How did you get into this hobby?

I grew up listening to small boom boxes, never heard even a Mid-fi system.

When i joined the military, i first started seeing some component systems. Bass pumping, louder than the big bang.
I thought, "How cool"

Bought my first reciever a few months ago, and a couple low end speakers. Ever since then ive been upgrading.

Now my current system retails new at over 8k(everything included) paid under 6.5k, and with upgrades ive spend over 11k so far.

Been doing this for maybe 5 -6 years
I loved music from very young, and listened to hundereds of great LP's and 8-tracks with my older brother growing up. I loved working the buttons on our cheapo mini-system (late 70's). The seeds were planted.

Then, I watched my father build our first home system -- a receiver (Nikko), tape deck (Nikko), truntable, and two speakers (Advent). I read all the Stereo Review magazines that came into our house during that time and began dreaming (early 80's). Germination...

When CD's came out I used money from a summer job to buy one of the first trickle-down CD players and some cool silver discs (Peter Gabriel's "So" was my first CD). I hooked it up to the Nikko receiver in our house stereo. Sprouting...

In 1987 I bought my first system (Kyocera, Adcom, Magnepan).

Probably 7 sets of speakers, 5 different combinations of amplifiers, 10 different digital configurations, 10's of different kinds of cables, racks, power conditioners and the like later (and 15 years), and it goes on, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, -- Its been a great ride.
I found the tweeter in my mono 8-track player didn't quite meet my expectation.I took it apart and had my father take my to rat shack and picked up a couple and finally setted in on one I liked.That was thirty five years ago.It hasn't stopped.
Not unlike Kgvet, I wanted to hear the damn cymbals on my Yes Relayer LP, and my El Plastico Panasonic single driver speaks wouldn't do it. Cannibalized a set of exponential horn loaded tweets from a set of dead BIC speakers, glued those bad boys ontop, wired up a crude crossover and was off to the races. That was 1973 and the beat goes on.
When I was about 15, I was just dabbling into stereo when an audiophile friend of my parents loaned me (for about 6 months!) a pair of Janzen hybrid speakers with electrostatic tweeters. They were way beyond anything I could afford (if I recall, $700 back in 1975), but I could hear a huge differnce. I was hooked!
It began almost to the day my girlfriend left me! The interest was always there, but at the time I thought I would show her by taking up with a pair of really bad speakers.As it turned out, she was the one who had to show me how to hook them up-to tell me what a receiver was, and how to put together a system.In walking me through all this I really got to know her in a way I never bothered to before, and this is where a really solid & generous relationship began for us. I was always trying to fix her, and all along she was just waiting for a moment when she could rescue me.