How did you get started in this hobby

As a college kid, my roommate had KLH speakers, the Beatles Sgt. Peppers came out and homegrown Flemington flash came on the scene. My eyes were opened along with my ears. I visited a local audio store Audiolab and another not too far away Soundex. The effect on my listening, I was stunned by what I was hearing and how the management just let me listen to all the gear knowing I was just window shopping. I'll never forget Soundex( out by Willow Grove Pa)  letting me listen to all their rooms at different price points and more than a few occasions.One room had $30,000 each in electronics and $100,000 speakers. Well, I could not afford even the entry-level stuff but again my horizon was broadened. So off I went to NYCity with my roommate in tow. I ran into an audio store while he waited in the car and asked the sales guy what I could buy with the meager dollars I had. I picked up a pair of AR speakers, and a Dual Turntable, my roommate had an old HH Scott that was in his father's food store that did not work. I got it fixed for free by the teacher of the electronics class in my High school where  I would occasionally substitute teach ( babysit) to get beer money for college Thursday night beer sessions at the Extension bar.

Much later a fellow employee who was an audiophile got me connected with his buddy an audio salesman who sold me his Snell c2 mk.2 speakers and another of his friends who was looking to sell his Adcom GFP 400 pre amp/tuner and GFA 555 amp along with thick monster cable. Adcom was just starting up around 1980 and was thirty minutes away in New Brunswick NJ. For a box of donuts, they went over my gear and made some changes to the amp and preamp. I remember their CD player had a tendency to jump if vibrated that was fixed as well all while I waited for  just for a box of doughnuts.  Woo that was my system for almost 40 years.  I wanted something different, I found out about Audiogon and bought within a week a Technics SU G 700  and Canton speakers about two years ago at tremendous savings from local audiophiles one in bucks county near New Hope Pa., and another in Freehold NJ. That's my story. from start to finish.

Based on what I've seen here I am not an audiophile but someone just interested in listening to good music with good gear at good savings and who is intrigued by the character ( good and bad) I see on here and the stellar systems they have.


I remember Audiolab very well. I heard and was amazed by Celestion SL6 speakers there for the first time. They had nice gear and were helpful.

A friend at university, Neil, introduced me to his system that was built around the NAD 3020. We’d sometimes go back to his after playing snooker. On the way there there we often passed what seemed to be a high end Hi-Fi store nr New Cavendish St.

I can’t recall Neil’s turntable, it might have been a Dual, but I do recall him playing me LPs of The Planets by Holst and the The Four Seasons by Vivaldi.

All pleasant enough though I might have preferred Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

I also remember him making me tea via a strainer and as for the spectacular nights view of Marylebone Road from his flat, well that was unforgettable.

Before too long I had ordered a brochure from NAD and I was off.

I’ve still got that brochure somewhere, for some sentimental reason I could never bear to part with it.


All of this reminiscing reminds me just how daunting those few steps into separates Hi-Fi were back then. Not only was there a world of music lying undiscovered before me, there was also the world of separates audio too.

Simply enchanting and bewildering at the same time.

  I started so far back, there was only one speaker to contend with. I was told that if I could fix the Magnavox upright console, it was mine. Couple days later, I was on the way. Probably only 10 years old, but this was a good start for me.

Rewind to 1975, I’d just inherited my Dad’s ‘69 Galaxie 500 and needed better than an AM radio for cruising around.  There was a magazine ad for a Pioneer 8 track player with Dolby.  I had to acquire it!  Along my search for the gadget, my interest was diverted to a Teac A-450 cassette deck, then a “Monster Receiver” (SX-1250), then a pair of Infinity QLS-1s.  Didn’t score the Infinitys but I wound up with a sweet little pair of JBL L65s which have consistently fit both my sonic wants and my lifestyle to a tee for more than 44 years now and utilized with a myriad of amps and sources I probably wouldn’t have given a second thought to if that picture of the hippie dude holding the Pioneer 8 track unit (“with actual Dolby noise reduction”!) in that copy of National Lampoon didn’t work its marketing magic on me all those eons ago.

It was back in the Jurassic Age of this hobby ..,, maybe around the same time as General George Washington was hunkered down with the Colonial troops at Valley Forge.

ok …. a little more direct timeline would be the early 70’s with a vast new experience in a university dorm listening arena, packed with beer, booze and broads. Add into the mix a roommate with the same refined audio tastes that demanded a superior tunes reproduction system , and t was hooked for life.

land our dorm room was thus the dorm floor Command Central gathering place many Friday nights

It quickly morphed into a MARANTZ 2245 receiver, ELAC MIRACORD TT, SHURE V15 cartridge and JBL L100 monitors banging out that bespoke California sound .

