When someone listens to your system for the first time.

 I recently had  a 30 something friend of mine, I'm 64, stop in for a bit and sit in my listening chair.  He is a musician and had never heard my system.  Decided to play him Sultans of Swing on my turntable. He was awe struck. Look of amazement on his face. he said he had heard the song countless times, but now knew he had never really heard it. He talked about the clarity, how wonderful the cymbals sounded, how awesome the bass was (thanks to the new subwoofers I bought). I played him a few more things, some Tony Rice, to hear some acoustic instruments.  He couldn't get over the soundstage and imaging. He said he knew why I sat in that chair.  He said he wants to come back, there are tons of songs he wants to now hear on my system.  I listen to music just about every night.  I enjoy my system, but sometimes get caught up in listening to the gear, wondering if I should change something.  Nature of the hobby. So nice to get a new perspective.  Reminder to stop over thinking and enjoy the music. 
I love to put something on that starts quiet then explodes like the beginning of The Wall. The look on their face is priceless. 

I look at the hobby a little differently. I view it from a strategic planning angle. I know where the weaknesses are and always have a plan of attack given the equipment available at any given moment which can change as new equipment becomes available. It never effects my enjoyment of listening to music. 
“ … too many details“
" Reminder to stop over thinking and enjoy the music" +1. Enjoy the music
He couldn’t get over the soundstage and imaging. He said he knew why I sat in that chair. He said he wants to come back, there are tons of songs he wants to now hear on my system.

Rick three weeks from now.😉
I'm 64 now and I'm sure I can't hear as well as I did at 30.  I still really enjoy my system but know that younger ears could enjoy it more.

Care to list the main components that created such a reaction?

thanks for sharing. 

I played my system for my sons college friend and his other college friend. Three guys under 22 years old stayed glued to their seats for 3 hours and one of them jumped up every time he heard something new in the music. That was quite a rush to see someone react like that.
I'm in my late 30s and have played my system for close friends in their 60s with similar results. It's great to share this hobbie with people of any age.
I like the sentiment here but I’ve also had the opposite experience. My wife and stepson “don’t hear it.” Others do. It’s like you have the gene or you don’t. It makes the enjoyment a little more solitary than I like.
Reactions like, this is a different recording, this is live, and eyes following the performance are good to see. No worries for sweet spot too.
If you go a few days without listening to your system,
a new enhanced appreciation can be your reward.
"Reminder to stop over thinking and enjoy the music" +1. Enjoy the music

Isn't that what everyone with a mediocre system says they're doing?

I've had both experiences - it depends on their priorities.  I have friends who don't blink at buying expensive cars, quilting machines, watches and jewelry but balk at spending more than 100 dollars for something else.  I've gotten "WOW! That sounds really good" to "It sounds OK - my Bose stereo sounds pretty good too" to "I just want to listen to music without all the bells and whistles".  People who grew up with music as more a part of their lives than just turning on a radio while they worked around the house or in their car are more likely to appreciate a good system.  My wife saw many bands in her younger years and will remark how good my system sounds (it's the best I've ever had but not stellar by any account) but my daughter shows absolutely no interest beyond her iPhone and earbuds.
Very few have heard my set up. Of the ones that have, one person, after hearing my ESL-57's, has been pining over a pair ever since. Had a mono pressing of Ben Websters "Soulville" playing as he sat down in the chair. He couldn't believe the 3d effect coming from a mono pressing. He is now obsessed w these speakers. This from someone who has a pair of Tannoy Canterbury's and a SOTA vacuum platter TT. He is not uninitiated in this. Another friend, listen to Dire Straits "Ride Across The River", while listening to my Cornwalls commented that it was the first time he heard the "wood" in the percussion section. He is also running a proper set up. LS50's, Rega 6, Bluesound streamer etc. But I think his reaction has to do with speaker placement. His set up is not in a good room, and limited with how it can be set up, so not working at it's best.

Love to play my Maggies for those who have never heard them.

Love to watch their eyes--kind of reminds me of my early days teaching school when a student finally connects with the information.

Great feeling in both situations!

