The Component That Got You Started [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-25-2005, 06:21 AM
Maybe this is a dumb question, but I have a specific set of speakers that launched me into audio with a passion. I was always involved in music but not necessarily all that much in home stereo. A rave review of a pair of speakers in an English journal piqued my curiosity. For some reason, I went on a quest to find these speaker in the US. I ended up in a high-end salon, the only place within hundreds of miles that carried them. The place had four listening rooms, each dedicated to different levels. One of the owners sat me down in a room, set up the speakers that I came to buy, chose appropriate electronics for them, asked what music I was listening to at the time (he had it), fired up the system, and left me to listen. Eventually, he came back to ask what I thought, and he insisted on inserting other speakers in the system to give me a better sense of the options. In the end, I bought the speakers that I originally wanted--Spica TC-50s. They were not the first speakers that I'd ever bought, not by a longshot, but they are the ones that I fondly recall as bringing me more deeply into this game.

I'm curious whether others might have a similar product in their past, not necessarily the first one that they bought but the one that ignited the fire.


03-25-2005, 09:08 AM
Probably some DIY speakers I made a some nice cabinets for when I was in high school. Did all the calculations for the optimal volume and geometry of the enclosure as well as the optimal crossover points. They sounded pretty decent! I kept those until after college when I got my first "real" job.

03-25-2005, 12:36 PM
I've been a drummer/percussionist since I was 6 and always been into music. The first audiophile rig I heard was my cousins Khorns driven by a mod'd Hafler and Denon TT (remember that killer unit that looked like a UFO?). I must have been about 13 years old and he put on Sheffield Labs "James Newton Howard and Friends" LP. That was certainly an, ear opener. However, the piece that really made me decide to jump in with both feet was the Mirage M1 that had a Theta/Forte front end (back in the '80's). This was my first exposure to bi-polar speakers and it literally felt like Phil Woods was playing right there in front of me. I bought my Mission Argonauts (which I'm listening to as I type this) later that summer.

03-25-2005, 01:05 PM
Topspeed, great to hear that your a drummer [insert drummers' secret handshake]. The Spicas were what got me hooked in the first place, but about five years later, the guys in the store played me what I think was a Sheffield Labs' recording of Jim Keltner playing his kit on a newly arrived full-tilt all-Meridian system, and my jaw literally hit the floor and stayed there for the rest of day. I'm still kicking myself for not spending the $75,000, or whatever the price was, right there on the spot to bring the whole experience home (yeah, right). If I closed my eyes, Mr. Keltner was in the room. I really don't think that I've had that same sense of "is it live or is it memorex" since.


03-28-2005, 04:57 AM
It wasn't a component, but a system. My first real audio components were the Kenwood 4070 40W receiver, a Sharp RT-3388 Computer-Controlled cassette deck and a pair of the Large Advent speakers with the rounded real wood trim.
The cassette deck was the coolest thing at the time because it sensed the blank spaces between the songs so you could program it to skip single or multiple selections. It had three heads and was bi-directional.
The speakers sounded great. They were an acoustic suspension 2-way system with sweet highs and well-behaved bass.
The receiver was a great performer for the price. I later gave the Advents to a friend and bought a pair of Klipsch Kg4s. A very nice beginning to a very fulfilling hobby.

03-29-2005, 09:49 AM

So you're as deaf as I am :p!

All this time, I thought I liked your posts because of their excellent sentence structure and superior verbage. Little did I know it was only because we share an affinity for hitting things. What do you play? I play a Tama Artstar kit with DW chain drive pedals, DW hardware, and Zildjian K 's. I also have a Simmons kit w/ a Peavey monitor.

03-29-2005, 10:25 AM
Sorry, I can't hear you. You'll have to speak up, really. Since I retired largely from active duty, I have been involved in the electronic percussion side just to stay active. I played the same acoustic kit for nearly thirty years, with variations. My father was a drummer. We got our stuff directly from Walberg & Auge, which used to manufacture for Gretch and others for many years. Hell, I still have a calfskin head on one of the toms; no other head sounds quite like it, although it is an adventure when the weather gets humid. But I've long since given up my leather-strapped Gretch kick pedal for Axis, which I love. Zildjian being located in my home state gave their cymbals a big advantage for me growing up, though I would tinker with anything to get the sound I wanted. It's amazing what you can do with a little gaffer's tape here and there.

My electronics get far more attention these days. I have ddrum and Yamaha modules, mesh head pads, Visu-lite cymbals, and a bunch of other things on my Pearl rack and around the room. When I get a chance, I have ddrum's samples of the Artstar II Brauner and Ambassador kits to load into the module. I toyed with getting the Simmons back in the 80s, but for some reason I didn't. I forget the model of the truly great-sounding Simmons before the demise. What was it?

I administer a Yamaha electronics site on Yahoo and occasionally review (or help develop) a product here and there. I'm about to get one of Bose's Personal Amplification Systems to audition for a few weeks. Though I'm not much on Bose consumer audio products, the Pro division is another world entirely. The PAS is really revolutionary. On stage it can take the place of a PA, monitor, and mixer, and it has dispersion characteristics that can cut down radically on unwanted reflections and reverb sources. Bose is looking to target e-drummers as a potential market.

Hey, if you've got drumming adventures, I'm all ears (except, of course, for the hearing part).


03-29-2005, 01:04 PM
Unfortunately, these days work and kids pretty well consume most of my free time. My 5 year old wants me to teach him, but at this stage I'm pretty sure he just like the loud noises (don't we all :D?). We're going over some basic stick control exercises and I'll probably get him his own little kit when we move to a bigger house.

The Simmons is actually in storage so I can't help you with the model number. I've had that kit since the early '80's, as with the Tama. Neal Peart, Jeff Pocaro, and Dave Weckl were (and still are) my heros. How's that for a smorgasborg of styles?

It seems like Yamaha is the Big Dog in the electronic drumming arena. I've tinkered around some of their stuff, but there's just something about the tactile feedback you get when playing a good 'ol fashioned acoustic kit that's missing with the e-drums. As my boys get older, I'm looking forward to jamming with them. Three kits playing in unison...that ought to make the wife happy, huh?

03-29-2005, 01:26 PM
Well, Roland is the Big Dog in e-drums in terms of market share, but there are a lot of great companies out there that are largely obscured by Roland's predominance. Electronics cannot match the feel and sensitivity of acoustics, but once you get past that fact and realize what they can do, they can have a place at the table as well. In fact, the sky is the limit; e-drum modules have barely tapped into the computing capacity that is at least theoretically available to them (and that their synth brothers have managed to corral).

Topspeed, it's getting spookier. I have a five-year-old, too, though I'm probably an older coot than you. Mine, a girl, is going to be six in a little more than a week, and she doesn't want any part of the drums, having graduated to, and also dropped, both the piano and guitar during her brief career as a child so far. There were few smoother than Jeff Porcaro during his too brief stay with us.

Okay, I'd better stop, or the mods will have me expelled for irrelevance, but it will be fun dropping drummers' in-jokes and references from time to time.