What was your first big eye opener with regard to audio?

Hello friends,

what was the most fascinating thing you did with the compilation or optimization of your system in terms of SQ or performance, that really got your attention in either a good or bad way?

what was it that actually impressed or surprized you once it was in place?

or what DIY project was it that once done really gave your audio system a big shot in the arm SQ-wise?

maybe it was simply finding out just how much some items could cost

something always seems to take place that changes our philosophies or understandings and maybe even our approach to arranging a fine audio system.

what was your’s?


Perhaps it was buying a quality rack, platform, or maybe a pr. of amp stands?

rolling tubes? adding iso footers?

biting the bullet and bringing in a decidedly  more expensive or merely a different electronic component? DAC? Line stage? Mono blocks? Speakers?

what amazing things could be done with as little as 8wpc?

for example, my ‘eye opening’ events came two  fold. adding power line conditioning and using upscale wires/cables, or power cords.

which of these came first I’m not sure but all of them  came with a huge amount of prejudice on my part as to them doing anything positive to the quality of the sound, but indeed they did!

other things came along with nearly the impact or mind altering impact but those were the initial items that paved the way for me to keep an open mind with respect to building an audio system and preserving its synergy.

what was or has been your epiphany? your most surprising  ‘move’ in audio land?

Incrementally adding room treatments and hearing the improvement with each change.
The first jaw-dropping and unforgettable moment -- which launched my 40-plus years of audiophile adventuring -- was hearing the clock bells ringing on then-new Dark Side of the Moon at Tech Hi-Fi in Ann Arbor in 1973. I never dreamed playback of music could sound so real. Probably was on a lowly pair of EPI Model 100s.

Forty years later, the most jaw-dropping single change I ever made in my many systems was installing a direct AC line from our breaker box to new four-plug boxes in my listening room. WAY more difference than any of the many multi-thousand-dollar changes I had ever made in my various systems up until then.

And it cost just $1,200 -- would be even less in most homes.

Probably my "first" was realizing that the pre amp was the heart of any system. There is no way to tell what is going on in your system until the pre amp is of sufficient quality.But my first "Oh My Gosh" moment, was when I started trying power cords and power outlets. I couldn't believe the difference that they made.
My life changing moments:

1.) Infinity WTLC (after the Servo Static and before the EMITs, used a Walsh tweeter) , Phase linear electronics. The system that started it all, it demonstrated to me that stereos could make a 3D soundstage. Soundstage has been my overriding need ever since.

2.) Audio Research D-79b, SP-6b, Acoustat 2+2 speakers, LINN table. The first system to open my ears to what high end was truly capable of.

3.) Magnapan Tympani I speakers, Mark Levinson ML-2 and ML-1 amp/pre, Goldmund table. Perhaps the single best system I have ever heard, and I have heard the Infinity I.R.S. system at P.S.Audio. It has so weighed on my psyche, I heard it around 1981, that I have since purchased a used pair of ML-2 amplifiers. They are as great as I remember.

4.) My first single ended triode amp. My first build, it uses the 45 triode. It taught me that everything I thought I knew about hi-fi was wrong, or at least over hyped. I now have three in a tri-amped home built Altec horn system. That speaker turned out so well it caused me to buy those Levinson amps for my Sound Lab electrostatics. This system also taught me that equipment doesn’t have to be commercial to be really good.

5.) Lampizator DACs. First a Big 6, followed by a Big 7. Lampizator DACs are indeed different. All of the analog stage is tubed. My Big 7, I loved the Big 6 but I wanted DSD capability, uses an R2R ladder DAC (not a chip) for the PCM decoding, and a separate filter (not a DAC chip) for the DSD decoding. It also uses a tube rectifier and directly heated triode tubes in the output. You can roll the tubes, my preference is for the 300b. There are no chips or op-amps in the signal path. They have turned digital into my preferred source, especially DSD.
When I bought a pair of Koss ESP-9 electrostatic headphones 45 years ago (about 1974) when I was a teenager. I was driving them with my Crown DC-300! I felt like I was hearing the future of audio. Unfortunately for all of us living in the future, headphones got worse, not better. Even my Stax 009 just don’t quite have the magic and power that the Koss ESP-9 had. Or at least, I don’t think they do.

They lasted for many years, until one of the ear cushions split open and the silicon fluid oozed out. The end.