pair of JBL speakers with 12 inch woofers...it was a life altering experience. I had heard that song maybe a hundred times before, but NEVER LIKE THAT!....the flute just pierced right through me and I was riveted.
As soon as I could save enough money, I went to Leo's Stereo in Van Nuys, CA and bought the exact system with a Techics SL 1500 turntable and Superscope cassette recorder. I bought a stereo system before I bought a car.....I had my priorities in order.
My Dad is responsible. One day in the early 1960s dad brought home 3 large boxes with the word Heathkit on them. One box contained small glass bottles along with screws and metal frames and other unknown goodies. He introduced me to the careful use of a thing called a soldering iron. He even let me melt something called solder onto a circuit. The best part was watching dad carefully and deliberately construct this thing. I could see by his expression that this was something really special and important and I learned to be patient while he was using the iron and to give him space. The other 2 boxes contained what looked like end tables on tall spindly legs.
When he had completed construction I knew I had witnessed sorcery. When it was first turned on I heard jazz coming through the end tables. All that for jazz?
It is now years later and when I discover an LP that I have a distant childhood memory of I anxiously play it for my father to learn about the artist and whether my dad saw them perform live and what other songs and LPs I should look for. Oh, Four Women by Nina Simone. I loved hearing that song when I was young, even though I never told my dad.
Yep!..music and audio equipment, its all my dads fault.
ASK ME THIS QUESTION IN 20 YEARS.
Nobody in my family is into this stuff. None of my friends are either. I have a few aquaintenances that are into this hobby, but that is about it.
I first discovered stereo gear in the military, and spent whatever i could to get my system sounding good. It never reached the level of clarity i desired though.
When i got out of the military i went to this place in denver called SOUNDTRACK AUDIO, same thing as audio king and ultimate electronics.
What really facinated me was the room with Martin Logan, Sunfire, Krell, Adcom, and the like. I saw that shit and knew i wanted it. Even in thier crappy listening room it was far far superior to my system and had virtually none of the shortcomings.
I started reading every audio mag i could and checking manufacturer web sites.
Then i stumbled into AUDIOGON one day while doing a search about audio related. I was instantly hooked.
I also managed to piss off the entire audiogon community within a couple weeks. I thought i knew way more than i did, and i got offended when people told me i diddnt know what i was talking about, and i ran my mouth, and was basically chased away.
Couple months went by and i finally logged back on under a new name and tried again. I knew that there was alot of experience here, and that the advice i got could potentially save me from bad buying decisions, and save me thousands of dollars.
Then i lost my system, which sucked, but it was not well thought out and put together terribly. There were some good pieces of gear that i would still like to have though.
Im glad i came back on here though, because the level of experience that i suspected the audiogon community to have was only the surface, and over the past year i have become to realize how deep that experience and knowledge really runs, and how little i knew.
I still dont know a whole lot now, but if my experience then was a gram, i have a ten solid pounds of it now. Which aint much compared to the 50 metric tons that people like Sean and TWL, and Albert Porter have.
So like i said, Ask me this question again in 20 years, my responce will be
"When i stumbled across Audiogon"
Holy #$%! That's what a stereo image is? It was 2001, I was fresh out of college, and I heard a high-end stereo setup at a friend's house. Never before had I heard two speakers setup correctly to yield a stereo image. And never before had I heard that level of resolution before. The rest was history.
Audiogon certainly made hi-fi affordable to me with its vast available resource of buying and selling second hand goods whereas I otherwise wouldn't have built/trialed so many components in many different systems in a short amount of time within a budget restraint. But, Audiogon certainly isn't when/where I was bit. But, it certianly perpetuated the sting.
I really can't recall when I was bit. Like slappy, I was the only kid into this stuff for as long as I know. My taste has always been very stuck up (and don't give a shit about what others have) no matter what it was either toys, cars, electronics or style. I guess it was just a natural evolution for me that I'd stumble upon and stick to Hifi.
I enjoy learning about technologies, theorizing improvements, and assembling systems as much as listening to the final product. Hifi is somewhat intellectually stimulating as well as job well done gratifying. And, Hifi as a "practice" is also very therapeutic.
Well, for me it was the Police....
