• 12-09-2005, 02:03 PM
    How did you get into the hobby of HT?
    I'm just wondering how everyone got into the hobby of HT? If you call it that.

    Just for fun. :D
  • 12-09-2005, 02:09 PM
    Are you sure that you want the whole story?
  • 12-09-2005, 02:14 PM

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    Are you sure that you want the whole story?

    Sure! Especially if there's a story behind it. I got a little story myself, I'll tell it later.
  • 12-09-2005, 02:33 PM
    Back in the 70's I had a friend going to college to be a sound engineer. One summer when he was home on break he got a job at Genesis Audio. Back then they had a guaranty on their speakers that they would never blow out no matter what you pumped through them. Needless to say, plenty of them blew out. So they had large quantities of replacement components on hand. My friend bought up a few at cost to build his own speakers. The end of summer came along but he never assembled his project. He talked me into trading him my Pioneers for this big box of "better" components. So I needed speakers that worked. I put them together as per the plans he left me. They worked great up until last winter. We had a flood in our basement and the particle board these were made out of gave up. I went on-line to find the best way to re-build them. They came out better this time. They sounded so good that I bought more component speakers and started another design. I wanted more, tighter base. Genesis is now long gone so I bought Legacy components. 12" subs in each sealed box 48"x15"x12". They look great! But they turned out way too bright. And my old 80wpc receiver couldn't drive them well. So now I had to upgrade the receiver. Hey, how about this new thing called home theater? Why just hook-up my VHS to a 2 channel receiver? Surround sound I think it's called. Looked at the Bose. They seemed ok but I wasn't going to jump in without researching. Seems they charge too much and give back too little. Better off with real speakers and a receiver I thought. First I wanted the Denon. Then Onkyo or HK. After a couple of months I had narrowed it down to either the Denon 3805 or the Yamaha RX-V2500. Went to Tweeter and listened to both. Heard a few others while I was at it. Ended up walking out with the Yammie in hand(s). Got it home and thought, "am I going to hook this bad boy up to my home made speakers?" No way, had to buy new ones. Enter the Infinity's. Throw in a new DVD/R with a hard drive and now I'm ready for real surround.

    And that's how life began.
  • 12-09-2005, 02:33 PM

    Originally Posted by L.J.
    Sure! Especially if there's a story behind it. I got a little story myself, I'll tell it later.

    OK, your turn. Spill it.
  • 12-09-2005, 04:11 PM

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    OK, your turn. Spill it.

    After I got married and moved into my first little apartment, I wanted some music. I went to a Sears type store in the bay area called Wards. My intentions were to buy a all in one unit(CD,Tape,Tuner). I get into the electronics section and didn't know where to start so I asked for help. You see, my world had pretty much consisted of a couple of boomboxes. Anyways, the salesman starts a little speech about buying separate components vs all in one units and gets into surround sound. First apartment = small budget. I left Wards with a open box Panny HTIB (Pro Logic) for $300. I hooked it up to my VCR and WOW. I thought it sounded so good. This was about 8 years ago.

    About a year after I got my Panny setup, my wife and I took a little trip to her dad's in AZ. Well I thought I had a nice little setup until he showed me his Pioneer Elite system. We watched Matrix and Saving Private Ryan. My little Panny setup was not a HT. He showed me what a DVD player was and talked about how to set everything up. As soon as we got back to Cali.....ZOOM.....straight to Circuit City. I picked up a JVC AVR and DVD player, Kenwood tape and CD player and a Yamaha speaker setup with a powered sub. My first DVD was The Matrix. I bumped my TV from a 27" to a 36".

    I was happy for a while but the little voices started talking to me. I started spending more time at CC and BB and wanted some tower speakers. I replaced my 3 front Yamaha's with Sony towers and a Sony center. And about 2 years after that I upgraded to another JVC AVR and upgraded all my speakers to Sony. I know, bad moves, but I had no clue. After about two years of that setup, I still felt something was missing. I had a buddy who got into HT and he was in love with Energy speakers. He also explained what I should look for in AVR's and quality brands to go with.