Hobby!!!???? For me this isn't a hobby. Its part of my life. I can't remember when I didn't love music. I spent my allowance $$$ on 45's when I was 8-9 yrs old. In my 20's we moved around a lot and the 1st thing to go into the P/U truck was my stereo and my drums.. It was the 1st thing set up when we arrived at the new place. I started an all out assault in about 2k because I wanted to see where it lead. How much better can the music sound? This is the best I've had and it sounds great. I'm often surprised at the idea that this is a hobby. Its little wonder that many drop out of this hobby after a while. Thats the nature of hobbies. I've had lots of, motorcycles, hunting, models, poker, etc etc. They all went by the wayside. music never has. As REO said, "Can't you see I'll always be a music man"


Hobby!!!???? For me this isn't a hobby. Its part of my life. I can't remember when I didn't love music ... I'm often surprised at the idea that this is a hobby. Its little wonder that many drop out of this hobby after a while. Thats the nature of hobbies. I've had lots of, motorcycles, hunting, models, poker, etc etc. They all went by the wayside. music never has.

+1, @artemus_5. For me, music and audio is actually a lifestyle. And you're right about those who "drop out" of audio because for them, it was just a hobby. Having a passion for music is something other than a "hobby."

It started with the Beatles "Meet the Beatles" on my cheap GE all in one portable player.  My parents bought an all in one Magnavox big stereo "box".  My first purchased system was Dahlquist DQ10 speakers, Mcintosh 2205 amp, C28 pre amp and an B&O 4002 turntable.  It's still evolving. 

@artemus_5 ​​​@cleeds


+1 For me as well… a lifetime pursuit… something constant through career changes, partners, lifestyle changes, where I lived.


I always had state of the art audio systems and a huge music library when I was out four wheel driving 12 hours a day all over the Southwest as a geologist. I had a 100 wpc system in my motel room with detachable speakers in Beatty, Elko, and Eureka Nevada…. Across Arizona, New Mexico… etc.

In airplanes I had separate earphones, DACs and amps across Europe, Asia and Mexico for decades… I collected all sorts of local music when living in Japan and Scotland. As technology advanced I had access to thousands of albums as I worked in China and Mexico… Portugal… on and on. I got some $1,000 bills in mainland China for overusing cellular data. Fortunately I was an executive by then and the company covered it.

Yeah, hobby would be somewhat of an understatement in my case. Also, to me the rewards far exceed just a hobby. I put on a Celtic album and I am swept to the North shore of Scotland where I hiked down to the water without seeing anyone for hours… and in the distance someone played the bagpipes… music triggers emotional responses back into rich experiences.


Then there has been my home systems.

My first "system" was a crystal radio with ear plug, back in 1965.  I went to sleep every night with that plug in my ear.  For me, that journey has never stopped.  It happens, not that it matters, that I now have a very high end system.  None of my friends or most everyone I've ever met are "audiophiles" (whatever that means), and they don't share my passion for music.  Sometimes when people are in my home they will show an interest my my stereo, and I will say sit right here and let me show you just how good music can sound.  How it can be an emotional experience.  I'll say just close your eyes and let it wash over you for the next 5 minutes.  I might play a duet of acoutic guitars.  It never fails to amaze me how most of them will only sit for about two minutes before losing interest and getting out of the chair.  And there in lies the difference between most of the good folks on this forum, and the great unwashed masses of humanity.  They just don't share our passion for the music.  🤣.  Now, loving beautiful equipment is another story onto itself...........


re: Crystal radio set. Yep, me too, about the same time. My father strung the wire between two trees in the front yard, and ran it into my bedroom window to the radio itself. It fascinated me, and, I too, used to fall asleep finding a station that interested me, and most all did.

Then it was the old console radio/stereo set we had. Again, fascinated by it, and spinning LP’s at a very young age.

So, it always interested me, and I always sought out the best gear I could get for the money I had. I wasn’t really influenced by my friends, as most just had ‘normal’ stuff in their bedrooms. I realized I had a pretty decent setup in my first dorm suite in college, but also became interested in some other folks equipment who shared the same interests as I.

Started getting serious in the. 80’s, but work life took over, and just dealt with mostly the same stuff for a long time until only the last few years, when I decided to dedicate myself to it fully. When I brought up my old Kenwood 2055 TT from basement storage, well, that’s when it just got crazy. Now, I’m amazed of the sound of my music I’ve been able to achieve.

But really, the gut fascination is the same as that 7 year old kid and his crystal radio set. Just a bit more complex now 😉


A Tiny Tim crystal radio was my first "personal" piece of gear (around 1959, or so) and I still have it.

It doesn't work now, but I assume that the original ear plug/piece may be the problem.

My father would borrow it during heavy storms, which knocked out power, in order to get updates on local tornadoes (central Iowa in the late 50's early 60's).

It was eventually superseded by a battery powered transistor radio that my older sister received as a gift.



I was happily settled into the modest Kenwood receiver/Garrard Record Changer system my dad gave me when I was about eleven when I visited my buddy in college at Berkeley.  I was so wowed by his tiny B&O speakers, when I returned to my hometown of L.A. I began haunting stereo stores. After a few false starts, I settled into a NAD 3020, a Denon turntable with a Shure M-92 cartridge, and KLH 17 speakers. When one of the KLH's went south from a torn tweeter, I hunted down a pair of Celestion SL600's. Naturally, one of the Celestion's tweeters eventually blew, too, but I soldered/screwed in a new one myself and listened happily for several more years. BTW, I never played my stereo loudly. I just seemed to have horrendous tweeter karma. Addendum -- Celestion gamely replaced the blown tweeter at no charge, but they informed me to fugget about it if I blew another.

