Who (or what) got you started in high-performance audio?

Stereophile's picture
We've all got to start somewhere, and audiophiles often begin with the guidance of someone close to them. Tell us who it was and how it happened.
Who (or what) got you started in high-performance audio?
Good old Mom
4% (6 votes)
Dear old Dad
15% (25 votes)
My Brother
4% (7 votes)
My Sister
0% (0 votes)
A friend
20% (34 votes)
Audio-store staffer
6% (10 votes)
The Media (print, radio, TV, Internet)
11% (18 votes)
Discovered it on my own
36% (61 votes)
Other . . .
6% (10 votes)
Total votes: 171
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fcfreeman@worldnet.att.com's picture

A hi fi show in 1967 in Newton, Ma.. AR speaker ,turntable show room in Harvard Square,Cambridge,Ma

Al Marcy's picture

Friend took me to visit a friend with a net Voice of the Theater speaker and tube amplifier. This was in 1964 and it was set up in a small apartment in Dinkytown, USA. WOW!

bcurrul@tqos.com's picture

About 12 years ago I was making the rounds of lo-fi stores looking to replace a system I had purchased 20 years earlier in Japan. Going up the highway, I spotted "Audio by Caruso," which turned out to be my first introduction to high-end. Although I didn't venture into high-end at that time, I remembered the experience. When my 12-year-old mid-fi system needed upgrading, I returned there, where Don, the owner, showed the same patience and helpfulness I had remembered from my previous visit. Don's patience and low-key sales approach gained a convert to hi-fi, a loyal customer for his shop, and a lifetime of enjoyment for myself. This week's Soapbox calls for better product sites on the web, and I couldn't agree more---but if I had not seen Don's shop while traveling on US 1 in Miami, I still wouldn't even be aware that high-end audio exists.

David K.  Carpe's picture

It started in my freshman year at MIT (1975). I was introduced to stereo that far exceeded anything I had heard before, and I decided I wanted that for myself. I began visiting audio stores and reading audio magazines. I finally visited one store, Hi-Fi Haven in New Brunswick, New Jersey (sadly gone now), where I got to hear real high-end sound (Dahlquist DQ-10s), and my quest was started. It was years before I could afford real high-end gear, but I started with separates: AR-XA turntable, Shure M91 cartridge, Crown IC-150 preamp, Phase Linear 400 amplifier, and AR-5 loudspeakers. Now I am one of the owners of Melos Technologies!

David Paul's picture

It all started with my friend's Boston Acoustics 6x9s, Sansui amp, and the Alpine tape deck. That was the best hi-fi I have ever heard! 10 YEARS AGO!! I was only 15.

Marc Phillips's picture

My brother used to get some great mid-fi deals back in the '70s when he was stationed in Okinawa. He came back with all this great stuff . . . huge receivers with meters galore, big speakers with ornate grillework, enormous turntables with a million buttons . . . I was 14 or 15 and I was hooked. It took me another five years, however, to discover Stereophile and, subsequently, the truth about good equipment and good music.

Ken So's picture

Started in my grade 12 electronics class. My project was a class-A integrated amp. It was a horrible-sounding amp, due mainly to the cheap parts quality, but it still works today. Since graduating from high school and then university, my system has been upgraded. I still have the amp but I rarely use it anymore. The curiosity of how to squeeze better-sounding music out of my system persists.

Steven Kelly's picture

Dad had an eye for all things new and shiny back in the '70s, so while Mom was out shopping Dad would drag me around all the hi-fi shops. This is what started me. Father later became a complete technophobe, leaving me to carry the tourch.

JKH, Santa Clara, CA's picture

My foray into the audio high-end has been a long and circuitous path. I started with a "good" mid-fi system in 1973, and have replaced every component since. The "big" advance was buying a pair of high-end speakers: Thiel 3.6s. They really opened the doors to replacing (and appreciating) the other components in the musical chain. And, not to sound brown-nosed, Stereophile helped quite a bit. I had read Stereo Review for years, but found the "never met a speaker I didn't like" reviews frustrating, especially since I found several I didn't care for during my Thiel audition period. But, I started late: I didn't find out about your review of the Thiels until they won Speaker of the Year award.

Karl Richichi, U.T.  Film Dept.'s picture

Dear old Dad was a total audiophile back in the '60s during his years in college. I would be buying Circuit City stuff after college if it wasn't for him.

