Who or what got you started as an audiophile? Please explain how it happened.

Who or what got you started as an audiophile? Please explain how it happened.
It was an event
45% (66 votes)
It was a person
48% (71 votes)
I'm no audiophile!
7% (10 votes)
Total votes: 147

Reader Arnel Enero asks readers to share the specific personal experience that brought them into the hobby of high-end audio.

Robert Hamel's picture

Its all my father's fault. I can still remember all the words to the gags on BOB AND RAY's STEREO SPECTACUALR! He had music on 24/7, even outdoors. He still has his original gear, plus whatever else he has purchased, most of which still works. Funny -- so do I.

Jim Merrill's picture

My parents went shopping for a console when I was in high school (1967), and I became curious about why the "naked" (no wood furniture) components in the showroom corners cost so much more. Soon, in my senior year, I bought a modest component system. Later, in college, everybody had a good stereo--it was a status symbol; I upgraded my system. About 5 years ago, I randomly bought a copy of Stereo Review and read a Julian Hirsch comment about whether speakers he raved about 30 years ago still sounded great. These were the speakers I bought in college and was still using! I decided to begin upgrading my whole system. Bitten by audiophilia nervosa, I'm still upgrading.

Steve Williams's picture

It all started when I listened to my Mom and Dad's 45's. From the first time I listened to the Platters, and all those other fifties era bands I was hooked.

Harold B.  Roberts's picture

It all started in about 1828 with a windup acoustal phonograph and one record, "Barnacle Bill The Sailor" that my Dad brought home. I must have been four years old at the time.

Al Marcy's picture

I bought a used Fisher X-202-C a few weeks after setting up our first home theater in 1994. Gave the HT away. Now listen to homebrew SE all transformer coupled on Vandersteen 1C speakers :)

Anonymous's picture

I was at a Butch Hancock/Jimmie Dale GIlmore after-party. The system there played some great music - Townes,Lucinda etc. and they sounded like they were in the rom with you. That was the start of the end!Ever since the names krell, plinius, rega have been uttered in prayers,glimpsed at in dreams! skaaternz

Jeppe, Denmark's picture

My father, who is an audiophile himself, gave me a JVC receiver, a pair of AR6 speakers, and Thorens turntable for my 14th birthday, many years ago.

Rob Cornelson's picture

I was 23 and in the midst of putting together my own car stereo when I looked at a catalog for a local hifi hut. At first I was put off by $5,000 speakers and such. Eventually I had everything I could want in my car but I still thought the sound could be improved. I remembered seeing these strange cables in that catalog. I broke down and bought a pair of Kimber Kables and plugged them in between my car stereo and amp. It took about two seconds to realize that I was hearing things much more clearly. I could discern the differences in cymbals and guitars. Bass was tighter and for the first time I heard the soundstage. I was fortunate that the dealer was very patient with me and allowed me to just listen to my favorite music, even heavy metal, through the multi-kilobuck systems he had on display. Before I could afford any of it, I was hooked.

John M Crossett III's picture

Sam Tellig. You can blame it all on Sam. I saw an issue of Stereophile away back in the early to mid eighties that offered "A Cheapskate's Recommended Components" and I foolishly bought the magazine (being almost as big a cheapskate as Sam, how could I not?). It's been all downhill ever since (and if you don't believe me, ask my wife). Truthfully though, while Sam got me hooked (oh, and by the way, thanks Sam -- really) it was the rest of the magazine that keep my interest. JA, you and I started out about the same time with Stereophile, and it's been a long, fun filled, informative ride. Thanks again, from the bottom of my checkbook (which is where I seem to have spent most of my days since).

Larry Larson's picture

I started as a 14 yr old , who added speakers, boxes and other devices, to get better sound. this was in the early 50's I've all ways enjoyed music. This was what got the quest going.

Mangoman's picture

When I was 17, I wandered into a Sound Advice store in Coral Gables Fl. There I met a salesman named Peter Beshouri, who took the time to explain the high-end to a kid. Well, that was about 26 years ago, and Peter is now CEO, with 26 Sound Advice stores, where, even today, a kid wont get brushed off. I have yet to meet a dishonest or unknowlegable salesman there. Its good to know that in 26 years of change, some things stay the same.

Claude Whiting's picture

I always enjoyed music and electronics, but what really vaulted me into the audiophile realm was the invention of the compact disc. I could not believe my ears when I first heard one! I was completely amazed at the sound quality and compact size of this recording media.

Tom Selnau's picture

My father's first Fisher system back in the mid 60's. It was the cat's meow, compared to the "all in one cabinet" Motorola's that were around at the time. I don't know if I ever made it to being a adiophile. I like what I like, and the better it sounds, the more I like it. I never really think that much about it. Does it matter?

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

I still hesitate to call myself a full-fledged audiophile for a couple of reasons that I will not elaborate on here, but I had once had a bookshelf system that sounded unpleasant. I couldn't pin down what it was I didn't like about its sound, but I didn't like it. Then, a certain unpleasant event in my personal life called for some retail therapy and, well, the rest is history as they say. Thanks to an honest and conscientious local salesman, I ended up with some good-sounding components at a reasonable price.

