Arnie Nudell and his Servo Statik 1 at CES.
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Probably 25 years ago or so, at a high-end shop I checked out while I was visiting Nashville. They had a Wilson WATT/Puppy/WHOW setup, driven by Audio Research tube gear.
They also had some Vandersteen 2Ce's. I don't remember what was driving those. It may have been Jadis. I remember looking at Jadis equipment (the Defy line, I believe, at the time). I just don't remember if that's what was hooked up to the Vandy's.
I heard why the Wilsons were considered better. But I liked the Vandy's more.
First off, I have to say I've always preferred tone quality and imaging over ear-bleed treble and kick-me-in-the-guts bass. In any case, I've been gobsmacked several times during the decades of my audio-nut existence. AR-3's and then Tannoys in the 1960's. Magnaplaners had me enthralled at the store...until I deigned to move my head a fraction of an inch to tell the salesman how good they were. Quads killed me with their imaging and string tone but they made the Maggies seem omni-directional. No bass, either. Gobsmacking led to a purchase when I bought a pair of KEF Corellis. String tone! The Corellis' penchant for blowing tweeters, though, eventually got me to purchase a set of Celestion SL-600's. Yes, I killed a couple of those tweeters, too, but the imaging and cleanliness of the sound kept 'em around for a dozen years. Now I'm just some dumb old audiophile, loving the heck out of my NOLA Boxers.
Late 70’s when my Dad brought home Kef 105.2 reference speakers (sometimes we called them "the robots"), along with a Carver cube amp and Carver C-4000 pre-amp with "sonic holography."
It was astoundingly huge, rich, dimensional sound. Blew out minds, and most of my friends would love to play records on our set up.
That definitely got me used to impressive hi-fi, and put the bug in me, for better or worse.
The next "whoah" moment was years later when a friend got the hi-fi bug and bought a pair of used Quad ESL 63s and a Dynaco ST-70 tube amp.When he said "come and listen to this" and I did, it blew me away. Never heard sound quite like that. That dragged me back in to hi-fi, and I ended up buying ESL 63s, with a CJ MV55 tube amp, and later added Gradient Subs.
I've heard many mega dollar great systems over 35 years. Probably Dynaudio Evidence Temptations and Wisdom Audio Adrenalines gave me my first taste of "next level" speakers over 20 years ago.
I'm documenting now many of the great systems I encounter via my Youtube channel. Feel free to check out some of the latest I've heard...including the MBL Extremes and YG Sonia 2.3.
I believe it was in 1979 when I visited a local hifi-shop with my brother and Dad, and they played the newly released Pink Floyd album 'The Wall' with "Another Brick In The Wall" (Part 2) on what was probably a pair of Yamaha FX-3 speakers (w/15" woofer), also newly released at that time. I was quite an exhilarating and physical experience that reverberated the whole room and our bodies.
I can't remember the name of the shop in Pittsburgh but it was back in the early 80s, KEF 104/2s w/KUBE. I couldn't believe how good they sounded. As a kid I couldn't afford them but over the years I've always wanted a pair. I finally picked up a minty/reconditioned pair about two years ago, 35ish years from when I first heard them. I know there's better out there but for the $400ish I paid for these, they sure put a big smile on my face. I wish KEF would remake them in some sort of anniversary edition.
freshman hs, I think. First time I ditched the afternoon classes and got high with the ‘cool kids’ it was a clock radio and baba o’reilley had just come out and was playing. I’ve been chasing that magic ever since and I gotta say at this point I think smokin weed would be cheaper than all the equipment.
I became hooked on audio during the early seventies at college, smoking pot and listening to friends rigs. I’m sure many were the big Advents. Later around 1978 I auditioned a number of speakers at Moe’s Sight and Sound in Casper, Wyoming. Can’t remember what they all were. I purchased JBL 65s and a McIntosh MA 6100 integrated. Still using both in a second and third system. They have traveled with me to Alaska, Dallas, China and back. What a great ride it has been.
For me it was KLH 9s in a warehouse room in the building with a book store in Anniston, Alabama in 1973. My wife and I visited the store, and I mentioned to the owner that I was an audiophile, and I wished he sold LPs. He said no LPs, but he did have a killer stereo in the back room. The electrostats were powered by McIntosh. The souirce was a turntable. The sound was spell binding.
I'm also going to throw in the *second* time I heard great sounding speakers. It was at Hawkeye Audio in Iowa City in 1997 or 98. The speakers were JMLab (as they were still known, then) Spectral 913's, driven by a CJ MOSFET amp and BAT front end.
It was a religious experience. It really was. I went back and back and back, listening to those things for hours. About 6 months later, after I had moved to another state and made a little money, I called them up and had that very same pair shipped to me.
I still have them. They're in storage, but I still have them.
CLS - ARC Classic150/SP11 (transparency oh yeah)
Seeto, Audio Excellence (Drumoyne)
on other end of spectrum...
Duntech Sovereigns - Big Krells (talk about thump in da’ chest bass!)
Len Wallis, Lane Cove
Being a Uni student those years couldn’t afford those big boys toys. However, later on managed to scrimp and save some, ended myself buying from Joe, Audio Connection, quite a nice sounding set-up...
Magnepan MGIIIa - VTL Ultimate pre, VTL225 / Krell KSA80.. Sony ES cdp and Nak Dragon cassete deck, with some nice Cardas Hexlink cabling.. TaraLabs was just starting out w/their Space&Time solid copper line!
^These got me through till graduation. Oh miss those years when so called high end was still relatively affordable vs today’s standard!