Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tell us about your first time...

Ah, the first time we heard music reproduced on a hifi system. Magical it was. I remember it like it was yesterday. My older brother brought home his first stereo. A Kenwood receiver, Sony Turntable, and Kenwood loudspeakers. Those brands are pretty much crap now, but "back in the day" they were a very decent start to a budding audiophile's first system. I sat and watched with interest while he patched the turntable into the receiver, hooked the speakers up with what looked like lamp cord, and fired the system up for the first time. I believe it was an album from Heart (that should date me). The song was "Barracuda". I was blown away. I had never heard music sound so real. Of course my only prior reference was the Panasonic all in one system with the obscenely named "Thruster" loudspeakers. But to my credit, the Thrusters were a single driver loudspeaker with no crossover!

I would sit for hours (unbelievable for a 9 year old) listening to his music. Eventually I learned to run his system through watching him, and play what I wanted when he was gone. That was the source of more than a few sibling brawls. Good times. Simpler times.

If you feel so inclined, write a paragraph or two about your first time hearing hifi.


  1. It's been a long time but I think the first time I heard a good hi-fi was in about 1972 or so. I was about 12 years old and a friend of my parents was a hi-fi buff, not sure if audiophile was in use much back then.

    He had a pair of the larger Advent's, a Crown DC-300A, I think a Dynaco preamp and a Garrard table. Up to that point my audio consisted of stuff I'd pieced together from garage sales that I could talk my mother into bringing home. I had a Capehart console, mono and tubes of course, that had something like 16 5" drivers in the front. It wasn't awful but certainly wasn't what I heard with our friends system.

    I was immediately addicted and by the time I was 14 had an H.H. Scott integrated and tuner, an old Elac TT and an old Garrard TT, a Tech open reel and of course some DIY speakers with 12" drivers and horns salvaged from some old console. Garage sales were my salvation until I got a few years older and started earning decent money. :)

    I'm happy to say I'm still enjoying the journey and have some truly splendid reproduction of music in my home.

  2. I was about 13 and for the first time visiting the home of a school friend. His father was a first generation German émigré.

    The basement system was all-tube and populated with equipment bearing the names Telefunken, Rhode & Schwarz and Thorens.

    The music that day was what I know know to be first-generation pressings of classic jazz - Bill Evans on Riverside, Miles Davis on Columbia and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers on Blue Note.

    My life would never be the same ...

  3. I was about 12 when I got a job cleaning out the local small town movie theater on Sunday afternoons. The owner had taken an old telephone switch board as a way to connect a variety of pre amps, amps, turntables, reel to reels to a wall of tube amps in the room behind the switchboard. This was powering the wall of JBL drivers and Altec cabinets behind the screen as well as nearly 100 speakers in the ceiling and walls in the building. There was also a
    3' tall military surplus transformer that he used to clean up the ac. This was in the late
    60's btw. and showed me the difference on a scope and how to use it.
    You should have heard Jimi Hendrix on this with set up with the volume set on volume 9.9 (since everything blows at 10)!!
    This was the first time I heard about the size and type of wire used as speaker cable. The thickness of the insulater and what it did to the final sound.
    I was so hooked.
    By the time I turned 16 (1973)I had a pair of Altec Voice of The Theater speakers, a Pioneer integrated amp.(tube pre and solid state amp.) with seperate tuner. Thornes Turntable, and Akia reel to reel.

    I still have most of it out in my garage and will have it restored some day. Just can't ever bring myself to get rid of it.

    Still big love of mine. My wife fondly refers to my hobbie as 'Audio crack' and doesn't even try to get between me and my favorite pastime (addiction).