The police greatest hits on Apogee speakers, Counterpoint amp, pre and Esoteric transport and dac in college.
Great story Slappy! And funny in a way unique to you. They ain't done made no A'GoNer like our Slappy!
But I'm a bit disappointed with how you glossed over the military aspect of your audio discovery. Two and a half years ago I can clearly remember reading a story on the CNN website how a member of Delta Force nicknamed "Slappy" had discovered a huge stash of Martin Logan, Sunfire, Krell, and Adcom equipment in an abandoned cave in Jalalabad near the Pakistan border. The article went on to say that Cuban cigars and Afghani Playgirl magazines had also been recovered and was irrefutable evidence that Osama Bin Ladin was recently using this hidden location. I could swear the guy in the photo reclining in the rattan listening chair looked a lot like our very own Slappy!
I'll vouch for Viggen's fascination with what makes the stuff work. I've learned a lot from this strange fellar. And his interest in behind the scenes and inner workings extends beyond just audio. He's put together many of the most unique and creative audio systems I've ever seen. Definitely not a conformist.
I just remembered a few other little hifi stories from my past.
I remember Indian Reservation by The Raiders [without Paul Revere] being the first 45 I ever purchsed and Edgar Winters' They Only Come Out At Night being the very first album I ever bought. I used to play Frankenstein and Free Ride on my Dad's stero while we ate dinner, and my folks digged it! I also used to listen to Space Truckin' from Deep Purples Made in Japan album [the second album I ever owned because my cousin John gave it to me] on my Dad's BSR turntable while reading some of Jack Kirbys' earliest DC Comics creations. That song was 20 minutes and 20 seconds long, and I'd listen to it on full repeat for hours on end through my Pop's headphones while enjoying those comics. I'd also listen to Richard Pryor's Craps After Hours, Cheech and Chong's Big Bamboo, and George Carlin albums throught those headphones. My parents must have been wondering why I'd be rolling on the ground laughing while listening to rock and roll.
I remember when I started college in the mid '70's and a bunch of us always car pooled. We'd drop off this one guy at his house, but one thing we always had to do before leaving for our next stop was to go inside and listen to his SONAB speakers playing just one cut from ELO's Face The Music LP. Fire On High! It was treble fascination thing.
I can also remember when I first got my driver's license in 1975 and while driving my Mom's '69 Camaro around thinking that this radio sure sucked. So I went to my local Pep Boys and bought a pair of Sparkomatic speakers which were about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. I wired them into the factory radio but didn't know anything about installing them in the doors, since cars of that era only had a single radio speaker mounted in the center of the dashboard facing up towards the windshield. I thought I was clever and placed the speakers on the floor near the kick panels and went for a drive in some winding roads around my house. As I was driving, the speaker on the floor of the passenger side rolled over and was facing down because of all the turns I was taking. Soooooo, I decided to reach all the way across the car and down to the floor of the car to readjust the positioning of the speaker WHILE I WAS DRIVING! The next thing I heard and felt was a big bang. The car had hit a row of cement parking lot stops that had been placed along the side of the road to prevent people from driving up the side of the road and go careening into expensive homes. Well, when I felt and heard the big bang, I immediately looked up and saw what had happened so I tried to steeer myself back onto the road, but I because I was fighting against the stuttering effect of the cement tracks I over compensated and ended up turning the car completely towards the other side of the road...TOWARDS A CLIFF! People always talk about time slowing down during a time of crisis, and this an event where I experienced that very phenomena. Although I was probably still traveling at 30-35mph, it seemed like the car was being slowly pushed across the street. I could also clearly see the smile/laugh of the jogger who'd stopped to witness my stupidity. All of a sudden I was jolted into reality by the sound of the car skidding to a halt. Somehow I had subconsciously managed to slam on the brakes while I was "enjoying" my surreal stroll towards death at the age of 16. You ever see how a Japanese woman in a kimono walks with her toes pointed in? Well that's exactly how the right front tire of my Mom's Camaro was until I got it over to our local Mark C Bloome a few days later for a re-alignment. With the steering wheel set straight ahead, I swear that car could make a left hand circle within 50-60 feet. Driving it to the tire the car just kept making "Urr, Urr, Urr, Urr, Urr!!!!!' Sounds. Kinda like the sound a kid makes as they skid their new basketball shoes across an indoor court, but much louder! Ever since that day, I had been enamored with the DIY aspect of car stereos and their effect on my health and safety.
