Stereo value > car value
My first stereo was a Koss boombox from 1992-93 and it still WORKS! The CD player has quit working, probably from sitting in the garage for the last 7 or so years, but the radio tuner still picks up extremely well.
Then I moved up to an RCA large-style shelf system, with a 5-disc carousel circa 1996.
My dad bought a sony str-de685 and panasonic dvd player (one of the early models) in 1999 and gave me his old receiver and LD player. They were a Sansui 5.1 receiver that resembles the RZ-3500 (can't remember the actual model) and an anonymous Pioneer laserdisc, both circa 1992. I retired the 5-disc carousel/receiver unit and hooked the RCA speakers up to the Sansui and used the LDP for cd play. I thought the on-screen graphic EQ display was the coolest thing at the time and really enjoyed the sound, especially the fuller and louder bass output.
I sold both at a garage sale when I was 14 for a measly $50 after I got one of those horrible sony home-theatre-in-a-box outfits in 2000. Movies were decent but music sounded so poor that I resorted to my computer's polk speakers for music listening.
A year later, I sold this system to my aunt and uncle and bought my first real components I could be proud to own- a Cambridge Audio A500, a Cambridge D300 cd player and a pair of B&W 603s2's.
I always admired my dad's old B&O record player, even though it never worked as far as I could remember. The motor was stone dead. So he bought me an identical model- the Beogram 3000 circa 72-75, though it was finished in rosewood, as opposed to his teak model. It was $100 on ebay from a seller in ID, and worked great for the first week until the belt kept slipping off. I swapped over the belt from my dad's turntable as well as the aluminum "LIFT" button cover as mine was missing and it works great to this day.
I then bought the Jolida in 2002 and relegated the Cambridge to phono preamp duties only.
In 2004, I started college and picked up the dynaudios as they were much smaller to accommodate my tighter living space in the dorm. My system was setup on the top of my desk, but still sounded awesome.
I paired the B&Ws and the Cambridge back together to form a second system with a Sony 27" in our dorm's common area, rendering my turntable unused for years, as I wasn't much of a fan of the sound with the Cambridge/B&W combo plus I didn't want anything to happen to it while in the dorms. After graduating in 2007, I moved back in with my folks and moved the stereo into the office, where it was only played once in a while for the next 3 years, since my dad insisted on installing hardwood throughout the house. It looked great but completely ruined the fine acoustics of the converted loft office room featuring low, vaulted ceilings where my stereo used to shine.
I started employment with a local bank and moved into my first home last December and wanted to get back into hifi 2-channel since I now had the space and of course the carpet to make my 2-channel into something better. I picked up the MF phono preamp and an Arcam cd player a couple of months back and am really enjoying it once again.
The B&W's are now in the living room with my dad's old center speaker and rears, paired to a Yamaha that I picked up for $80 from a pawn shop to replace the Sony STR my dad gave to me, which had started making popping noises.
My current setup is listed in my signature. To this day, the only stereo component that has given me issues is the Arcam, which recently started the no-disc issue. I punched it in a fit of rage and it started to behave...for now. Overall, I'd say my two systems are a massive improvement from my Koss boombox, though all three still reside under the same roof.
Dynaudio Audience 42
Music Hall CD 25.2
Musical Fidelity V3 series- X-LPS phono preamp, X-DAC, X-PSU
Rega RP1 w/ performance pack
Pure i-20 iPod dock
B&W DM603s2- B&W LCR60s3- B&W DM302
Velodyne CT-120 12" sub
Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD
Denon DBP-1611 bluray
KEF K120- Jolida JD202a- Cambridge Audio D300 cdp- T500 tuner
When I was in high school I got a summer job and my parents made me save 75% of the money. With the remaining 25% I could get whatever I wanted, I ended up blowing $400 on a four channel home stereo, the kind of cheap and crappy unit with everything, tuner, tape deck, amp, in one little box driving cheap little speakers. It of course sounded better than the even cheaper stereo's I had before then and it gave me a limited surround sound in my Playstation 1 games.
It was shortly thereafter when I realized I needed to get an amp and speakers for better quality audio. I bought an inexpensive Pioneer unit and I don't even remember anymore the speakers I was driving with it. Some sort of bookshelf speakers I imagine. Anyway, over the years I have bought from thrift stores and other used equipment to piece together my current system which sounds great, especially when you consider I've spent less than $300 on the whole setup:
Niles SI-275 amp
CSW Tower II
Along with a blacklight and Jimi Hendrix posters. I hid my pot in the ceiling.
B&O, well not mine my father's in the 80's. Thinking back a rather bad choice
Now it is a rega mira 3 with rega jura speakers.