Calvin Flemmings's picture

I inherited the audiophile "trait" from my dad.

James's picture

Hi-Fi '95! I've been addicted ever since.

Sean's picture

My father was a gunsmith and avid hunter, I believed at the time that years of hearing gunshots had damaged my hearing. Then at age 15 I attended a party at a friends house and was shocked by the details I heard out of his fathers audio system. I was so impressed that I jotted down the brand name of each component and then found out where I could find these names in my area. After paying a visit to the local hi-fi dealer I realized why I thought I had hearing loss. My older brother had always been a music lover and throughout my childhood had spent many hours introducing me to new music. I realized that my "hearing loss" occured about the time he left for college......and took with him his beloved Nakamichi LX-5

J-10's picture

Dear ol' Dad. Ampex tube reel-to-reel, Leak, Bogen, Fisher tube receivers and integrateds, built his own speakers into a closet door, Rek-O-Kut turntable, Mozart, Mozart, Mozart . . . Help! (-"

John Leosco's picture

It was about 20 years ago. I was seventeen years old and visiting the city with my parents. While they browsed through a furniture store, I went next door, just out of curiosity, and stuck my head in the door of a high-end audio dealer. The dealer was Audition Audio in Salt Lake City, UT. Although it was obvious that I didn't have five bucks to my name, I was pleasantly greeted and invited to sit down and hear an Audio Research/Mark Levinson/Magnepan system. It was stunning and miles beyond anything I'd heard before. The salesman treated me like a king and I left with a handful of product brochures. I didn't know how I would ever get enough money to have a system that sounded like what I'd experienced, but I knew one day I would have one. His first name was John, the same as mine.

Jim Bosha's picture

An "event" tied to meeting a "person". The person was an audio journalist, a friend of a friend's wealthy uncle. We sat in his listening room (he had a separate apartment in NYC for this purpose) and just blissed-out. I never knew recorded music could sound like that. Over twenty years later and I'm still trying to duplicate that very first high.

G.  Strausser's picture

For my 13th birthday, a friend of my parents gave me a copy of George Shearing's Jazz Moments. That was 1962, and it has been listening to music, building components and assembling systems ever since.

W.O.'s picture

My dad! Years ago, back in Poland, he had a half decent stereo, with pretty bad speakers -- big boxes with a large woofer. But he listened to good music, and I liked the way the big gear looked. Now I'm light years ahead of what he had in terms of gear and music! Thanks dad! PS: my uncle influenced my music tastes a lot.

K.Rich RTF U.T.  Austin, TX's picture

It was my dad. I was born in 67. He had a vinyl collection that went to the ceiling. At two ,I would pull LPs out and toss them in a huge pile. I still have the photos. I also remember looking up at his five foot five Klipshhorn speakers he bought in the mid-sixties. When I was two or three they were monsters and they still are. My brother now has our dad

Chris S.'s picture

My Mother, while not an audiophile herself, comes from musically inclined stock. She purchased my first record player as a Christmas present when I was about 4. By my fifth birthday (twelve days later) I was ready for an upgrade. My Uncles have been audiophiles for as long as I can remember and I would always go visit them and listen to their stuff. Music has always been a major part of my life and that of my family. I can't play an instrument (yet) but I still can't live without my music.

TABACA's picture


Joe Hartmann's picture

I visited the older brother of an early girlfriend. He had what I thought would be a great sounding system Dual table, Scott receiver and AR 3a speakers. At the time I had a Raido Schack system. I was dissatisfied with my system but even more so with his system. There had to be something that sounded closer the the music I heard at college. That is what started me looking. Today I feel my system is close to what I expected but a real long way from the real thing.

Louis P.'s picture

I was still firmly in the mid-fi world when I decided to purchase new speakers back in 1985. An audiophile friend had Proac's, so I decided to audition them at a high end dealer. They weren't exactly what I was looking for, but I was very impressed by the demo. The system they were part of consisted of a Linn Sondek, Koetsu Black cartridge, Counterpoint preamp, and a Krell KSA-50 amp. A year later, I went back to check out the Linn Axis turntable. In a far simpler system consisting of an NAD integrated amp and Snell E speakers, I could clearly hear the difference between the Axis and Sondek (both using the Basik cartridge), so I bought the Sondek, and the rest is history. PS Since my friend got me going, maybe my vote should be for a person.

3LockBox's picture

My brother was very into hi-fi when I was a kid, back in the '70s. I watched him install his Pioneer 8-track Quad system in a Buick Electra. I also made many long trips to Memphis, where the best stores were. I remember him plopping down over $200 bucks on a phono cartrige. I remember him considering some very odd looking OHM speakers. I remember the sales guy bad mouthing Bose (even back then . . . hhmmm). I remember them highly touting a new style of tweeter (soft dome) and even the use of an "outboard bass woofer."

GregM's picture

My discovery and appreciation of jazz eventually led to an obsession with hearing the instruments reproduced as accurately and faithfully as possible. The rest is history.

Stephen Curling's picture

i bought a Stereo Review magazine many years ago which is the thing that lit the match.