During the late '70's, I discovered such great old car stereo makers like Fosgat, Zapco, Isophon and Hart. I remember Harts being the very first "separate" speaker smade for cars. They were constructed of the cheapest paper cones that would make Bose owners blush, but their instructions were fully illustrated cartoons like the R.Crumb comics of the time featuring a robe-wearing sandal flopping guy patterned after Mr. Natural who guided you through every aspect of the speaker install.
Years later, when I'd graduated college and began my first graphic design job, I had a boss who was just as much a kid at heart as me. I knew this was the right place for me to work because my job interview was on a Saturday, and all we talked about was stereos, shooting pool, cars and guns. He gave me the job right there. That first office was in the Bonaventure Hotel building in downtown Los Angeles which resembles four hotdogs pointing to the sky. When designs wer out being considered by clients we sneak out over the bridge to play Centipede or Qbert ot go to the parking garage so he could check out my latest Alpine amp. An old friend of his who happened to work for the DEA was often in that area and he'd always tell me he could get me Rolex watches and stereos really cheap. This guy was quite a character and 11 years prior even had a bit role in Bruce Lees movie Enter The Dragon. He got beat up a on a golf course by John Saxon. Interestin gthing about this fellow was that a few years later his face was plastered all over the TV because he had stolen drugs and money confiscated by the DEA and had left the country. Eventually, he was found I think in Luxemborg and later extradited to the US. I think he's still in a federeal prison. One day I told my boss that I had a book on speaker building and it talked about how one could configure a crossover network by changing the value of the capacitors and inductor coils. It also said instead of buying new choke coils you could take some of the winds off the coil to raise the frequency of the low pass filtering. So what did my boss say? "Really? let's go downstairs and try it my car." So during the middle of the day, under a fairly busy work load we went downstairs into the parking lot and removed winds in the coils of the speaker in his Mercedes Benz!
Around this time I can also remember salivating over the weekend newspaper ads that Paris Audio ran in the sports section showing their latest home audio gear on sale. I thought the 400 watt Carver "Cool Cube" they sold was the neatest looking piece of gear I ever saw. I'd never heard it, but I wanted on so bad! I just couldn't afford it.
In the mid to late '70's I remember getting an old pair of Jensen Triaxl car speakers with multiple wholes in their paper cones and placing them in shoe boxes so I could listen to music while shootin' some pool on a hot summer day. I ran 50 foot plus long wires from the Sansui receiver in my bedroom to this high tech set up so I could hear Elton John singin about some 6'3" Island Girl scratching some guys back like a rake. I eventuall built particle board enclosures for the good ol' Jensens.
I was heavy into the car audio DIY thing during the mid '80's and decided if I can build subwoofer enclosures and speaker networks for the car, maybe I could do something fun for the home. I ended up taling my Dad's KLH speakers and placing them diagonally across from each other in my room. I had bought a bunch of 8ohm 10" woofers and built big giant boxes for them and wired them all in parallel with the main speakers all without low pass filters! I basically, surrounded myself a pair of two-way speakers with 8" woofers and four subwoofers like Gulliver standing in the middle of Stonehenge. Then I put on, Jean Luc Ponty's Modern Times Blues from his Open Mind LP and cranked away. Thinking back, I feel sorry for my neighbors and my Dad's poor Sansui. It must have been seeing close to a 2ohm load!
Well, I never had an amazing moment of discovery like the one in Chams_UK's great story. My audio memories always seem to revolve around goofy and weird events.
Dean, Please don't install that supercharger in your M3. I wouldn't feel safe on the 405 if you did.
Wow! You remember that Gunbei?
Man, i thought nobody noticed that little incident. It was actually a pretty embarassing situation, lets just pretend that it happened as you said!
Stereo gear really diddnt matter a whole lot to me in the military. I remember buying a Technics SA-TX50 reciever while i was in japan that was AC3 ready. Ran me about 600 bucks new. In fact, i dont think they ever sold that model in the US. I paired it up with a $400 pair of pioneer speakers i got from the BX, and as far as i was concened, i had the best stereo system in the planet. I had no idea there was better stuff out there.
