Your First System

This should be good!!! Most of us have been in this expensive hobby for years now and have worked our way up to components we only dreamed of. I want to know what was your first system of separate components going back as far as you can remember. My first consisted of a Pioneer SX-680 receiver, a Technics SLD-1 turntable (I think that's the right model #), a Sharp tapedeck, and KLH floorstanding speakers. I was 16 at the time and thought I was the biggest badass on the block. Now, 20+ years later I have a ML 334, Meridian 507 CD, CJ PV10A, Canton Ergo 900 speakers, and a Transparent Power Isolator 4. I'm in the process of upgrading to a ML 390. It goes without saying the IC's and speaker cables are top notch as well. I know my system is WAAAYYYYY down the foodchain compared to what I've seen here but It would be interesting to see what everyone started out with.
Some kind of boombox, I forget what brand. I then bought a cd player but ran it through my ex-girlfriend's Onkyo reciever so I guess that doesn't really count. I guess that makes my 1st truly real system a Rega Planet, a Bryston B-60, some kind of Definitive Technology floorstanding speakers, all strung together with Vampyire wire. Pretty good for a first try, though I have to give the credit to Tom Unger at Gifted Listener Audio who sold me everything but the speakers.
A Marantz receiver, Acoustic Research speakers, Acoustic Research turntable. I don't remember what it was hooked up with or what phono cartridge I used.
1980 ... I was 15 years old,

Sansui AU-7700 integrated amp and the matching TU-7700 tuner, Bose 901 Series II and some sort of BIC turntable that I had to rebuild in electronics class. I worked washing dishes for an entire summer to pay for it. I bought it from the neighborhood rich-kid, piece by piece as I recall. I received a JVC cassette deck that same year for Christmas and somehow got my hands on a Teac reel to reel.

My first album was The Kinks "Low Budget" ... I was in heaven.

I have spent tens of thousands on hi-fi equipment since then, but I have never made it back to the nirvana of the first week with my first system. I wont even go into my current mess of mis-matched toys - the good news is ... I'm still not happy.
My first "real" system consisted of a Sony STR-1800 receiver, Technics SL-23 turntable with an Audio Technica AT-12XE cartridge and Bose 301's. I was thirteen years old and this system was purchased for me by my parents. Somehow, i think that my Father had more input on this one than my Mother did : ) Sean
1973 at 14 years old. All Marantz system. Think that the receiver was a 2275. Don't remember the speakers or the turntable. Paid for by me with lawn mowing jobs. The rest is history. If I only knew then that some 30 years later that I would need to get another lawn mowing job to keep paying for this hobby.....WHOA!!!

Good listening,

Steve Bachman
Phoenix, AZ
Marantz 2235 receiver, Marantz turntable, Marantz bookshelf speakers......with the supplied patch cord.....circa 1974.
Age 23 in 1972 !! A Harmon Kardon Nochturn 820 Receiver Harmon Kardon HK 40 speaks and a Gerrard SL 72B TT. Played Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Led Zep, James Taylor and King Crimson till my head caved in. It was by far the best system anyone I knew had and remained so for quit a few years. The whole shootin match got ripped of in a Christmas Eve heist while I was at U Of F In good old Gainesville FLA. Thats when the Real trouble started!!!Been at it ever since. Watch out if that Lotto number ever hits.
HK 730 Receiver
BES Speakers
Onkyo TT
Sansui Cassette deck
Radio Shack 8 track Player/Recorder
It was in 1974, Ludswigsburg, West Germany. I don't remember model numbers only names. I had a Sansui integrated amp it was black with lots of knobs, a Pioneer PL 15 turntable and a pair of two way bookshelf speaker's from a company in Massachusetts USA I think they were named Rectilinier or something. 30 years ago, man i feel old.
Lafayette receiver
AR 4x speakers
Garrad turntable
Hendrix, Tull, The Beatles, Cream, Doors, etc. etc. never sounded so good. I was hooked...
Lafayette Receiver
Dual 1219 with Stanton cartridge
Large Advent Speakers
Advent Dobly cassette deck
Very first system was in 1991 Sony minisystem. Pretty nice actually.