    About a year ago I started upgrading again little by little. This time around I had a good idea about what to look for. I started with my AVR. I researched and narrowed it down to Denon, Onkyo and HK. Well we know how that ended. I noticed a difference in sound but nothing like night and day. Next I went through a bunch of DVD players. I wanted a player with SACD playback and at the time only Marantz, Samsung and Denon offered it. (Well as far as I knew). We know how that ended. Lastly about 5 months ago I made the best upgrade of all, my speakers. This time I knew to check my options at stores such as Good Guys and Magnolia. I auditioned Boston Acoustics, Klispch and Energy. I had heard Energy at my friend house and liked em, plus the C-series was being replaced by the RC line, so I got my C-series setup at 50% off. A Energy sub got worked into the deal and there you go.

    After finding this site and learning soo much, I was able to calibrate my system correctly. The new speakers are still amazing to me. The biggest difference by far came from upgrading to some quality speakers. I've gone through most of my CD collection and DVD collection. It's so crazy, hearing all this stuff I never heard before. I threw a 57" TV in there and I'm one happy camper. So that's my story.
  • 12-09-2005, 05:22 PM
    I'm not a very good writer or typist for that matter but here is my brief tale....

    Ten years ago or so I bought a Denon 45 watt receiver, 5 disc carousel cd changer and a pair of floorstanding Klipsch speakers. I was completely satisfied with this "huge system" up until about 2 years ago when I discovered a place on our new first computer called Audiogon.
    I was fascinated by all the guys who talked about speakers, amps, and audio in general so after a couple months of reading and reading I signed up to become a member and have access to bluebook prices.

    A year ago I bought a 100 watt Denon stereo receiver with preouts as an upgrade in power so I thought, a couple months later my nephew hooked up my stereo and speakers to the tv and it was much better than the tv speakers. Next was the cylinder SVS subwoofer, couple months later two Klipsch RF7's, and a couple months later a used 120 watt Conrad Johnson Sonographe amp for a couple hundred bucks from our local dealer.

    Right now this sounds pretty darn good at lower to mid volumes and I once borrowed a 200+ watt Carver amp from the dealer and it sounded mucho better but the amp was old and cut out at lower volumes, so back it went. For the time being I'm on a restricted budget and daily I still drool over all the Gamut, Krell, McIntosh and many other amps and equipment at Audiogon. I would really like to try a tube preamp and a very high power S.S. amp.

    Our 1600 sq. ft. house has a smallish 12'X17' living room and two channel is plenty...and cheaper...... :)
  • 12-09-2005, 06:42 PM
    Great stories guys.

    Who's next? Step right up and tell us your story. Short stories & long stories are both welcome. The first step is admitting you are an HTaholic. I'll go first.

    Hi, my name is Michael, and I am, uhm, uh... an HTaholic. Oh man that feels good. What a relief.
  • 12-09-2005, 07:07 PM
    Interesting story GM. Building some speakers seems like a nice little project to get into. I may have to try it one day.

    Funny about the Bose. I listened to a Batman demo once at CC. It sounded OK to me, but the first thing I noted was the price. A couple of thousand for that. I just didn't care for them. I have never gave Bose a chance and it's always been due to the price. Later I find out, that everyone has that same opinion.
  • 12-09-2005, 07:23 PM
    Once upon a time, there was a little boy who annoyed the hell out of his parents because he insisted on going to the nice big movie theaters with the 70mm projectors and six-track sound systems.

    That was me, and I was 11 years old.

    My early experiences with movie theater sound are what eventually got me into the HT hobby. I was already a budding audio fanatic, messing around and tweaking with my parents' vintage Marantz/JBL system at age 9.

    When my dad inadvertently took me to the local big theater showing Superman: The Movie in 70mm six-track, little did he know what kind of a monster he was creating! I instantly noticed that the picture was bigger and clearer, I could actually understand all of the dialog, and the sound effects were not only shifting clearly from left to right, but from front to back as well. That was the first time I ever heard a movie in anything other than low fidelity analog optical, and how much better the sound made the moviegoing experience was very obvious to me.