I had a buddy who had a set of BOSE 701's that he let me use while he was deployed in Korea. I was real excited to get em hooked up. They were in my system about 2 days when i boxed em up and put my pioneers back into play.
I spent most of my time there getting drunk off of Soju and Asahi and doing tattoos for the enlisted folks for beer. There werent any tattoo artist up there so i ended up becoming one.
That Technics SA-TX50 and those pioneers stayed with me for about 7 years, when i finally replaced them with a set of Definitive Technology 2004tls after i got back to the real world. I gave those Pioneer speakers to a friend of mine (a decision i have always regretted) It was not too far down the road where i learned how good stereo systems could be.
I guess that is when i got bit by the mid-fi bug. I was outta the BEST-BUY gear and into something a bit better.
It still was not untill around the time i first started with audiogon that i really relaized what a good stereo system should be.
Funny thing, is my music taste has changed as i got more into high end audio. Instead of spending all my time listening to techno and industrial, i listen to alot of nick cave and diana krall. However, every now and then i put the old school back in play. Earlier today i was jamming to XTORT by KMFDM.
one of these days ill have a good rig again. Getting there very very slowly, but at least instead of selling gear im back to buying it again. In fact, i plan to buy a new amplifier here in a few weeks. I enjoy the anticipation though. It makes it that much sweeter when i get something good. Patiece.
I don't recall a moment that the light bulb went off but I think it was turned on when I was a baby. My older sister was ten years my senior and my brother was seven years older than me. I even have a sister that is seven years my junior.
My folks didn't have much but they always had really great country music playing on the radio. That was back when you could pick up am stations all over the country so we listened to the Grand Ol Opry nearly every night and blue grass on the other nights. My older sister was the original bobby socks, pony tail mid 50's teenager playing those 45's of Elvis, Chuck Berry, The Big Bopper and Buddy Holly on her little portable record player. My older brother influenced me with folk music, James Brown and some of the lighter stuff of the era.
My grandfather played the fiddle and would dance a jig at the same time. His method of playing was with the neck of the violin pointing at the ground and the instrument body near his bicep. Many of his friends played bluegrass and Irish folks songs with him on a regular basis. If anyone is familiar with the Springfield, Missouri area and all of the incredible country/bluegrass talent surrounding it, that is where my family's roots are. My father, may he rest in peace, moved his little family from there for a better life but we went back regularly and I remember well those hillbilly summers of wonderful music and very interesting characters.
My brother took me to see The Rolling Stones when I was about 12. This was in Omaha on their first US tour. Perhaps 250 people showed up and they (Mick Jager) were so mad they only played three songs and stormed off stage. I even heard Mick mention on a VH1 interview (it may have been a history of rock and roll thing) a couple of years ago that the one place he would never play again was Omaha. He also took me to see the Trogs. Remember Wild Thing?
Honestly, with that kind of environment I didn't know that one could live without a daily fix of music. My grandpa, mom and dad, and older sis are all gone and I owe them a great deal for the gift they gave me. I've tried very hard to pass this along with my tiny family and since my grandson loves to sit and listen to jazz with me maybe I will succeed.
I realize it's not too late to form an appreciation for classical music but I can't shake my roots of being a hillbilly at heart. I'm just like the people that influenced me so much; much, much more than anyone that knows me can tell. I needed a good shave yesterday. I can still fondly recall going to the cistern to fetch water and using the outhouse, carrying the split oak in for the stove and gathering eggs each morning. Taking a bath in a wash tub before going to somebody's house for a spell (a good time) was time for anticipating the event. It's no wonder I feel so differnet from my contemporaries.
I'm reading all these great stories, and loving them! I also notice a trend of a love for music for a while, THEN followed by a general or specific point in time where the concept of getting the equipment comes into play. Maybe it's when it can be afforded?
As an tangent to my story, I had been into music for MANY years before buying my first true hi-fi equipment (Adcom GFA-1A amp and Apt Holman preamp in ~1984). My mother loved to listen to music, especially female vocals (Helen Reddy, Crystal Gale, etc etc). And I had two older brothers who each listened to a lot of music. I remember my first 45 and LP, The Who "Love Reign On Me" and J. Geils' "Full House Live" in ~1971 and ~1973 respectively. I remember getting huge into ELP in 1975, and Pink Floyd (Syd Barret era especially) around the same time.
