what made you get into high end gear.

im pretty sure most if not all of us here have been music lovers & system owners off & on our entire lives so the love of good music isnt really what im lookin for.

what really got me thinking about this was i was lookin at the virtual systems a while back when i read where another member gave a reason why he got into high end gear & it floored me,i swear what this guy wrote coulda been a page from my life.

i guess what im askin is was there a special moment or a certian peice of gear that caused you to take the leap from store bought systems into the world of high end gear.

i'll wait to post my reasons as i dont want to make the thread take a certian course.

Good post. For me it was when I had some Sony speakers (floorstanders), and I thought the sound was thin and pathetic. I didn't know there was a high end audio world. I did a web search and after fumbling around there was a website (it was some member address) called Big Matt's Home Theater. He gave a description on what was good audio and what was not. He also gave a primer on Bose crap.

The rest is history, including the website. I looked it up a couple of years later, and it was a porn link.
I simply stumbled across a high end stereo shop after drooling over equipment at Best Buy and Circuit City (about 10 years ago). I couldn't believe that there was stuff out there so impressive. I was hooked. The dealer I stumbled upon had a trade up policy. It allowed a then young teenager get into high end gradually. It wasn't until about 5 years ago that I came across audiogon and things kind of exploded. No help from parents, or friends, all things audio I just kind of learned on my own. None of my family members, and only a few friends have any interest in high end audio, so I was a loner until I found audiogon. 10 years later, and about 30 pairs of speakers in the past two years alone, I don't see any end in sight.
My first sound system was a one box phonograph record changer with a small speaker in the front covered with a grill, late 50's. I thought it was great then my parents got a Stromberg=Carlson multiplex stereo cabinet with phonograph and tuner and the sound was so superior to anything I had heard, even if all in one cabinet, a very nice cabinet though. That I got hooked. For them it was probably more functional for me the start of a long and continuing road, that at one point had me become an electronic technician so I could understand just what those specs meant.
All the gorgeous babes!

That is a good post. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I saw my first piece of McIntosh gear, I think it was either a C28 or 6100. My dad was into / still is, into good gear, back in the day, ( Sony Reel to Reel, B & O speakers,) he would have listening parties, breakin out the booze... that sort of thing. I've been hooked ever since really. And lets face it, the nicer stuff, makes you feel good, maybe as if you've accomplished something, and also as an accomplishment marker.

Thanks for the ad. By the way, take a look at my ads I have for sale please. AKOutback
I grew up in a small Bronx apartment from the late 50's to the late 60's. My Dad took an interest in audio in the early 50's and worked at Harvey Radio in Manhatten where he was able to eventually afford to bring home Hi end gear from McIntosh, Marantz,Fisher and Studer. His first table was an older Thorens TD 121..then eventually 124 and finally a 125 with a Shure Cart and an SME III arm. This was hot stuff back then!

I remember his first speaker was an "ahead of its time" Hybrid KLH Model 1 Bass cabinet with Janszen 131 Electrostats in the upper compartment..Just 1 played in mono though as "stereo" had not quite caught on as yet. Driven with a Fisher pre amp and one lone Mc60! Eventually he got the second speaker and second amp for stereo afew years later....

I suppose you can say that I remember all this quite well even as a kid and so came by this hobby quite honestly. I still cant beleive its been the better part of 40+ years later and to think that my Dad who has since retired still is an avid audiophile as well as a great dad! I also cant believe he still kept his Model 1 KLH bass cabinets since back then( after selling the Janszens back in the 70's)...and has just recently pulled them out to use after finding some later model Janszens 131's he won on Ebay!..Who would have thought?

Thats my story of how this all started for me..the rest was history I guess and like most of the rest of us Phools, Ive been all over the map with changing systems since. ;) The really interesting part of this is how much choice we have now(and also how much confusion) about so many different components. Back in the day..it was Mac, Marantz and Fisher, Peter Walker bringing his now famous Quads to market( with some reliablility issues of course! ;) KLH and later AR for truly Hi End and if you took home any of those brands...you were set and the envy of any Audiophile who was worth his salt.! FWIW..Wharfedale was making some truly excellent drivers back in the early going..but really lacked a good cabinet to put them in!
One day(some 20-years ago) I took my car into the shop to be service. While waiting for the shuttle service to come by I meet a girl who was also waiting for the shuttle to take her to her place of employment. Anyway, we both got into the shuttle van and on our way we started conversing, during this time I mentioned something concerning music. At this time she realized that I was really into music, then she asked me if I ever heard of Sterophile magazine. Told her I have never heard of a magazine called stereophile. Then she told me if I would like for her to sent me a copy of stereophile, she told me that she was the secretary for stereophile. Couple of weeks later the magazine came in the mail as she promise to sent me. Well, I should have never meet her, now I am still hook after all this years. Be careful who you talk to.
mental illness
this damn site!

I believe that is Christy Canyon leaning against that Klipschorn. Am I wrong?

I love classic gear:)
Yeah, you're right Dan, that's her. Christy never told me she was into high end audio, heheh. She was was really young in this photo.
The sound of a KLH Model Eight receiver system.....started it all. (I got turned on to the sound of tubes)

Now I have a McIntosh MC275 amp, C22 pre-amp, MR71 tuner, Rega Planet 2K, Music Hall MMF-7 & Vandersteen 3a Sigs.