    I did not know anyone with a Laserdisc player (which in 1978 really was the birth of the modern home theater because it was the first source available to consumers with almost full bandwidth stereo sound -- predating both stereo TV and hi-fi VCRs by five years), but a friend of mine was handy with a soldering iron, so he patched the leads from the little 3" speaker on the front of the TV into his parents' rack system, and instantly, you had a dramatic upswing in sound quality. (Of course, little did we know how dangerous it actually was fiddling around the innards of a TV set)

    Fast forward to 1979, when another friend's mom decided to splurge and spend $800 on one of Mitsubishi's early VCRs. The thing weighed about 50 lbs., was a top-loader and had this bizarre design where the remote had to be detached from the front of the unit and doubled as its only set of buttons (of course, this meant that if you lost the thing, you no longer had any access to the VCR's functions). Well, that VCR also had a little bit of magic called an "AUDIO OUT" plug. Wow! A plug that allowed us to hook the VCR up to the stereo system and enjoy full range sound from all 10 of our local TV channels, WITHOUT having to break out any soldering irons or disassemble any parts of the TV!

    Go forward now to 1983. By now, I was a nuisance/occasional paying customer at local audio stores, and Stereo Review subscriber. In one of the issues, I saw Julian Hirsch's review of Sony's first hi-fi VCR. I'd heard demos of the first stereo VHS VCRs when they came out the year before, and even though they had mediocre sound quality, I wanted one because my first demo was Star Wars and I wanted to hear space battles going from one ear to the other! Well, my parents decided to go with Betamax in 1982, which had no stereo models at that time. I was incredulous when they did that! I couldn't believe that we were stuck with a mono-only format!

    THEN came Beta Hi-Fi ... oh my, I dropped to the floor when I read about that format -- not only stereo, but full bandwidth with a higher dynamic range than every other consumer audio format available at that time (CDs had not yet come to the U.S. at that time). So, I sold my parents' Betamax and contributed $200 from my savings, and now, I had my first full-fledged home theater component.

    Right around this time, something started entering the movie theater rhelm and it was called THX. Now, I thought that the sound quality at my local 70mm movie theaters was already impressive with the big subwoofers and arrays of surround speakers. But, my first exposure to THX was mindblowing. Once I got over the "Audience Is Listening" THX trailer (in 1984, that trailer opened up a LOT of ears!), I was stunned by what I heard. Not only was the imaging as precise and sound quality as clean as a good home stereo system, the sound from the back was seamlessly blended into the front soundstage with clear directionality in the surround channels. I was now spoiled for life -- watching movies in stereo would never be good enough again.

    Living in L.A. and constantly watching movies in 70mm at state-of-the art THX theaters (at that time the certification meant a lot more than it does now) meant that I was never impressed with the two-channel matrixed Dolby Surround/Pro Logic-based home theater systems that were introduced in the mid-80s. To my ears, it never represented enough of a leap over stereo to invest in it, so I kept a two-channel setup at home, hoping that something better would come along. And it would take a while before that something came along.

    Fast forward to 1992-93, this was the introduction of theatrical Dolby Digital and DTS. Considering that I'd already been feasting on the plentiful 70mm six-track presentations that screened around L.A. for about 14 years, DD and DTS were no big deal to me because the sound quality of 70mm mag striped prints was every bit as good if not better than those lossy digital formats. In fact, I thought it was a step backwards because the theaters formerly showing 70mm mag striped prints were now going with 35mm digital prints, reducing the image quality. But, for parts of the country that did not regularly get 70mm prints, DD and DTS were a huge deal because for the first time, moviegoers in just about any town could now experience full range 5.1 surround sound. This led to the big breakthrough ...

    My countdown to home theater began in 1994 when I picked up an issue of a then-new publication called Widescreen Review and read about the pending introduction of Laserdisc players with Dolby Digital output. THIS was what I was waiting for! Full bandwidth, six discrete channels, split surrounds, oh yes! But, the enthusiasm was dampened when I read the prices on the disc players, the DD-encoded movies, and the receivers needed to decode the DD signals (not to mention all those extra speakers). After the components came out, I went to a local store, got the Terminator 2 Laserdisc demo, and that was that. My next audio upgrade would include 5.1 ... once the prices went down far enough.

