in the mid 90's my college roommate had a Luxman integrated pushing a pair of paradigm towers. I was hooked forever.
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In the early '70's I met a fellow who had a Kenwood integrated amp driving a pair of JBL L100's. Can't remember the 'table. I fell in love with audio then. I remember doodling drawings of Marantz separates, JBL's, etc. Had the bug bad.
What impressed me more was his '64 Camaro that did wheel stands.
For me it was the music, and the desire to try to reproduce it in my home; my
dad bought me my first, it was radio shack, and he got it on layaway, was
definitely NOT gear-related, was, and is, always music first. Its been a long time
since that event, but I have settled on my system now; its simple and satisfying
I'm 61 and have playing records since I was 6 or 7. We had an old Silvertone combo TT where the single speaker fit over the TT and fastened together into a carrying case....ha ha. I used to play my Mom's Brothers Four album and my older brother and sister's 45's....Chubby Checker, The Fleetwoods, Bobby Darin....and then came the Beatle's when I was 12. Later when I was 15 we still had that thing and I remember listening to Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced on that stupid rig. We were close enough to SF to get rides from our parents to the Fillmore West about that same time and owning a TT was a must, just like cell phones are now to 15 yr olds (and everyone else for that matter). We all had cheap rigs and some of the parents had cool stuff but then when we started to graduate from HS some friends joined the Navy and went on a west-pac (Japan, Phillipines, etc) and came back with all these cool Sansui's and Marantz's. That was probably when I knew that's what I wanted more than anything.....really super cool audio gear.
My uncle had a big setup and I visited he and my aunt for a week when I was about 9. Played with his reel to reel and I was hooked. From then on I would pour over the ads in the Calendar section of the Sunday LA Times, ultimately saving my money for the lowest price Transaudio gear from Pacific Stereo!
HOT women standing in front of complicated looking gear in Playboy. Frankly, this is no joke. Fortunately, spinning an LP amplified by a Marantz 8B via lamp cord into JBL 2 way horns was an incredibly startling experience to everybody who heard the system for the first time.
At first they all laughed at the sight of the listening position lounger right up to that moment when the music began and the wonder of the stereo sound stage came to life for the first time in their Peanut Gallery brains. Unfortunately, as a surf rat turning hippie there was no confusing me with the suave Playboy member type in the magazine.
All through HS I would walk by the local Olson Electronics store and, with no money in my pocket, would stare at and lust after all the cool stuff in the window. For some reason it was the headphones that I lusted after the most; especially the real big ones with the big puffy ear-pads. Finally, with enough paper route money, I bought those big puffy headphones and had my first personal stereo. I bought a headphone extension cord and plugged the cans into the family Sears "Sivertone" all-in-one and with the 'phones spread apart really wide and reaching all the way to my bedroom would blast them and USE THEM AS SPEAKERS!!!! Talk about distortion! But, man, I was in heaven listening to the sounds Joe Cocker, John Mayall and Mozart.
When I finally got some real money together I bought a Panasonic "Thrusters" system for $199. My excitement was dampened when it became obvious that although the system sounded "better" than the "Silvertone", the turntable had very audible wow. I returned the thing to the Korvettes dept. store three times before the salesman, who had no idea what I was talking about, finally insisted that I take my money back. The following year, while a freshman in college, I visited Peter McGrath's "Sound Components" in Coral Gables Fla. and heard (I will never forget it!) the system that would get me hooked once and for all: stacked Quads, Janis subs, Sequerra ribbons, Levinson electronics and Linn tt. playing Steely Dan's "The Royal Scam". Life would not be the same after that :-)
Music has some sort of hypotonic effect on me. Because of that, the better it sounds, the more "addictive" I am of it. Searching for the ultimate sound is a lifelong journey. For me the $64,000 question is, "Can one be 100% satisfied with their gear?" For me the answer is "no", as I can always find something I want to upgrade to.
I'm like a coke addict, but this is legal! :)
I remember pressing my nose up to the window at Stereo Exchange in NYC, finally (after a couple of visits) walking in and drooling at the used stuff along the front wall.
At about the same time, my sis dated a guy who worked at a high end audio dealer and invited us to his house to check out his rig. I could not tell you anything about the system (I did not like his choice of obscure classical music) except he had Dalhquist Speakers (awesome experience to have heard them back then) but what really blew my mind was his Sony tonearm (I remember clearly he said Sony) and it was under a cake cover. The arm was the most incredible thing I had ever seen. Hooked? Drugs have not had the effect audio has had on me.