Stereo-wise, I had the equivalent of a close-and-play, and a portable mono cassette recroder/player.
I graduated to a Fisher all-in-one, with receiver, cassette, and turntable. I remember opening up the speakers and seeing a single driver, and a second "driver" that just was taking up the hole - no wires! Within a couple days, I found out what a passive radiator was, and realized I was NOT ripped off. I upgraded the full range driver with a Radio Shack speaker, and the step up was dramatic.
College had me with an Aiwa minisystem due to space limitations, and about 400 cassettes!! Ah, what a group of misfits we had on our floor: a dance/disco music freak, an Ozzy Osbourne freak, a Deadhead, a Southern rocker (Molly Hatchett, Allman Bros, Mountain, etc), an alternative geek (me), and these bizarre brothers who always seemed to have only 3 songs they ever played: Monkee's "Daydream Believer," CCR "Have You Ever Seen The Rain," and the theme from the "Beverly Hillbilly's" (!).
It was my between my freshman & sophomore year that I discovered the higher end gear at Nantucket Sound, and my junior year that I bought the Adcom and Apt gear.
Last note: the Deadhead was into some stereo, and I had listened to and loved his NAD 3020 integrated as well! I bouht an Aiwa ADF-990 cassette deck from him, and I still have it to this day!
I remember very clearly the specific demonstration that started it all - for better or worse. In 1956 or thereabouts, a dealer in my home town of Lancaster, Pa. played the Dvorak 8th. Symphony on a system consisting of McIntosh and Fisher tube electronics connected to the large JBL speakers. (I think they were the famous JBL Hartsfields) When the Dvorak got to the trumpet part in the second movement where the trumpet's sound decays and sort of hangs over for a moment, I was blown away! I had never heard that decay clearly hanging over the soundfield. I was hooked from that moment on, and have never looked back. By the way, the dealer was the concertmaster of the local orchestra, so he knew exactly what he was doing!
Don't worry Ed, I don't plan on getting the supercharger, so you'll be safe when I'm on the road. About a month ago Lugnut gave me a pretty good briefing on superchargers and his experience with them. And after realizing the rammifications of increased power and torque and the other upgrades required to accommodate it, I've decided not to do it. It pays to consult wise and experienced people like Pat.
Soju and Asahi? Slappy were you stationed in Japan or near the DMZ in South Korea? I can see it now, Slappy and his homemade sign, "Will Tatt For Beer"! LOL. Slappy, you should have a booth at Alexis Park this coming January where you'll do custom tattoos for all your fellow Audiogoners. I can't wait to get mine Maori-Style! Just yesterday I registered with CES and should be getting my badge in a few months and I booked my room half way between Alexis Park and the AVN Expo, heheh.
Chams, it sure seems like you attended a very muscially and hi fidelity enlightened college! The diversity of musical tastes must have been fun, and if they started blasting all at the same time, a bit crazy too! Ahh, the passive radiator! About the time I discovered those neat unpowered guys I also discovered the effects of sympathetic radiation when I placed some small speakers on top of my Dad's KLHs. The little speakers had much more bass than I'd heard before and realized it was because the 8" woofers of the KLHs were moving to the groove even though they were unplugged. Yeah, that NAD 3020 was something special. About 12 years ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Peter Bath the designer of many of those early NAD classics. The design firm I was working for at the time was doing work for Amcli LIn and AMC. Although my knowledge of audio was quite limited then, Peter could immediately see I was an enthusiast and we became immersed in a fun and engaging discussion of audio equipment and designs. It is always a treat when you can meet a talented person like Peter and they turn out to be genuinely nice and childlike in their passion for what they do. I'll never forget this man. The only other time I had such fun talking to an audio designer was when I met Gilbert Yeung at CES 2003. Anybody that creates monoblocks in the form of high heel pumps or a preamp using a purse for a chassis has my respect both creatively and comically!