    Well, the Laserdisc prices never came down too far, and neither did the receiver prices. It wasn't until the introduction of the DVD in 1997 that 5.1 DD began to move its way into the midlevel price points. At that point, I was waiting my turn for the DVD format to mature a bit more in the market. Then in 2000, the price points on DVD players dipped below $400, it was time to go shopping! The two-year process of building my system is outlined below.


  • 12-09-2005, 08:49 PM
    Wow Wooch, that's one heck of a story. You are a very patient person. I learned the hard way and wasted some money, but O well, that's been my life story anyway.
  • 12-09-2005, 09:17 PM
    When I was in high school back in the 70's my father bought a drop-front stereo record player with detachable speakers (4" woofer and horn tweeter). Later that year he bought a stereo cassette recorder and I discovered I could make direct recordings to the cassete by connecting directly to the record player's speakers and not have background noise. That started a lot of experimentation. Later I discovered I had an uncle who was into audio. He gave me my first raw drivers which went into my first speaker project.

    Several years later, after purchasing my first stereo system (Kenwood 4070 receiver, Sharp 3388 computer-controlled cassette deck, Large Advent speakers with rounded Pecan trim) my uncle died leaving me his audio equipment including DIY speaker systems. He said I could sell anything I wanted, but had to use the proceeds only for audio-related gear or media. I decided to purchase a pair of Legacy Focus speakers, Legacy Silver Screen center, Yamaha RX-V2095 receiver and T&A P-30 for rear speakers. With this system I was in love with Home Theater.

    My interest in audio led to a job with CBS as an electronic's technician responsible for audio alignment of the 1/2" and 1" mastering sytems, and EQ of QC playback and A/B eqiuipment (compares masters to product). After CBS left the Terre Haute, Indiana in area 1981 I went into computers, but never stopped my interest in audio, only now it's a very enjoyable hobby.
  • 12-10-2005, 05:29 AM
    Wooch, great story!

    Bfalls, Legacy huh? nice! What's not to love?
  • 12-10-2005, 06:26 AM
    Geez, if your life passes before your eyes like this, does it mean that it's almost over? I don't do dates well. But through the 70s and into the 80s, I still passed much of my time as a musician. Like a lot of musicians (not the smart ones), I had exposure to good audio equipment, and appreciated it like crazy, but didn't pursue it. I was, however, always a huge film buff, even as an idiot teenager. Like Wooch, I was absolutely floored by 70 mm films--Lawrence of Arabia, Mutiny on the Bounty, How the West Was Won, 2001.

    By the mid-80s, When films entered the household via tape, I was hooked--bad. I went on a quest to get the best video equipment that I could afford. At that time, a 32-inch TV was considered HUGE, and I went through them like wildfire, looking for those with the best picture and the best connection suite. NEC made a solid monitor in those days. Proton followed. The Proscans, however, were considered the cream of the readily available crop. And so onward went the equipment parade through the revolving door. So far as audio for film was concerned, I took to wiring my livingroom with a 5 speakers and a sub just as soon as it became possible, with all sorts of Rube Goldberg-ish mounting strategies for surround speakers, which were then a novelty and rarely the same as the fronts. NEC made an early Dolby Pro Logic processor that suited me well until someone stole it, but it wasn't long before I heard the siren song of Lexicon and other dedicated audio companies as the quest continued. As I tried to squeeze as much quality out of my monitors as possible, I couldn't resist tweaking; I have the shocks and burns to prove it.

    I adopted the laserdisc format within minutes of its arrival, and was immediately transported to heaven. We had a wonderful place to buy disks in my area (the late lamented Sight & Sound) run by two enthusiasts (one of them a classical musician), and it had EVERYTHING, supplying a lot of the professional film community--at least until California became a hot spot as well. I followed every technical improvement of the format, until laserdisc breathed its last, which wasn't too long into the DVD era. Particular high points that I can recall were James Cameron's The Abyss, which came out in various versions, but had a look and sound that set the standard, and Ridley Scott's Alien, which came out first in a version so visually dark and sonically muddy that when its final incarnation on LD arrived, it was like another film altogether, a true revelation. Criterion was the most respected name in LD, not only for offering consistent quality but also for bringing out obscure films that often had no other outlet. Criterion almost singlehandly invented the extras that DVD lovers take for granted now. Criterion's 2001 and Blade Runner packages are still legendary. In those days, we couldn't afford to be blase. The incremental changes were pioneering.