In my youth, I did have a pair of Ohm L speakers... Did they count as "high end" ??
I don't think I am into high-end gear: every time I upgrade something someone on these boards tells me how good that piece of equipment is but that compared to brand X it is small beer.

I pride myself in being and remaining mid-fi.
A buddy built some speakers that are triangle shaped with Electrovoice drivers, a 12" woofer and a midrange and tweeter horn. They are about 3' across and play LOUD. This was in about 1975 and my ears were pretty much 'painted on' (useless) but Billy Cobham's Spectrum album sounded damn good, very vibrant and dynamic. We also used to go over to his buddy's house that had stacked Advents and Crown amps "you know those Crown amps have no distortion" I can still remember my friend Kirk saying. With a chuckle I can look back and fondly remember those times, four of us crammed onto the sofa on a Friday night. Of course no substance abuse, we were under age...

Yes we were a bunch of dorks but the HI FI floated my boat and I started reading TAS shortly after (issue 9) and bought Maggie MG1, Audio Research SP6A and Audio Research D52 and some cheap turntable with lamp cord for wire - of course.

The rest is history, I am on the 3rd time having really been into audio as a hobby and maybe even learned a few things! I certainly have made a few friends and Audiogon has been a great place to share thoughts and information.


My girlfriend forced me into hi fi.
hearing steppenwolf 'monster' on an early 70's marantz receiver & gerrard(?)turntable in my buddy's bedroom w/what I'm now guessing were sansui speakers(?), you know the ones w/the diagonal wood lattice grills. LP's were 3.99 but we mostly bought the 99 cent cut-outs from the Murphy's or Woolworth's dime stores. great memories flooding back, thanks for the thread joe.
marco,great pic man,i swear cristy canyon had the sweetest set of funbags on the planet back in the 80's.


Tried to sell Classe Audio some semiconductors, met David Reich. Great guy, top notch designer. Damn him!
Helping my dad assemble his first stereo system in the late 60s did it. It consisted of a Scott 15 watt solid-state receiver, Scott 3-way floor standing speakers, and a top of the line Garrard idler wheel changer with Pickering cartridge. I remember its arrival like it was yesterday. I listened to every conceivable kind of music, and learned how to get the best sound out of the rig at a very early age. I absolutely loved it. I was hooked on audio, and recorded music from that time forward.

I still have the Scott speakers that operate as the mains in a home theater system, and they are more than adequate in that role. Makes me wonder how far we've really come in the intervening decades.
After staring at Nrchy's red and blue pot on his 'system' picture I think I just became mentally ill, but I don't feel that much different.
Hey, that pic is gone! I guess AA took it down. Damn!
Twenty four years ago a Linn dealer demonstrated how much impact turntables have on your system's sound! At 18 I could clearly hear the differnce. No sells job needed. Been on this journey ever since...
Ever since I realized I could have sound in my own room as a teenager I've realized that I could have something that sounded better. Good sound was probably the first "good taste" I naturally came across - the first thing I realized that I was interested in improving that nobody around seemed to care about. I haven't always been able to pursue it, but I've always wanted better audio.
I wasn't convinced before, but after seeing that shot of Christy, I'm certain that we made the right decision to buy a pair of Klipschorns.
1971 - I was a freshman at Ohio University and walked into an audio boutique on Union Street in Athens Ohio. Anyone else out there remember that store? The owner had a Beethoven piano concerto playing on some JBL L100's. First time I ever heard a Beethoven piano concerto, and the first time I ever heard what decent equipment could sound like. I walked in on a whim, and pretty much walked out with a whole new perspective on music and a lifetime hobby. I had no money, and the salesman knew it, but he engaged me in a conversation about the music and the equipment anyway. I guess he saw I was enthralled by what I was hearing. Ironically, I never spent a dime in his store, and never got those JBL's I wanted so badly. That was a long time ago. My love for Beethoven hasn’t changed, nor has the great people with whom I share this hobby. Happily, the equipment has changed, and all for the better. It’s been a while since I thought about that day. Thanks for the memory!
no wonder im still single!
What do you do when you move from the big city to some small northern town, and you don't drink? I thought that I would buy a matching brand Japanese stereo system and be happy. Guess what? I found out that there are actually audio manufacturers in North America! Oh,oh. 17 years later, I've moved back to the big city, but I'm posting on Audiogon. Some addictions are hard to break.
Hey, that pic is gone! I guess AA took it down. Damn!

Wouldn't want to deprive all you devoted audiophiles the view of such a fine pair of horns just because AA is so up tight about it.