First system I paid for(1996)consisted of a
Harmon Kardon AVR10 receiver
PSB Alpha Speakers
Yamaha CCD 565 5 disc changer

I loved that stereo so much. Nice warm sound with surprisingly good bass. I got the suggestion from a Details magazine.
I KNEW this would be a good thread. As for me, I paid $300 for that system. My father was FURIOUS that I blew that much $$$ at the time. I was definately hooked after that playing Deep Purple, Hendrix, Doors, all that good stuff. As for my pops, he came over the other week, looked at my current rig and said "Good Lord, that looks expensive, and I'm sure it was!!!" I sat him down, played Evanescence "My Immortal" and he was just speechless and smiling. Enjoy the music!!!
altec lancing receiver with garrard turntable built-in on top and brawn (pre ads )speakers
Pcook15- I started with the same receiver, a Pioneer SX-680, which my dad still has and uses along with my first speakers and they still sound pretty darn good together. The rest of my first rig consisted of Advent speakers, a JVC cassette deck, and a Phillips turntable. Well, now wait a minute, I can go back a bit further to when I was even younger I had a one-box solution: a Kenner Close'N'Play turntable. Before that I may have had a musical mobile or some such thing, but it likely only played one tune, and I really don't remember the brand, or even what it looked like.

Garrard belt drive with throw-away shure cart., JVC integrated 30 wpc amp, Pioneer project 60 speakers, all bought in 1977 also from summers washing dishes! My old man was mad as hell because I was supposed to be saving that $$ for college. "He bought a guitar, to punish his ma.." Used to play DSOM, Yes, and Supertramp after school as loud as I could get it, before the old man came home from work and then I'd have to turn it off. Probably why I can't hear nothin above 16K now
1963; Scott LK72 amp kit, LT110 tuner kit, Bozak 3001 speakers, Garrard A immediately replaced with Fairchild 412 turntable and arm, Tandberg 64 reel to reel. I recently obtained a MINT Scott 340 receiver (same as above separates) and just restored a Fairchild 412. Looking for the Bozaks now.
1973 - I got what I call my "Dentist's office system", so called because every dentist's office had one at the time. It consisted of a Panasonic 4 wpc receiver, and a pair of trapezoidal plastic single driver speakers that had captive wires that plugged into the back of the receiver with RCAs. It also came with a BSR 4800 changer with a ceramic cartridge. I was thrilled with this system until I bought a Yes record that made the speakers howl with every cymbal crash. This set me on a course of buying, tweaking and modifying that lasted for 25 years. I have less time for that now, but its still fun to mess around with this stuff from time to time.
1998 all Pioneer system. I can still hear it. Before then there was only a realistic tape player and headphones.
Yes still makes my system howl (The Gates of Delirium - Relayer - 1974)
National quadrosonic,this are popular in Asia, that
time, then my dad bought Akai quadro also, this are
played by LP.Then I came here in the US,Harman Kardon
citation pre and amp,then bought OHM speaker walsh 3,
omni directional,then bought Martin Logan QUest, then
Plinius SA100, then Andra Eggleston,then put onother
system bought Oddyssey extreme stratos,sp Norh 6.9
marble rewire by Siltech, then bought Diapason AdamantesII.
and cable cables cables...........cdp Sony 9000es modified
by Modwright,and AH tube with upsampler cdp, rewired by
siltech also.
A radio shack receiver purchased when I was a teen. It had brushed silver face with very thin horizontal window spanning the chasis. Functions were indicated by red lights. I'd give anything to have it back again.
I had spent my last dollar or two to get it, and I didn't have any money for speakers. So, I ripped apart a couple of old console stereos, took the naked 10" full range drivers and used them as my first speaker system.
That was 25 years ago! I'm still cobbling together systems, but the components are a bit better now.
No, wait. I remember a Lloyd's all in one stereo, with the turntable built on the top of a rather large receiver base. One day it began smoking. Led to the purchase of the Radio shack and discovery of "separates".
1999, I was 21, Eosone RSF-600 speakers, Aiwa A/V receiver and Aiwa CD changer. Boy those were fun days. My first upgrade over a boombox.

Got an Audio Alchemy preamp and amp and Adcom DAC in early 2001. I got to learn what a SOUNDSTAGE was. Holy sh!t.
Got a better DAC (which I still have) and Wharfedales off of in early 2002. Then got a tube preamp, tube amp, acoustat electrostats in late 2002. Got into vinyl in 2003. Got front projection in 2004. Now I'm running maggies.
1954. Garrard manual TT, GE phono pickup (mono with "flip over" 33 and 78 rpm stylii), Heathkit 20 watt integrated amplifier, Wharfedale 8" driver (full range, with floppy flannel cloth surround and strong magnet) in homemade corner enclosure. That driver would be good today.
1979 - Yamaha CA 600 integrated amp, Pioneer HPM 40 speakers, Yamaha T-550 Tuner and Pioneer PL51xx turntable (don't remember which model in that series). I loved that system and actually still have it all except the Pioneer turntable which my wife dropped in our driveway the day we were moving from our first house :(
I bought my first system in 1975. A Marantz 2275 receiver, Marantz 6300 turntable with a Stanton 681EEE cartridge, and JBL 4311 speakers - I loved that system. I had a Technics DD turntable and Technics speakers before that, but only for a month or so, so I don't really count them - even then I could hear differences in gear, and sold them because they were fatiguing to listen to.
I forget the model numbers. It was a Heathkit preamp,a Crown amp(used),a pair of Heathkit four ohm three ways,a Dual turntable with a Shure cartridge,and Sennheiser cans.