BTW SonicBeauty, great thread! This is what Audiogon is all about and threads like this forge a bond between like-minded audio and music lovers. As Chams_UK said, "Ahh the memories".
It was in 1968 that my buddy took me to his business associate friend's apartment to transact some business. I was all of 18 years old and had never heard a component system, only junk like big wooden box Magnavox consoles. I knew that real stereo equipment existed from looking at Lafayette Radio catalogs but never believed that it could be much better than my family's big wooden box with the lattice wood grills. Also, the cost was mind boggling; imagine paying $400 for an amplifier? I couldn't.
My pal's business contact, let's call him "Jack" lived in an elegant city apartment. When he opened the door, my naive self walked into a darkened living room illuminated by flickering candles. My senses were caressed by incense and a familiar herb scent.
I was immediately sat down on the couch and given refreshment. The room was so dark that I could barely make out the record player, the amplifier, and most astounding of all, the two large walnut wood boxes on the floor. My goodness, speakers that weren't attached!
Jack was older than me. He had a goatee and styled dark hair. I still had peach fuzz on my face. He kinda looked like the devil. After a few minutes I was really disoriented and trying to conceal my growing panic. Jack mentioned that we should listen to some "sounds". That made me feel better. I was hoping he'd play that stereo. I'd never seen anything so cool looking!
Guys, you know what came next! I couldn't believe the sound that was made when the needle hit the album. This hugh enveloping thump that rolled across the room calling everyone to attention. From the very first second the experience was exhilarating, intoxicating!
After a few minutes of "Surrealistic Pillow" I was down on the floor in front of these magical boxes that could actually take you truly into the music. I swear I could've seen and touched Grace Slick. The Airplane was in front of me! I finally understood the true meaning of "Plastic Fantasic Lover". Then my favorite band, The Stones doing "Aftermath". I forgot where I was. I was "in" the music. I was not laying on a carpet. I had become a spirit.
There was more: Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Ultimate Spinach, and Hendrix. Eventually, I landed. I looked at everyone like I had just awakened from a deep nap. Jack has seen this reaction before. He smiled and asked me if I'd gotten into it.
When it was time to go, I walked over to the long bureau and looked at the ultra-cool equipment. I said to myself "I shall have this. It is essential to my life. I can now no longer live without it". A month later I was in Lafayette Radio and bought my first rig.
-Theduke, Cool music! Do you still indulge? I'm talking about the music.
Wow Duke! Your story started out like a deranged older guy/younger boy sexual awakening tale and transformed into an awesome musical experience!
If I had the room, I'd like to arrange my equipment on a long bureau like "Jack's" rather than using a vertical structure like the racks most of us have.
lol dean, I was thinking the same thing.
Duke your experience, wants me to go inside the music
too,Iam glad your your spirit did not leave you, Thats
My first memory was the long evening basement parties my parents threw. All would end up in bed except my father cranking a portable 3M reel-reel player listening to "The Happy Harmonica" until the wee hours of the morning, or until he was sent to bed by mom.
Years later, I received my first Zenith portable 45/78 player and dug into mom's 50's singles collection and started spinning some classic 78's. Every few months went by and I would have to tape another penny on top of the phono arm to get the needle to play but vowed to someday get into real stereo.
I finally landed a job in my teens and made my first purchase into high-end with a Pioneer SX-880 receiver. At the store, the salesman heard me remarking about McIntosh gear and subsequently dragged me into a back listening room full of McIntosh gear. I left the store with tears in my eyes vowing to avenge my fathers poor reel-reel with all out McIntosh.
Many years went by, having to sell off my stereo collection twice to go back to college which was painful. Finally, in the prime of my life and still in college, I decided life is too short and I would beg, borrow, and steal to assemble the dream system. Two years later I am in heaven, along with significant debt, but looking back wouldn't have changed a thing. My father has long since passed but I am sure he is here listening with me on those long imbibing evenings when I crank his favorite "Ink Spots" CD.
I should close by stating that I grew up 3 hours from the McIntosh factory, hence the attraction and devotion. Finally, if there are any reel-reel buffs out there who are familiar with "The Happy Harmonica" and can transfer to digital medium I would forever be in your debt.