The store was Vere Smith Audio. I worked for the Marietta store in college.
Hey Marco, that reminded me that I need a new rack, thanks!
when i was a boy i can remember walkin into a neighborhood high end dealer "stereo center" & feeling like i was inside frankenstien's laboratory with all the tubes & glowing meter's on the gear,damm was that exciting as hell,the salesmen knew i was just a little kid & i couldnt buy anything but they still indulged me & answered my questions & let me look around.

once i was a man & started a family & had a few bucks to spend i bought alot of different store bought systems & even
went thru a stint where i sought out vintage gear,i gotta admit i was pretty happy with the sound from my old hk citation tube gear,i searched all the newspapers & pawnshops looking for vintage hk tube gear & every so often i would get lucky & find a peice.

i had found some speakers listed on ebay that were in my state & i wanted them pretty bad,they were just an old pair of ar9's but i always remembered that speaker from the dealer visits in my youth so i bought them,it just so happened that the guy sellin the speakers was a hifi dealer & they were at his shop so i decided to take one of my sons (joseph)with me so he could look at all the cool gear while i picked up my speakers.

we looked all around the store & at all the gear but my sons eye's stayed glued to a certian amp that was softly playing back ground music,he was hypnotized by the way the meters danced & he kept going back to that rig & watching that amp,i had to coax him away from the rig to even leave the store,i could tell he was hooked,ever since that day i had one hell of a time keepin little joe's hands off my gear,man did he love to listen to music with me.

then one day i lost my son joseph due to a tragic accident & ever after that day i couldnt sit still for a second,either i had to work as much as i could to keep from going nuts or just do anything but listening to music was out of the question as that was somthing we shared together,one day while i was out riding around on the harley trying to figure things out(joe's birthday) i passed the hifi shop where me & my son picked up the speakers from ebay so i pulled in.

so now im just wandering around this store remembering things when i spotted the mcintosh amp that my son had loved so much,i couldnt believe they still had it so i bought it on the spot & the rest is history.

since then music & the love of all things mcintosh have been a big part of my life giving me the chance to reflect & remember,years have past now & my love for high end gear & music has grown but whats never changed is the memories of 2 little boys 30 years apart looking at their first real hifi rig.


What a wonderful memory to have and story to tell. You’ve kind of choked me up because that is what my 2 boys and I do now. It makes me appreciate these “field trips” a little bit more.

Thank you, and I am terribly sorry for you loss.

I have posted this here before, but since you asked...
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 that he was a gentleman) 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.

I was in Milwaukee for the weekend about 30 years after the original event and decided to stop by the ol' stomping grounds. My grade school was still there as was most of the assorted debris. Even then it was a collecting point for vagrants!

I rounded the corner where I had met the friendly stranger and there was a big black car up on blocks. The hood had long since been pried up and the motor was stripped. The windows were busted out, and Wisconsin winters had obviously taken their toll on the body.

"What's the deal with that car?" I asked one of the debris lounging against the door of a Chinese restaurant.
"Weirdest thing..." the man began and then trailed of starring into space.
"Yeah." I prompted
"Oh, uhm, the car was just there one day. Big old cracker sittin' in back. Said he was waitin' for someone. Just sat there, for years. Said some guy was comin' back. Maybe he died or sumthin' cuz the cars been sittin' there for a long time, but he ain't been around for... years, I guess."
With that the old vagrant belched, soiled himself and wandered off. I thought he left just in time.
I felt kinda bad. All that time the gentleman waited for his money. I don't even have any of that stuff anymore. I thought about bringing the old California Audio Labs Icon Mk II down and leaving it in his car, but I knew romantic notions like that serve no real purpose.
I closed the hood of the car and headed back to my hotel, where by the way Oprah was speaking to the local NAACP chapter. Not a parking space in sight. Poetic Justice? You decide!
Oh Mothers,
Tell your children
Not to do what I have done...
Music! Which should be first and most important in this hobby. I think alot of people forget that.
I had sold a pair of big JBL 4343 Speakers to a high end dealer in VA. back in the early 80's.He listened to them first in my apartment with my modest Marantz 4400 Receiver
driving them and stated our Magnaplaners image better then these big boys ,come by at our stereo shop and have a little listen.
When I walked into the main show room they were playing Contus Domious LP on a Linn Table with big Maggies, an ARC Tube Preamp,with an ARC AMP.I can't remember the model number too many years ago,BUT that sound absolutely blew my mind.For the first time I heard this huge wrap around sound stage,and this quality of sound reproduction I thought you could only hear at a live symphony concert.I was permanently hooked from that day forward.I was an advent subscriber at that time to the Audiomart with Walt and Lennice.Walt helped me get my first high end speaker Acoustat Model 4's.I then purchased an ARC SP6B,and used a Hafler DH200 Amp which was shortly after modified with Wonder Caps and bigger power supply.I've gone thru much gear since then,and still enjoy this hobby greatly.
David berry,thanks for the kind words,i wouldnt wish what happened to my family on my worst enemy,you might be suprised later in life as to how your trips with your sons to the hifi shop help shape them as men, cherish your time with them beacuse theres nothing better,memories are great.

my father didnt really care for audio his passion was always harley davidson motor cycles,when i turned 16 years old my father bought me my 1st harley & ever since then ive been hooked,after owning over 20 different hd's in my life the best one ive ever had was the old basket case shovel head that pop's bought me.

its nice when familys share the same interests,having fun with your family is important.

Bigjoe, great story...sorry for your loss, nrchy, sorry I read your story,wasting my time was my loss