Fresh out of school with plastic burning a hole in my pocket,I made a mistake with the speakers and the amp,both of which were obese for the listening room.
November 1969. Purchased from Lafayette Radio in Newark, NJ

Lafayette LR-500B receiver
Garrard 40B record changer
Pickering V15/ACE 400 cartridge
KLH 22A speakers

SAE Mark 1 Pre-amp
Onkyo 4055 Tuner
BIC 980 TT with Micro Acoustics cart.
SoundCraftsman Equalizer
ESS Heil AMT 1a Bookshelf speakers
Kenwood Receiver (17 w/channel - don't recall the model #),
Garrard changer, (don't recall the model, nor the cartridge)
Warfedale W40 Speakers (still have them).

Pioneer SX-1180 Receiver
Teac Tape Deck
Techniques Turntable
Bose 601 speakers
Pioneer receiver (15WPC), turntable and cassette deck with DIY Radio Shack speakers. ( my woofers had whizzer cones :-)
1975, Technics reciever, Yamaha tape deck, Project-1 TT and Bose speakers.
That system could rock!
Cops would come visit when I played LA Woman....
It was the day after Christmas, 1974. I took my Christmas money into New York City and bought a Pioneer PL-12dII turntable with an Empire 1001 cartridge. When I got home I plugged it in, put on a record and watched it spin... which was all I could do, as the table was the only component I had. It wasn't until the big President's Day sales later in the year that I picked up the rest of the system... a Harman/Kardon 330c and a pair of Genesis Model One's... the ones with the green surrounds on the woofers and the yellow EPI-type tweeter.

To this day I've never owned a system that was used more.


What was my first system??? Well........ here it goes:

The year???? 1983

My age at the time??? 20 years old

And here are the components of that system:

Speaker System: Polk Monitor 4's
Stereo Receiver: JVC R-30 (30 Watts Per Channel)
Cassette Deck #1: Luxman K-220 (purchased in 1984)
Cassette Deck #2: Nakamichi BX-300 (purchased in 1987)
Compact Disc Player: NAD 5255 (purchased in 1985)
Cables: Monster Cable (don't remember the model numbers.... 1986)

For such a small system, this system rocked the shit out of my crib back in the day. Though, it doesn't hold a candle to the system that I have now (see the system listed below), but, if I say so myself, for a 20 year old college kid who had his first job back then, I don't think I did too badly back then. The system I really wanted back then was a pair of Boston Acoustics A60's, a Yamaha "Natural Sound" Stereo Receiver (don't remember the model number back then, but I believed it was also rated to deliver 30 Watts Per Channel), a Denon Direct-Drive Turntable (don't remember the model number of the turntable either) and a Sonus Phono Cartridge. But being that's when I got started at the time, money was an issue with me back then, and that's why I ended up getting the system stated above instead.

What I have now is this:

KEF Reference 102 Speaker System with KUBE Equalizer
REL Strata II 10" Powered Subwoofer (100 Watt Internal Amplifier)
Adcom GFA-545 Mk II Power Amplifier
Adcom GFP-750 Preamplifier (Active/Passive Line Stage)
Magnum Dynalab FT-101 FM Tuner
Meridian 508.24 Compact Disc Player
Denon DVD-2200 Universal Player
JVC XL-M509TN Compact Disc Player/Changer
VPI Scoutmaster Turntable w/JMW Memorial 9 Arm, SDS System and Grado Sonata Reference Phono Cartridge
Thorens TD-165 Belt-Drive Turntable (circa 1974) w/Grado Prestige Gold Phono Cartridge
Nakamichi BX-300 Cassette Deck (YEP...... I still got this baby)
MITerminator 2 and 3 Interconnects
MITerminator 2 Speaker Cables
Monster Cable HTS2500 Power Center/Conditioner

And while this system is still serving me well to this present day, I am getting that itch to upgrade again. But only this time, it's going to be even harder. Because right now, I got my sights set on a pair of Von Schweikert VR4 Jr's, paired up with some PS Audio Amplification (in my particular case...... a PS Audio GCA-200 with a GCP-200 with a Marantz SA-11S1 Two Channel SACD Player. This system sound LIKE MUSIC (!!!!!) AND....... Oh.... that bass response..... the kind of bass response I can make love to). But with a price tag of about $20K+, I believe that system is a little too rich for my blood right now


I'm kind of like "Flynntom" now, when am I going to hit that "Mega Millions" lottery????