I remember the early years when my father used to play music on his Grundig Radiogram. The equipment with Ivory switches and teak cabinet fascinated me. Looking at the black shiny disks spinning fast and with a needle on top of it producing all the sounds always intrigued me. I had no idea why the system sounded so good; today when I look back I can understand why! It was a one-piece system; everything was almost perfectly matched and had the tubes! I had no way of comparing the equipment, but whatever was being reproduced had sounded very good.
My first memories of music were the "Blue Danube", Xaviar Cugat, Glenn Miller, Mantovani and his orchestra, soundtrack from Lawrence of Arabia (my favourite movie of all time), Spartacus (the real film about a gladiator), and some others.
My dad passed away in 1999 and on many occasions when I listen to music alone I really miss him, especially when I listen to the music mentioned above. He taught me how to handle the shiny black disks!
I taught my son the same thing back when he was just 3 years old. He is 14 now and knows a lot more about how to put together a hifi system than most kids his age.
Thanks all, very enjoyable reading indeed!
What a great thread. Not surprising that there are more postings on this thread than on most others on 'Gon. Also not surprising that so many of them start with "My Dad got me hooked....".
Well, my dad got me hooked. I was born in '59, so my friends were listening to a lot of 60s and 70s rock as I grew up. So was I, and I was playing it in my band, but I always spent a few hours a week listening to Jamal, Peterson, Evans, Wes, Miles, etc., with my dad. He had a small den with classic 60s style built-in bar/TV/stereo cabinetry, which contained (to the best of my recollection) a Scott tube amp and tuner and a Garrard turntable. Vinyl ,vinyl and more vinyl, "Friday with Frank [Sinatra]" on WWBD-FM, and a mother and sister who just didn't get the fascination.
When I was 16 my parents bought me my first "good" stereo, a Marantz 2225 receiver, Sony PL-518 turntable and speakers that I don't remember ('cuz I blew them out freshman year and replaced them with ADS floorstanders). My dad was more excited about my new equipment than I was. I didn't understand it then. I do now, as my 8 year-old son and I snuggle on the couch and listen to a lot of the same stuff my dad spun for me 30 years ago. I still have the Marantz, all tuned up and cranking fine down in the kids' playroom, while I listen to my Mac/Mac/Harbeth system up in the "daddy den". That Marantz will probably go with Ben to college in 10 years. I hope he takes a love of music there, too.
My dad suffered for 15 years with Lou Gehrig's disease, the last 8 of it confined to a bed or wheelchair. Happy moments for him were sparse during that time, but among his best were Saturday mornings or weeknights when I would go over and sit with him while we listened to whatever struck our fancy. It was never more apparent to me than then just how restorative music could be.
My thanks to everybody who contributed to this delightful thread. It awakened a lot of great memories for me.
What a great thread!
Chathamdad i also was born in '59 and was hooked by my dad as well. Back in the late '60s and early '70s he had a nice system with a Fisher tube integrated amp, a Garrard turntable and a pair of whaferdale speakers. He listened primarily to male/female vocals, trios and other groups in spanish. I would sit down with him and listen and asked everything about the artists, the compositions and the equipment. I could not afford my first system until i got to college. Since then i have gone through many system changes all to the upside. My musical palate has also evolved and now i'm most comfortable with jazz, female vocals and light classical music. However i still love the spanish music and artists that my father introduced me to and have sought and found that music on cd's. Not too long ago i had my in-laws over to my house and surprised them with some of that precious music from their and my father's generation and they could not believe how beatifully it sounded. They were almost in tears reminiscing of times 40 or so years ago. Aren't we fortunate that dad showed us the way!
I was exposed to Hi-Fi and live music from a young age, I thought all music sounded great until I heard lesser systems. Lucky me!
My Dad was a cabinet and speaker builder in the Seattle area during the 60s and 70s. We had a system he built that went through many changes over the years. At one time he had some large cabinets with some E-V Voice of the Theatre drivers. All tube amp at that time, and a Dual turntable (I think). This system had a huge full sound. I remember playing it 'at Volume' quite often while the folks were away. Once I played the Beatles 'Dear Prudence' over and over just to hear (and feel) that wonderful bass line.