    At this time, I was well into high-end audio, part of a technical and listening community associated with a particular store. We delved into what made audio and video products tick, and sampled many different A/V components in blind, and not so blind, listening and viewing tests. Sometimes we just listened to music and watched films on the best equipment at hand. Vidikron, Wadia, Meridian, Krell, and others got a huge workout in those days. The CRTs with the 9-inch guns will not fade easily into memory.

    I'm tired now.

  • 12-10-2005, 09:04 AM
    Sounds like I started much the same as the above posters. Loved the movies (theater....the bigger the screen the better!), and loved quality sound. My first car ('76 Camaro) was "decked-out" with car stereo. And some of my earliest (and most vivid!) recollections of movies on the BIG screen were from the mid '70's (Bonnie & Clyde and Return to the Planet of the Apes). I was facinated with audio & big screens (theater).

    The '80's MTV revolution. I saw a friend connect 2 speakers to his TV (via external reciever) and MTV IN STEREO! I tried and.....I liked! That really began the quest for a Multi Media Room.

    Enter MANY years and MANY upgrades. My first EARNEST attempt was much the same as L.J.'s & happened in the mid-'90's. Mongomery Wards, clearance rack, I didn't know what the hell I needed. Came home with Sony (seperate's) "rack" system consisting of AVR (5.1 DD), Dual-Cassette, 4-head Hi-Fi VCR, 5-Disk CD carousel. They "threw-in" a pair of Sony Surrounds, and I found a pair of JBL Towers (blow-out clearance!) for L/R, and bought a Best Buy "special" no-name Center Channel. Now comes the REALLY GOOD PART......a 27" Sony Trinitron!!!!!!!!!! That was a BIG SCREEN in the mid 90's! I will never forget coming home that night with my back seat full of gear......I really thought my wife was going to kill me. Little did she know what lay ahead, for this setup mearly tweeked my appetite.

    I slowly upgraded all the sound system, and upgraded the monitors when I moved to different houses: Mits 46", then Mits 65" (which I now have in my bedroom).

    3 yrs ago I got 133" 16:9 Screen with HD Projection, which I have in a dedicated Multi-Media Room with 7.1 Surround, Flagship Denon AVR, Flagship Definitive Technology L/C/R, HD-VCR, HD-Satelite (more than 20 HD-Channels), DVD-Audio, and 4 subs that deliver than 5k watts.

    This is a hell-of-a-hobby, I have had fun beyond belief during the journey, I love where I have gotten to and feel contentment. I am FINALLY satisfied and happy to say that I am no longer bitten by the "upgrade bug"! Now I can look forward to "adding" components as they enter the market ie, HD DVD.

    Great question GM, and enjoyable reading how others stories are not that different than mine.

  • 12-10-2005, 10:29 AM
    Thanks, all the stories have been fun to read. But the credit for the question goes to L.J.

    Thank you L.J.

    Who's next? Don't be shy. Old regulars to first time posters are welcome. Maybe even a moderator or two might grace us with a story.
  • 12-10-2005, 11:06 AM

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    Thanks, all the stories have been fun to read. But the credit for the question goes to L.J.

    Thank you L.J.

    Who's next? Don't be shy. Old regulars to first time posters are welcome. Maybe even a moderator or two might grace us with a story.

    Nice Stories. They all seem to have happy endings too. HT is a great hobby to be into.
  • 12-10-2005, 12:17 PM
    fun post here is my life's story
    A long time ago in a galaxy.... actually my father while not an audio buff always had a decent setup, I remember the large reel to reel tape player which he recorded what seemed like 8 hours of music on each tape. Then he had a basic Technics receiver which he would play on one half of one on the volume setting. And then while I was in high school got my own mini seperate component Pioneer system which was actually sounded good and looked even better which I took to college.