Last edited by Vasilis; 10-31-2011 at 12:13 PM.
My first two "systems" were not really systems. In 1969 I got my older sister's hand held RCA AM/FM radio that no longer had an antenna. My dad fashioned one out of a metal coat hanger. I used to listen to music under the covers as to not have my dad come in and demand that I turn it off.
By 1975 I had saved enough to buy a Panasonic AM/FM/cassette player. It had a 4 inch speaker and could play much louder than the old RCA. I soon started recording songs off the radio one by one.
In 1978 I received an actual system as a graduation present. It was a Panasonic receiver with an 8-track player built in, and 2 Pioneer Project 100A speakers. I later added a Panasonic cassette player that had a new tech called Dolby. Then I added a Gerard turntable. (I still have this receiver. It can even still play 8-tracks)
WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.
My first system was a package deal at the local hi-fi house. Dad let me spend some of my summer earnings.
Harman Kardon HK 430 receiver
Wald Speakers (never heard of them either. I think the local shops had their house brand to make the packages work)
Lamp cord speaker wire
All for $399.00. This was 1976. The receiver was probably worth 70% of the whole purchase price, but I listened to that system for at least 14 years! I actually wish I still had the receiver. I see them on ebay every now and then. It was a classic.
If you don't mean the bog stand midi systems I went through...
My first separates set up was bought in my late teens.
Denon PMA-255UK amplifier
Mission M71i bookshelf speakers
All bought for £229 from Richer Sounds. Did me fine for 10 years before the upgrade (mod and tweak!) bug hit me big time and sold the whole lot to a friend for for £100!
Now on to bigger, better things as such
I had a little Grundig package system with a turntable which had a Grado F1 cartridge in it--which was lucky, as it didn't ruin my records.
In 1976, I got my first real system, and I have never looked back. I still have the receiver, which I use as a tuner, but I probably will replace it soon, as the left amplifier output has been shot for years, and I want to be able to use it as a spare amp.
Kef 104 speakers
BIC 980 TT with a Grado F3E cartridge
Harmon Kardon 730 receiver
"Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.
In 1964, I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I purchased the AR-XA turntable to replace my awful Garrard AT-6 changer. With a Lafayette LA-250 tube amplifier (no tuner) and a set of Lafayette SK-180 "Tri-Helix" 10' 3-way speakers mounted in Lafayette's proprietary "Elliptoflex" enclosures, I had finally arrived with a balanced, and pretty decent sounding system. Even by 60's standards, everything was pretty inexpensive: the amp listed for $99.95, each speaker system (in the enclosures) went for $66.50,and the AR turntable (without cartridge) was $68. A free PIckering V/15 AT rounded out the package.
For the next 12 years, while still working at Lafayette, I usually bought a new receiver every year, and even went all-out quad during that short-lived craze. Then, in 1977, now working as a National Sales Manager for PIckering, I went full-bore high end, with a Luxman L-100 almplifier, Dahlquist DQ-10's, DQ-1W sub and Dual 721 turntable with the Pickering XSV-3000 cartridge.
New receivers every year made differences only I heard (most of my friends and relatives thought I was nuts when I asked if they heard anything different), but this high-end system opened up a whole new world I'm still very much part of today.
starting with the elecrophonic all in one with 8track for which i only had one or two tapes, i moved to a sony 5055 40wpc reciever, dual 1215 tt/shure m91e, and with great guidance from the salesguy at pacific stereo--the dynaco a25s.
the dynacos were the best part of the system.they stayed as i changed to the sherwood s8900a reciever (more power, better sound), rabco st4tt/adcXLM (WOW), dynaquad (i still use dynaquad for ambience recovery on all sources), another pair of a25s for the rear and then to stack in fromt for more impact.
a teac 4010GSL which i still have, various cassette decks including the akai that physicaly flipped the cassette over to side 2.
then i went to speparates-a quatre bod1c preamp which was excellent, and the spectro-acoustics p202 100wpc amp. i still have the spectro and am contemplating putting it back into the system. its dynamically accurate which must be experienced to understand.
later i got infinity monitor jr speakers which are still missed, rogers LS3/5As (also severely missed), then Fried RIIs, and now spendor s3/5s alternating with magnepan MMGs. amp is the adcom 555II, pre is audio research sp3a1 (updated to c).
i missed a few items inbetween but thats most of it. oyeah, tt is sota sapphire/mmt/fidelity research FR1 IIIf and grace f9e.
for the comploete rundown see:
Audio Asylum - Inmate Systems
I started out with a cheap Telefunken set.
When I had some money to spend, it became Denon along with Kef speakers.