One friend asked...
"so how many speakers do you have in this system now?"

"just the two" - I replied

Then he got up and looked behind my system - just to see for himself

Every time I sit down and listen to my reference system that is now three years old I get a little depressed. I start thinking about the last 50 years that I did not have my system set up right. I think about how I was siting off axes. I think of the time I had my speakers hanging from the ceiling as there was nowhere else to put them, snd on and on. Today I can listen to old music that I hardly recognize from listening to all those years which is a nice experience but I keep going back to all the time I missed out. In the end I have always enjoyed the music and always will but now enjoying it even more. Know exactly what that 30 year old experienced as I do myself over and over.
If you go a few days without listening to your system,
a new enhanced appreciation can be your reward.

What is your system?
I am amazed every time I turn on the system, the music comes out fluid, the entire wall behind the speakers seems not to be there, and the speakers they look like knick-knacks but despite this they allow me to recognize every single instrument placed in the space in front of me and the holographic image that comes out of it is amazing.The chain has many years behind it it has only been necessary to do more fine tuning over time.The few passionate people who have had the opportunity to listen were pleasantly surprised, they are honest people in their opinions.
Half of the people posting about their system on this page don't have their system listed. That always amazes me. Please share your systems, it's the only way to know you a little. The rest is just words.
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The first comment comes before listening. It's about the quality of silence in the room.
Similar experience to pennpencil with my wife not being impressed. As an experiment I placed an Amazon Echo (1st gen) between the speakers and on top of my credenza. Switched between the two channel system and the Echo for roughly half an hour.

She concluded there wasn’t too much of a difference…

Hell, maybe she’s right. Or maybe it was strategic. Candidly, I’d lie if I said I didn’t critically listen to the Echo for a week afterwards to try and understand.

terry91,553 posts07-24-2021 8:15amThe first comment comes before listening. It's about the quality of silence in the room.
What silencer are you currently running?
Will it destroy my neighbor's a) mower b) dog? Preferably anonymously, but not stuck on that. TIA
I love it when a plan comes together. 
My favorite reactions are:

"Where is the sound in the middle coming from?"

"Does sound come from the turntable too?"

"Wow it sounds they're in the room right in front of us "

And my personal favorite is when I play them Henry Mancini's theme from the Pink Panther at a decent volume and watch them jump out of their seat from the unexpected horn blast at 2:05.

A close second is queuing up The Fairfield Fours' These Bones from the first note sung by the bass singer, that usually gets them to jump and then mouths open as the rest of the quartet joins in.

Gets them every time

"Is there a speaker in the middle, that I just can't see?"

I love it when I hear that comment.

"I thought I knew that album so well.  I have never heard some of that music before now"

Another favorite comment.

I wish that my wife cared about good hi-fi.  She typically leaves the room when I play my system.  What a shame, for both of us.
@rushfan71 good sum up 👍 it’s always the imaging that impresses people the most. Most expect it to be “all about the bass” but it’s actually the imaging - plus the fact that the vinyl doesn’t crackle.
baylinor, my system is listed.

pennpencil, you need 8 foot loudspeakers. That will always get them going especially the wife;-)
I am very lucky - my wife loves the hifi and I also have my own dedicated room that is sound proofed


I've looked all over to post my system but it seems like completing a Rubik's cube is easier than finding the link.

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My Dad listened to “Take Five”
said a few choice words, then asked about the amazing centre speaker…
….which is a gas fireplace :)
you never really know what your car can do until you turn it over to Hurley Haywood…..impressing the kid next door, meh.

Find a sensei or two…….if you are lucky they won’t be a sunshine pump….
"wow....that sounds really good".....end quote. 
Imaging. Many years ago before the screen there was a TV, with a thick blanket draped over it for music. A friend asked how many speakers? Two. No, really. How many? Two. 

What about the one in the middle? "That's a TV. The blanket is just to stop reflections."  https://theanalogdept.com/c_miller.htm

When I go to get the next thing to play he gets up, practically runs to the TV and looks under the blanket. What are you doing? "I was sure there was a speaker in there." 
vinylshadow- Go to the very top of the page. Mouse over your name to make a drop-down menu appear. Click Profile. From the menu bar at the top of the page click Create System. 