    After a few years in college circa 1985 a new roomate had a high end system with seperate amps placed on the floor next to each speaker. He had ESS two ways not sure of the model a $900 Denon turntable we always teased him about because it was so expensive and he was so anal about it, he also had a seperate dbx sound processor anyway a great system for college parties etc... Another college friend had yamaha seperates B&O turntable and the very large Maggies which look like room partions in the small living room anyway I was hooked after listening to these systems.

    My method for buying my system while still in college was to go the best high end stores and buy there cheapest stuff and even some used items. I ended up with a Luxman integrated amp (couldn't quite get into seperates yet) a B&O turntable (very cool) a luxman cassette deck where the hole front panel recesses as soon as you turn it on (even cooler than the B&O turntable) and then finally a Bozack satellite speaker setup with subwoofer remember subs were very uncommon in the mid 80's. It took me two summers of work but this was a great set up but was also a compact system for all the moving you do in college. I still have all the components although only the luxman integrated amp is hooked up and still use weekly.

    My first purchase after college 1987 while in an apartment was a 20" Mit tv and a sony 5 disk cd player. I still use the Mit tv in the bedroom daily it is almost 20 years old but even more amazing the Sony CD player is still going strong in my rec room. Is this where that saying they don't build them like they used to comes from?

    So now I was in my first house and had what back then in 1989 was a home theater with a hifi NEC vcr and a 27" Mit TV. Playing Pink FLoyd The Wall with 12 people over one day nobody had heard home theather that good or maybe it was something else that added to the experience that day however this was still with all my old college components and I was still very satisfied as the pro logic at the time didn't really seem all that great and laserdiscs were sooo expensive and I couldn't rent them so my system stayed as it was for many years. I only purchased about 5 vhs movie tapes as I didn't think they were worth buying.

    Now into a new house duel income no kids it was time to upgrade in 1994, so I went with parasound seperates with the biggest amp they made and the big paradigm studio monitors speakers. was I compensating for something? This was still a 2 channel setup and movies still sounded great even without surround sound. Parts of my old college setup where now in the bedroom and I started my electronics graveyard of components that I loved but alas would not use again. this included the old bozack speakers, the lux cassette deck etc...

    Well finally in 2000 I got a dvd player center channel and processor and a Marantz 60inch TV and added my parasound preamp to the electronic graveyard in the office. I also added DISH was is great.

    And finally just this year I downsized the large studio monitors with bookshelf speakers and got a nice wall unit for all the equipment and got a new dvd player that will play all my discs I record on the computer jpeg's etc.. and to simplify my system I added my parasound cd player to yes the electronic graveyard. also added my first DISH reciever to the graveyard as I upgraded to their digital recorder.

    So this is my mature adult setup and my only other upgrade I plan on for a long time will be a HD TV, but I imagine we have all said that before.

    What makes this post fun it that it is great to reminise about your early days with stereo. I still have all my old receipts even though there is no point in keeping them except for the memories.
  • 12-10-2005, 01:14 PM
    Nice story! Some of the things you brought out are so true. I'm still using my original JVC VCR, my original JVC DVD player in my kid's playroom, my first little Panny pro logic system and first Kenwood CD player have garage duty and my 36" JVC TV is in my bedroom. All these products are anywhere from 6 to 11 years old and they all still work perfectly fine.(Yes I use to have a thing for JVC). Your right, they don't make em like they use to. I've had several DVD players go bad on me, but I'm still using my one orginal VCR thats 11 years old. How crazy is that.

    What's funny is that I have all my receipts too.
  • 12-10-2005, 01:26 PM
    I was always a 2-channel until I heard, of all things, a Bose HT system that totally blew me away. If memory serves it was only a pro-logic system, and I think Braveheart was the demo. I'll say 1996, but I could be off by a year or two...saved up my money and bought a Sony, then later a Technics a/v receiver and some PSB alpha speakers. Wicked.
  • 12-10-2005, 04:02 PM
    Great stories everyone!

    Anybody else gotta nice lil story to tell?