Emmanuel Fonte's picture

Having studied music since I was a kid, I was always listening to music. My Dad helped finance early systems, with odd jobs and eventually musical gigs allowing me to upgrade. Now, as a professional musician, the stuff for me is even tax-deductible.

J.  Ortiz, Seattle's picture

A friend had a Stereophile lying around his room in college, and I picked it up out of curiosity. It is true that curiosity killed the cat!

Jeremy Karpenske's picture

I caught the audiophile "bug" from a friend's father. His living room was quite impressive to a budding audiophile... Three racks of equipment surrounded by a multitude of Bose speakers. Though the equipment wasn't Martin Logan or Krell, I learned an appreciation of higher end equipment and music in general.

Charles Purvis Kelly, Jr.'s picture

Well, I discovered high-end audio on my own. I fell in love with high-end audio for two reasons. (1). I wanted to have something my friends did not have, and (2). I have a low tolerence for inferior sound, so that pretty much eliminates mass market audio. There is also the pride factor to consider. These are reasons enough for admission. You agree? Don't you?

Paul Houston's picture

Thirty years ago I owened a huge console stereo,turntable,tuner and eigth track tape player. I moved from a large apartment to a small house. The only reason I wanted seperate components was to freeup some floor space. I purchased a Pioneer receiver, Bic turntable and Speakerlab 7 kit speakers. A $600 investment that gave me countless hours of pleasure. I think the real turn on for me was when I purchased Sheffield Labs Missing Link. This LP made me aware of the potential of Hi Fi and the incentive to upgrade.

Sami Rifat's picture

Drawn to it like a moth to a flame

Tont Coughlin's picture

My mom had visions of an Irish Heifetz playing at Carnegie Hall . . . she got almost squeaked to death by her idiotic, talentless 10-year-old child who learned to love music, but never to play more than a stereo . . . and I have trouble sometimes with that. Some things don't ever change.

JRT's picture

For my 12th birthday my older cousin was charged with picking out my first "real" system. Thank God music was important to him, because he started me off on the right foot. At least six whole systems later, here I am . . . happy but broke!

Jeremy Close's picture

The 'Flat Earth' school of the early 80s put music before gadgets and specs. When I could hear an improvement I went on to buy.

ken's picture

too many hobbies!!! but a love of music

Bart Bartholomy's picture

Many, many moons ago my high-school wrestling coach turned me on to the world of stacked DQ-10s, Apt-Holman, and the High End. By his own recent admission, the student has become the master. Thanks, Greg!

Tony von Krag's picture

I built a crystal radio in '59 with the Boy Scouts and was hooked from there.

Good Old Mom's picture

Who bought the special cloth for your homemade speakers? Of course, it was incidental that Dear old Dad was an engineer! HA!

Charles Hartmann's picture

It was way back in 1963, when my dad assembled his first "serious"system. A Fisher 500-B receiver, Garrard turntable with a Shure cartridge, and a pair of speakers from a local Chicago Allied Radio store---their Knight brand. I was in my early teens, and I thought at the time that this was the coolest system I'd ever heard! I still have that old Fisher receiver and it still works, but it needs some work to get it back into prime condition. When people see it, they say, "My God, that has vacuum tubes in it! I've never seen one before." If my dad was alive, he would be amazed at the system I have now. I'm into tubed equipment now big time, and now that digital (CD players, etc.) is the prevalent choice (sorry, MF!), I think he would be enjoying it too. Thanks, Dad, for instilling me with the love for fine music, and the desire to obtain the best equipment I can to achieve that goal. What more of a legacy could one ask for?

Joe Ferrente's picture

A friend asked me to go look at systems with him. I was stunned but what I heard during these demo's and began looking for my own system.

Dave Dallard's picture

It was an inevitable consequence of enjoying music and wanting to hear as much of it as possible.

Chris Younkman's picture

A friend of mine borrowed the Brahms 4 (Kleiber/Vienna) and played it on something attached to an NAD 304 and old B&W 601s. I was transfixed. After he lent me the system for a summer, my Bose and Kenwood junk went out the window. BTW: A happy disposition for that old, bad equipment: sell it to people you don't like.

Mark Martin's picture

Walked into my local hi-fi shop back in the late '70s. The rest is history.

MH's picture

I have to give the credit (blame?) to Stereophile. As a senior in high school, I responded to one of their promotions. V.14, #11 set the hook, (who could forget Aunt Corey's Homemade Buffered Passive Preamp?) and I have been with it ever since.

Rich Seyfarth's picture

Allied Catalogs 1958: Heathkit, AR2, Bogen.

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