It is a bit cumbersome. Don't forget to click Save!
Listeners say, "Wow!  So clear!" 
Listerners say, "Wow! So dark!"
Thanks for the posting a system instructions MC.
@Builder, I think it’s mostly the 21KW exponential noise floor. It’ll handle a D7 Cat, not sure about the dog.

But the Quietrock 545 and the exact dimensions may help a little. For exact dimensions, down to the nearest inch, go to the the tables published by the School of Acoustics at the University of Salford.
I listen to my system "like a first time" when I swap cartridges or tonearms, or both :))

I feel the same when I swap phono stages or amps, or switch between 2 pair of speakers.
The first question is: ''what are those''? pointing to my speakers.
The second remark is : ''I have never heard such 'sound' before''. 
Reactions I have had are:
Wow you don't have a subwoofer?
I hear everything! 
Never heard so much detail.
Your room is actually treated.
One didn't really compliment but stayed 4 hours none the less.
They ask me What are those speakers? They show a lot of interest in them. A few were not that impressed.
I'm 59 years old and this has been my main hobby for 40 years. I have slowly built a system that is the most I can absolutely afford. I know there's better equipment and better rooms but I'm happy. Below is my system for people that have asked the responders.

1.Marantz SA-10 SACD player.

Acoustic Signiture Final Tool TT modded with with a platter containing 24 brass and rubber silencers to negate the ringing of the aluminum platter. Two new motors enclosed in a quieter housing with a new type of belt. The tonearm is a Graham 2.2 with an interchangeable ceramic tone arm.

The cartridge is an Ortofon Cadenza Bronze re tipped by Soundsmith. I also have an Ortofon 2m Black, a Dynavector 20X2, and a Shure M97xe with a Jico SAS stylus.

2.Acoustech PH1 P phono preamp.

3.Bryston 17b 3 preamp.

4.Bryston 14b 3 amp.

Cassette decks.

5.Nakamichi Dragon.

6.Tandberg 3914a not shown

7. Nakamichi 700II not shown.

8. Sony WM D6C

8.JVC TD 711.

9.PS Audio P1000 power regenerater.

10.OHM Acoustics Walsh 5000 speakers.


1. Grado PS 500 with upgraded pads with Ear Zonk premium 15 ft extension cable .

2. Grado SR 60 with modded pads and mahogany pucks on the outside.

3. Audio Technica ATH-M50X.


1. Kimber Kable silver phone cable.

2. Pangea interconnects.

3. Kimber 12tc 24 strand AWG 8 ga speaker cable.

4. PS Audio power cables.


1. Record Doctor vacuum record cleaner.

2. 19 Per Madsen record storage units and 8 stained apple crates.

3. 2 VPI Magic Bricks

4. Aircom fan on top of the amp.

5. Maple slabs under TT, SACD player and phone preamp.

6. Extra ductwork to cool the room.

7.Billy Bags tandom audio rack.

8. 4 ATX 24"x 48" acoustic dampers.

8. 3 ATX corner bass traps.

@icudoc, That's it, I need a fireplace between my speakers. 

If I could convince one person there was a speaker on the bottom of my turntable motor (until they approached it for a closer listen),
I know someone will fall for the ole' "speaker in the fireplace"
I had two people over the other day. As soon as I fired the system up they started laughing. I asked what was so funny and they said nothing. You see a good system can bring out the best in people.
A lot of my younger friends grew up listening to mp3's and music on YouTube with generic earbuds or computer speakers, etc. When they hear an actual stereo system they're very impressed. 

My friends always ask, "how is that possible".  Always because the room and the speakers disappear.   
I’ve put together a system to present acoustic music at its best, and I like it. But when my brother came over and wanted to hear The Rolling Stones, I knew he was about to be underwhelmed. “I want to feel a punch in my chest,” he says, something my Magnepan .7s just don’t do. To each his own. I want the timbre to be just right on orchestral instruments, what I hear at live performances.