    How did you get into HT?
  • 12-10-2005, 04:46 PM
    My first recollection of HT was "Midway" presented in "Sense-Surround" (sp). Ha! We had some sweet quadraphonic 8-tracks, too.

    Jeez, get me going... Since I can remember, I was always tearing into radios. Old tube portables and the big furniture consoles. We opened them up and messed with them. When I found an old turntable was missing a needle, I literally bent a straight needle and wedged it in. It worked. I was sure to make it nice and sharp on the grinder first. We destroyed a nice collection of original 45's that way. The little wisps of vinyl should have told me someting. I ripped the speakers/doors off one of the units, cut them down to size and stuck a tweeter in them. Stripped the paint off and put some varnish on. Early DIY project with parts from Radio Shack. My brother got a transistor radio, which was really cool. I ripped the drivers out of any garage sale consoles I could find. Eventually, I ran wires down the hall so I could run my bedroom speakers du jour off the parents stereo. I would put the radio on while running the turntable. The auto-off function would turn off the whole thing when the record was over. That was my nite timer.

    I did lawns and saved money. My first receiver was a Realistic model that was the receiver match to the Minimus-7. Remember those? It was sweet. I went through a number of speakers. I always read the local papers for equipment for sale. I was a whore at the stereo stores. I remember a HUGE Fisher control amp and a Marantz "gyro" tuner. My big moment was the day the top-of-the-line Realistic tower speakers went on sale 2-for-1. I got mine and had Mom drive them home in the back of the station wagon. Those lasted a long time, eventually going to college, where they were melted down repeatedly. I learned to have driver re-coned and up-sized the inductors in the crossovers. I eventually got a Carver amp and Peavy cabinets with dual 15-inch drivers and horns. College.

    I treated myself to Vandersteen 2Ci's when I graduated college in 1991. Same Carver amp. I had the same until recently. Growing up and getting married does little for your toy collection.

    I am still a 2-channel music guy. I cannot help it. However, I do like the occasional movie and want it to sound great as well.

    a long, strange trip indeed.

  • 12-10-2005, 07:58 PM
    A Tribute to my Father!

    based on a true story! (long version)

    I guess you could say I was born into the audiophile two channel audio world. In the early sixties, after my father graduated from Purdue as an electrical engineer, he enlisted in the military (not much choice at that time). He was transferred from Chicago where he was born and raised to what was then called Sandia Base in the Alburquerque, New Mexico area. He worked in White Sands, Los Alamos, and other sites that were at the time, unmentionable except by the native ranchers. This spawned a background in nuclear work and after his second go with the "army", my father went to work at the Southwest Research Foundation. What a fascintating place for a young boy. The research here was in every area imaginable and I probably had some of the most fascinating pets of any kid in the neighborhood (lab animals up to and including baboons!!!!)

    My fathers career was taking off and he was offered a job for a new upstart company called Computer Corporations of America, here in Houston Texas in 1968ish. (Don't worry, I am getting there soon.....) I was only five or six and oblivious to the risks my father was taking with this new venture. Once again, incredible cutting edge technology for the time. Radioactive isotope applications, the first CAT scan hardware for the Veterans Administration, Radioactive isotope sterilization programs of the medfly in S. America, low level analog to digital signal conversion, etc., etc. , etc.

    I do not recall what exactly happened (not too much was ever said to date) but the company started having financial problems and eventually dissolved. My understanding was that my father had options in the company, in lieu of a high salary and so he went almost a year towards the end without a pay check.

    Well, at the time, they were also doing work for G.E.\Altec (now I have your attention) and had two Valencias and an early version of a Harman Kardon tube amp receiver (very rare even then) on site. My father took the audio system, in compensation for lost pay when the company finally collapsed.

    I too was a movie buff and living in Houston also provided some of the earliest experiences of surround sound. TV's were still far behind and very expensive. I recall only one TV in the house until I was about 10 or 11. The second tv went in the kids room (a 13" B&W Zenith that still works today!) As pointed out earlier, no real way to hook up to a receiver to get sound from your speakers but I kept my eye open for technologies and would put a bug in my fathers ear about the new 4 track (yes, I said 4 track, not 8 track tape for you young folk) tapes coming out and other audio "revolutions".