My first system was purchased in the summer of 1972. It consisted of a Sherwood S-7100A receiver, AR-XA turntable with Shure M91E cartridge, and Dynaco A25 loudspeakers. Total cost was $330 from Baltimore Stereo Wholesalers. I received price quotes on this equipment from several mail order houses advertised in Stereo Review. Looking back, I think I assembled quite a fine system for the price and the time. I moved up to a Sherwood S-7200 receiver the following year, and I still have that receiver. I do not even remember what happened to the other components, which I must have sold off to friends at the University of Southern California.

I wish I had kept the Dynaco A25s. I keep reading glowing reports from contented listeners on several message boards. I would love to hear them today driven by my Sumo NIne Class A amp. I wonder how they would stack up against my current Dynaudio Audience 42s.
Pcook15 Hilarious- My first component was a Pioneer SX-680 receiver also. I used car speakers for a month or so until I saved for a pair of EPI 100 speakers. You and I are about the same age. I bought my SX-680 new around 1980.
About 1975 or 1976, my first system consisted of a Kenwood 6006 integrated amp, a Pioneer CTF2121 cassette deck, a BIC 960 turntable, and Electro Voice ETR-18 (3 way, 4 driver, 12" woofer) speakers. I can still remember the exact price: $726.50, probably because I earned every last cent for that system by working as a janitor's assistant.
Circa 1978:

A 40 watt Onkyo receiver, with the amazing servo touch tuning. When you touched the tuning knob, the tuner unlocked, and a red led turned to green.

AES 3-way book shelf speakers, have no idea what ever happend to that company.

A Dual Turntable with some shure cartridge.
Update, it was a stanton cartridge, not a shure.
1985, I feel like I am in the middle.

1 Boom Box (Panasonic)
1 Phono Pre (Radio Shack)
1 TT (Technics I Think. The cartridge came with the table)

1987 Ok for the first real seperate system.
NAD Receiver
Same TT
Technics Dual Cassett Deck (Model?) I still have it in the shed.
JVC 6 Disk CD Changer.
1 Pr. 10" Home made subs.
1 Pr. Minimus 7's (Radio Shack)

Now the question is how much did we spend on our first systems and how much do we have in our current systems.

Pretty Scarry,

Happy listening.

I was in my residency at the Cleveland Clinic probably in 1986 or 87 when, after much study of Stereophile and Absolute Sound regarding bang/buck ratio I purchased a Superphon Dual Mono Revelation preamp, Adcom (? GFA 555) 200W/Ch power amp and Vandersteen 2C speakers all new to replace my Marantz receiver and Ohm speakers. The Rega 3 table replaced the venerable Techniques turntable soon after. Sorry but I have no recollection of the cartridge.
My first own system was Sansui miniset , when I went to sleep I put both speaker next to my ears .THe sound was pretty good a that distance...
A few years later , about 1996, I bought a complete set from Sherwood,the Opus 7 ,in gorgeous champagne colour with JBL L 20 .
THe sound was amazing ,compared to the Sansui.
For the first time I heard real bass , the music sounded so much more lifelike.
a transitor radio with 1 'ear bud' AM only.
Loved it!!
I use to sleep with it on all night,tucked under my pillow.
I know this isnt a 'system' but it sure sounded good!
1971. Pioneer 626 receiver, dual turntable and Electrovoice speakers (cann't remember the model number). I told my wife that it would be a system that would satisfy me for a life time. I was mistaken.
I started out with one of Sony's larger bookshelf systems. As a 17-year-old male, it was great. Plenty loud for when I moved into the dorms.

My next system was an HK AV receiver, Polk Audio RTi28 speakers, and an old Technics CD player.

My first 2-channel system was an NAD C320BEE, C521i, and Polk LSi7 speakers. I've barely moved beyond this, but hey, I didn't even discover the hobby until 2003.
I belive it was 1973. Marantz 2220B receiver, Pioneer PL12 turntable, and a pair of BIC Venturi Formula 2 speakers. I was 13 years old and in heaven. Ofcourse parents and neighbors hated me but that's ok. Thanks to Brian at Sound World in the Pocatello Mall for encouraging my audio curiosity.
I started around '81 with a Technics SL-Q 2 with a Denon cartridge (a 110, I think) a BIC cassette machine, Pioneer SA 710 amp and speakers were Fostex FP253's in back-loaded horns and JBL 2402's crossed over at 5kHz.
Space ship helmet 8 track player. I removed the speakers and added my own that I had gotten from a local junk yard. I had about 6 speakers running of this thing.
I was about 12 years old.