This hasn't changed over the years, except that I bought newer models
I guess my first was for playing music from my computer and for playing back my recorded guitar licks:
M-Audio Firewire 400 Interface
Behringer TRUTH B2030A Monitors (pair)
Could really crank those suckers. Of course, it was all playing back 16-bit digital music from iTunes... not quite testing them to their capacity.
Then I got into vinyl after finding 200 old records in my parents' basement. I've been sitting on this setup ever since (~3 years):
Audio Technica AT-PL120 Turntable
Pioneer SX218 Receiver
I have dreams to go big, though...
Audio Technica ATPL120
Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11
Class-D Audio SDS-254
"... and engineers are now officially banned from all future philosophy conferences."
My first audio system in 1969, when I was 13, comprised a secondhand Garrard SP25 TT with a Shure cartridge, bought for £5 in a junk shop and 2 x RSC 15watt valve amplifiers running a pair of EL84 tubes each in push pull, these were built from a kit for the princely sum of £8-17s-6d each. Hooked up to this setup were two Stentorian 10" speakers rescued from an old radiogram and mounted in homemade plywood cabinets. I thought at the time that this system was the cat's pyjamas and kept it for about 3 years, when I really got bitten by the hi-fi bug. The rest, as they say, is history!
First system (1968): three piece Electrophonic unit with real wood! The speakers had 8" woofers and some smallish paper tweeters; the central console had a BSR turntable and an AM/FM MPX radio.
My first real system (1970): Kenwood KR-6160, Dual 1219, JBL L100 Century pair. The JBLs still play every week.
Currently, too many systems to list, but the top dog two channel system would be Oppo BDP-83SE, ATI 2003 (two of them), Outlaw 990 (balanced outs analog bypass w/ bass management), JBL S2S sub pair, JBL K2 S9900 pair.
First system I remember playing was a tube Heathkit set made by a friend's dad just before "solid state".
Speakers were probably an Altec variant and were HUGE.
During the day we would rock the house out when parents were gone. Mostly 45's.
My own systems came to me after my US provided vacation during that SE Asia adventure.
Since then, things have advanced on the equipment front as well as what I have learned.
This is my first of five required posts leading up to me being able asking a question too.
First system I purchased was in '70 at age 13. It was an Electrophonic 8 Track/receiver (aka brown goods). I quickly began the march to upgrades by replacing the speakers with Utah MK-17s purchased at the local Lafayette store. I started dreaming from there...
First "real" system came two years later with a Lenco L-75 turntable (currently a darling with the rim drive set) / Shure M91ED, AR Integrated Amp driving Advents. First pivotal moment came in '74 when I first heard Audio Research electronics driving Magneplanar Tympani IIIs with a Linn Sondek table / SME arm. That system was so far and away better than anything I had heard to that point. Another two years later, I met a TAS reviewer who had Dayton-Wright XG-8 full range electrostats. It was that experience that cemented my preference forever. I purchased my first electrostats - the Acoustat X - a year later.
The main system today reflects those preferences established long ago. And I still have a fondness for the original Advents with my vintage system where I run a double pair in the garage. For anyone who is interested, follow the "Systems" link for details.
Last edited by E-Stat; 01-28-2012 at 09:01 AM.
My first system consisted of a Dynaco SCA-35 intergrated amp, AR turntable with a Grado cartridge, Dynaco FM-3 turner, AR 4a speakers. For the past 50+ years I have spent a lot of money trying to experience the shear excitement and pleasure I felt when first listing to this system. It was superb by any standards.
i am late again to the party joe. i had the electrophonic "brown" goods. the veneer actually looks not bad. its just that the speakers and record player are of such poor quality.
fortunately, i went to pacific stereo and was well guided to a sony receiver (6055), dual tt (1215), and dynaco a25s.
things have changed a bit since then but the a25s were the best part of that setup.
My first system was a panasonic SA-PM07 micro system, not bad sound quality for the price at the time ($120). But in comparison to my current set up which isn't all too special it still sounds awful.
About 15 CDs and no Vniyl
Infinity RS 3 Bookshelf speakers
Onkyo TX-DS555 Receiver
Onkyo CDP-340 CD Changer
About 250 CDs and 500 Vinyls
Apogee Acoustics Grand
4x Krell KRS 200
4x Custom build Krell amplifiers
CAT SL1 Preamp
Monarchy Audio NM24
Monarchy Audio DIP Combo
Olive Audio 4 HD
Watec Analog Drive 3
Watec Analog Acrylic Arm
Watec Analog Magnetic String arm
Apogee Acoustics Caliper Signatures
Apogee Acoustics Stage
Custom Build Subwoofers (300lbs each)
A bunch of cables etc...
Lots of music but not enough time for it all
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