    Now, it did not take me too long to realize after doing some research to find out more about the Altecs (since no manual was provided) and to discover that the awesome sound I was hearing in the theaters was probably a very similar design that was sitting in my family's family room. The H&K probably did not put out more than 15 X 2 watts, but that was more than sufficient to make my parties the hit of the neighborhood (or the bain of the neighbors, depending on your viewpoint). Needless to say, my parents were never informed of these forays but I am sure they suspected it.

    Well, I grew up (depends on who you ask) and moved away from home. Audio and Video took a back seat to a little thing called survival. For several years I struggled (worked as a light engineer and traveled with several bands) until I got married, went to college, and got a job. Really a good time to be poor in terms of timing. Video was still far from perfect or inexpensive. My wife and I upgraded our second Zenith 19" color to a Marantz 27", my first good TV. I also bought a VCR and hooked it up to an Akai receiver I had and enjoyed it for what it was in stereo.

    My next upgrade was a Proscan 27" and a matching VCR with TV Guide PLUS!!!!! I had been eyeing some of the new receivers with Dolby Prologic and when my father called me to ask what he should buy to replace the unrepairable H&K for his house, I suggested the Technics GA SX-910 receiver. Now this was cutting edge at the time and was way out of my budget, but it was fate that my father needed a replacement. I went over the technical specs with my dad and told him that I was speculating on the digital optical inputs and the digital video tape inputs but the phantom center was going to make his system really shine when watching tv\movies.

    Now you have to remember that tube amps were the norm before I left home, but solid state was becoming the thing to have. I helped my father install the new receiver and I have to say that it was a completely different sound. One with unperceptable distortion and what I considered a leap in sound quality over that old tube amp component!

    Blasphemy, you say?

    Back then, there was no such thing as a clean tube amp. Some would argue there is no such thing at all now!!!! I have to admit, I have not listened to some of the latest tube amps available today but to me, I will take SS over a tube any day. Horn speakers do not like distortion, and with what little electronics knowledge I have, a tube will always generate distortion, no matter how "new" the technology. But, if that is what you like, to each his own. I liken this discussion to those I have had with my dad over which caliber of hand gun is more effective for self defense. My father, being old school will argue that the 45 semi automatic 1911 Colt military issue is the best. I point to evidence to the contrary, pointing out that the new, lighter ammo and the high capacity 9mm or 357 magnums are the way to go (no over-penetration for better energy transfer). In both instances, they are well suited for their jobs and it really boils down to preference.

    As my career advanced and I became economically secure, I agreed to remodel the house for my wife if I got a home theater. I was at an audio\video boutique store and saw my first front projection system with a 100"+ screen. That was the turning point for my latest design.

    My father has since taken ill and I now have the Altecs and the Technics receiver in my upstairs bedroom. It was my primary audio system for a while until this remodel. I tried to find a solution that would incorporate the Valencias but to no avail. So, I did the next best thing, I purchased a complete Klipsch Reference Series system including the RSW 15.

    A-B comparisons are incredible. The new Klipsch speakers give the Altecs a real run for their money on the top end. I regretfully report that the Klipsch system edges out the Altecs on the bottom end. I guess I would have to clarify that this is not a fair fight, six speakers against two, but it does say something about both mfgs.

    I love the sound of a horn loaded speaker and every time I listen to either system, it brings back fond memories of my childhood, the movie theaters, traveling through every college town in the US playing small venues, and my father.

    Thanks Dad!!!!

    P.S. I want to thank everyone in this forum that helped me through this latest project. Your advice and guidance has really made a huge difference and I can not thank all of you enough. I have attached a link for those who would like to see the finished product.

    Happy Holidays!!!

  • 12-11-2005, 05:36 AM

    What a beautiful house and room. It takes your breath away. Congratulations.

  • 12-11-2005, 07:49 AM

    Originally Posted by edtyct

    What a beautiful house and room. It takes your breath away. Congratulations.


    I really appreciate the acknoledgement from those on this forum. Only you guys can truly appreciate what it took to design and build this room. I am glad my wife insisted on hiding all the wires. It really makes the room look clean.