Your First Hi-Fi Hankering?

Everybody remember the first time as a teenager you fell in love with a stereo? The first system that you really wanted badly? What was it? Did you buy it?

Don't laugh, but mine was a 55wpc Harman Kardon Receiver, Klipsch Fortes and a Dennon turntable. I had to settle for a Pioneer SX-650, Technics turntable (Empire Cartridge?) and a pair of crap house brand speakers called ECI.

This was in Scottsdale, AZ in the mid-late 70's. My dream system was at a place called Bill's Sight and Sound at Los Arcos Mall & bought the other stuff at a place called Custom Hi-Fi.
Alpine Cd Head Unit,
Alpine Coaxials
& Bazooka Bass Tube

to replace a Pep Boys CDP and factory and rear-mounted 6x9s in an 1985 Ford Ranger, my first car. I bought and had the stuff intstalled with no expectations and was blown away the night I picked it up the truck. I remember well the thrill of sound right after I turned the key, and now I am just chasing the dragon ;)
Don't know any models, but it was some top-of-the-range Akai (sorry....) stereo, with loads and loads of buttons and lights and some huge fourway speakers. And no, I didn't buy it since then I couldn't afford it, and now I don't want them.....
Nakamichi Dragon tape deck, man that thing had me drooling.....
Platinum solos. I have no idea why. Might have been looking at speakers for nothing more than pocket change for all I knew. I didnt know anything about hifi particulars-still couldnt guess, but they got my attention and I started imagining what audio might be about. A good association I make with the Solos until this day is that they really did not seem to be about any sort of disignations. Nothing flowery there. It was all about simplicity and solid performance.
In the mid 70's I was about 15 yrs. old, I loved those Marantz receivers with the script type and purple-blue lights..
I remember hearing the big JBL L-200's about that time.. so powerful they were scary.
Technics SATX-50 reciever. While i was in the military.
Big analog power meters on the front, AC3 ready, MSRP 650.00, which was a small fortune to me at the time.

It was thier flagship model at the time, i save and save up and finally bought it.

That was the first of audio-crack for me, and the beginning of a long audio addiction
I wouldn't say there was a single moment in my hi fi audio awakening, there was a series of small ones.

As an elementary school kid in the mid '60s, my Dad would allow me access to his collection of LPs and his console record player. This is where I discovered Chet Atkins, classical music and those hi-fidelity stereo train recordings.

Around 1970 my Dad brought home a Sansui receiver, Sony reel-to-reel, KLH speakers, BSR turntable and a Magnavox 8-track. It was during this time that I started listening to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, The O'Jays and Richard Pryor.

When I got my first car in 1977, I lusted for a pair of Jensen Triaxials and a Pioneer Super Tuner. I got the Jensens, but never the Pioneer. Instead I went with a tape deck made by a company called Evadin. It was around 1979 I bought a Blaupunkt 2001 tape deck which to this day brings back fond memories.

I was walking down the street one day during the Star Wars craze of the late '70s. I heard John Williams blasting from a small store across the street, so I went to investigate. I walked into a store where a single Altech Lansing speaker was cranking the Star Wars theme. This speaker had a horn tweeter and an 18 or 24" woofer, and the proud, lone store employee, all glasses and teeth yelled, "isn't it great?!!" I thought "SH*T yeah!!!!"

In 1983 I outfitted my car with two Alpine amps and ADS 320i seprates, and a pair of subwoofers I bought from Signal Electronics. I built my first crossover to accommodate these subs. This was long before thumpin' rides. Mine was blaring John Williams.

In the mid /80s I remember drooling over the Carver "Cool Cube" 400 watt amp in the Paris Audio ads I always saw in the LA Times. I also thought the KEF 104.2s were the SH*T then as well. I also wanted one of those satin white Perreaux 22xx series amps, but I could never afford any of it on an entry level graphic designer's income.

Now I'm living the dream, but paying through the nose. And I'm happy!
A Big Ass Sansui Reciever with Radio Shack top of the Line Tower Speakers , it really was a nice step up from those department store machines everyone had at the time.
Pioneer HPM 100 speakers (about 1978). Thought they were absolutely the cat's ass, but way out of my league at about $700. Really got hit with the bug when the NAD gear came out in 1981, and still have my original 3020 integrated. Things just got worse from there....
HPM 100! Yup, I thought those were the real dea! I wanted those, an SX-1010 receiver and a Technics SL-1800 table.

I ended up with an H/K 330c instead, a Pioneer PL12DII and a pair of Genesis Model Ones... they were the ones with the green woofer surrounds and the yellow EPI-type tweeter. Does anyone remember those?

Circa 1977, while attending a trashy public junior high school and longing to escape the bickering of my parents, I would escape to the solace of my olive green bedroom.

There, I would kneel at the alter of my Soundesign "stereo" with plastic speakers, staticky volume control and jerky record changer, vigorously flicking lint off the stylus with the pad of my index finger and carefully positioning the speakers about 6 inches from my ears, in my own primitive "nearfield" set up.

Having saved $6.00 from sweating through the mowing of my neighbors lawn, I would carefully unwrap a new album, quickly skipping through the songs for a few seconds, and then resting the arm on the lead in groove, hoping desperately that the record offered more than the hit single that enticed me to part with my last dollar for the next two weeks.

This little taste of music led to my first high fi hankering, a nerdy electronics shop in a strip mall featuring what seemed like exotic separates to me at the time:

Displayed on movable shelves covered with shag carpet, I saw it for the first time:

A bronze faced, softly glowing, Technics (By Panasonic!) receiver!!

The volume control clicked and didn't fall off into my hand?! The silky tuning dial could spin like a top, and at least compared to my plastic speakers, the "Thrusters" brand speakers amazed me with their powerful bass!

I remember that moment like yesterday, leaning closely into those speakers, hypnotized even by Billy Joel's cheesey 70's crooning from the newly released Stranger.

I had crossed the rubicon -- the audio equivalent of my first hit of marijuana, before quickly seeking out the dealers to sample the more powerful and expensive stuff:

Dahlquist DQ 10's!
DCM Time Windows!
Apt Holman preamps!
The Quatre Gain cell amplifier!
Rogers LS35a's

The hankering has never ended. I write to you more than 25 years later, still thinking about upgrading my power amp......
Sony reel-to-reel with Radio Shack headphones. Graduated to a Radio Shack amplifier and Advent One speakers, then, finally, to Crown electronics with the Advents and Tecnics TT. I was in heaven! (for awhile!)
I wasn't a teenager when I fell in love with a stereo, I was 23. In fact, it wasn't until just two years ago. It was at Aurant in Salt Lake City. They had a small room with Rotel separates and b&w CDM (?) floorstanders. My then fiancee and I had stopped in to just see what the store was, and I sat there completely blown away by what I heard.

Never bought any of that equipment, but that marked the start of my need for a really good hifi system.
Pioneer HPM 100's? Nah, it was JBL-100's for me.. I remember being 15 or 16 yrs. old in the "back" room of MACE Electronics in 1976 or so hearing Supertramp "Lady" from "Crisis, What Crisis" screaming out of a pair of L-100's at what must have been 125 db. Never forgot that experience