I used to have a number of friends come over to the house and they always loved to hear the music. We would play all kinds of contemporary music. At that time it was Doobie Bros, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Beatles, Rolling Stones. I remember one time we were all sitting on the sofa, (under the influence of something I'd be sure) Led Zep playing (Kashmir?) at a moderate volume, and watching cartoons. We were zoning away when suddenly everybody said at the same time "DID YOU SEE THAT?" - the music and the cartoon had been in synch for quite some time and it got to the point where we all returned from our inspired leave of absence to realize it...
My mother used to listen to Mancini's 'Breakfast at Tiffani's' quite often- I still love that music. What a big enveloping sound carressing and massaging the whole body. You could feel the magnificent presence deep in your chest, even at lower volumes. Moon River and Something for Cat were favorites. The big meandering bassline and smooth airy strings along with the sharp horns and jassy percussion. Wonderful. I have just recently achieved that similar audio nirvana with my own system.
One time, a few of us were at a guys house, down in his basement bedroom. He put on Peter Frampton's new album and played 'Do you Feel like we do?' The song was OK, the system was marginal. He kept saying 'check out that bassline!' I guess it was there, but I couldn't really feel it. I pretended to be enthused.
Some weeks later he stopped by our house for the first time. I put on something... it may have been Chicago's 'I'm a Man'. If you know that song, it starts off with this immense bass rift and then hits huge percussion. I guess I'm a little mean-heheh- I turned it up and let 'er rip. He literally fell back in his seat when those Voice of the Theatre's cleared their throats. I think it may have been 'a hi-fi memory' in the making!
We all must have so many musical memories from the past. They are all unique and special. The joy is in passing new memories to the next generation.
Some of you might be grizzled enough to remember what it was like to be in the service in the 60s, stuck in the sticks, where AFVN or AFKN provided brief relief from the green tedium and holyshitijust mightdie blues. A lot of us purchased our first sets of gear either through the PX or while on RR in Japan, Bangkok or HK. For me it was a 75wpc Kenwood receiver, Sony reel-reel, Dual 1249 (Shure) and Pioneer speakers - all of which I shipped home. There were already three systems in our hooch. There were a lot of Temps, Smokey, CSN, LZ, Lee Michaels, and the usual suspects spinning on the turntables, sometimes in direct competition with each other. Don't have a lot of great memories of my tours but I hazily remember many nights listening to one album after another with my friends. If I hear 'Cloud Nine' it immediately brings to mind those moments we shared a long time ago.
If you would allow me, my recollections are not only of my introduction to audio/hi-fi music, but also my most significant experiences and memories along this great way!!
When I was a young boy, living in Brooklyn, my dad had a great collection of music. Mostly opera and symphonic pieces. He also had some Caruso on 78's! My memories were of the excitement I had listening to the thunderous climaxes to symphonic pieces like Schererazade, or Beethoven's 5th. The music was played on a Strumberg-Carlson console (first a half model and the a floor model. When I was old enough I started buying my own musics which was mainly 45's doo-wop (Dion & the Belmonts)!!!
I must have been 14 years old and working for my uncle in NYC during the summer when I was asked (assigned) to go to Hines & Bolet (forgive me if the spelling if wrong or even the name) an appliance store. The year was approx 1962.
When I walked in the store I heard this magnificent sound coming from somewhere! It engulfed the entire first floor where I was. I looked around and there it was.....I believe it was an original AR-1 speaker. To this day the feeling I got when I heard that sound is still a moment for me to pause!! I was then determined to "get" that sound.
Many years later (1975??) I was invited over a friends home to hear......the famous, fabulous, legendary ....Infinity Servo Static 1-A's!!!!! Yes a working pair of 1-A's. That night we heard record album after record album...and my mouth remained opened with my jaw 2 inches from the floor. Ahhhhh, memories. I am sure that if I were to hear that system again today it would lave a bit to be desires and not rival my system of today.......but to capture the youth of my experience that day will never be forgotten and still my search.
I am happy to say that I am still quite young (young enough) to get excited by great sound (and a lovely woman) both real (the NY Philharmonic) and re-produced (not the woman) Try to listen to the IRS/1-D's or the watt puppy 7's, pipedreams, VR-5's (and 7's I suspect), and many more!!!!! The memories and there waiting to be made!!!!
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.