@artemus_5 and @bigtwin pretty much told my story through theirs. At 56 years of age, I can't remember not having been into music, with focus on the quality of its reproduction. It all started when I was about 4 or 5 with a single-speaker portable record player and children's 45rpm records.

After many years of collecting records and getting decent results by fiddling around with whatever components I could get my hands on, I landed a pair of Proac Studio 1 speakers when I was in my mid-20s, added a McIntosh C20 preamp, and experienced sound imaging for the first time. Since then, and most recently through the Covid period, I've invested considerably into all components (including wiring) and couldn't be happier with the experience I'm having in my listening sessions.

As @artemus_5 suggested, it's more than anything a way of life for me... 

That's amazing how many of us had a crystal radio set. I had one as well and it taught me a meaningful lesson when I was about 10 and wondered what would happen if I fed the earphone output into my dad's stereo - he had an H/K amp and preamp and a Telefunken tape deck. My dad was a PE/EE and encouraged these kinds of experiments.

The result was outstanding! The crystal radio's simple circuit yielded an incredibly quiet, clean signal. This probably wouldn't work with today's AM band, which is filled with digital noise and distortion, but it was a revelation at the time.



I've always been a music fan. I grew up on rock and roll (The Who was the first band I was into).

I wanted to be a guitarist when I was a teen, played in a couple of bands, that kind of thing.

When I was about 19, my roommate at the time knew a friend in NYC who worked in an audio store and he took a bus trip and he said his buddy "hooked him up".

He set up his new stereo system, which consisted of a Sony ES amp, a Sony ES CD player and a pair of Rogers LS speakers. (I think they were LS3/5a's, NOS).

As he was hooking the speakers up, I looked at him kind of funny and (didn't want to insult him) incredulously asked "You paid HOW MUCH for THESE?"

When it was put together, he popped on a Stevie Ray Vaughan CD (who had recently died in a helicopter accident), but I was familiar with him and saw him open for Robert Plant the summer before.

In any event, he started playing the CD, and my mouth hung open.


I had never heard music (or a stereo system) sound like that before.

We ended up going our separate ways, but I still remember that system. As a matter of fact, I spoke with him a couple of years ago and he still has it.

That lit the fire for me.


These are fun reads of our earliest exposure to audio and also of the retailers and friends that fostered our education and exposure to what audio could be.

I will always remember setting up my first system, back in 1975, positioning the Wharfedales on crappy stands, connect them to the Trio amp (regret not getting the Sansui) with a questionable speaker cable, try to align a Shure cartridge on a Lenco turntable. More lp’s, more interest in music, more magazines, more visits to stores, time to learn.

And all that because of a Philips mono record player (rather good quality of its kind), a National transistor radio in 1971, and two years later of a friend who played some of my hard earned lp’s on his system.







@cleeds , I would go a step further. Music is an instinctive necessity. I could not go without music as I could not go without food. Being an audiophile is the highest religious manifestation in service of that instinct.

I have been playing records since the age of four. By age 10 my father had constructed himself and extremely good system for the day and it became obvious to me that my Zenith Portable was not adequate preferring to listen to my dad's system which I did when he was not around. But, I had to have my own system.

By the age of thirteen I had saved up enough money clearing driveways in the Winter to buy a Dynakit Stereo 70 and a Pas 3X preamp which I had to build. I found a used Thoren's TD 124 and was give a set of AR 2a's which I converted to 2ax's. This was system #1 and the evolution started from there. 

Back in 1975 or so, I went to a hi-fi show at San Francisco Civic Auditorium where I got to see all these high end brands and associated gear. SF Civic Auditorium was also a good-sized live music venue, so they had Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Styx on hand to provide entertainment - shame hi-fi shows don't do THAT anymore, that I know of! 

I got my first real job and saved a little money up and asked myself what do I like to do? The answer was of course listen to music so I started doing research, this was in the late 90s. Found a dealer near me and bought a Rega Planet and the Bryston B-60 paired with some Definitive Tech speakers I picked up at a record store that sold used gear. Shortly after that I discovered Audiogon and the rest is history.

Long and winding road, far too long to get into here. Can't recall a time when music and audio sound quality didn't intrigue me, was taking apart cheap junk audio equipment at early age, trying to figure out how it worked, doing stupid things like connecting lousy junk external speakers to this junk.

I suspect there may be audio/music genes unique to audiophiles.

When I was very young, I found an old record player in the  house quite fascinating. One day while playing around with it somehow I got a nice electric shock and the rest is history.

@wturkey ,I has one of those! I used it to play cassettes in my first car, a 1976 Honda Civic 5 speed. 

My Dad.

He had 'listened in' when at boarding school during the 1920s at the dawn of radio before there were any commercial or entertainment stations.  Goodness, that's 100 years ago.  He built crystal radios from components or kits and as soon as something better came out he sold his to a schoolmate and bought the improved model.  He frequented Lisle Street in London's West End where all the radio shops were then, before the glory days of Tottenham Court Road in the 60s and 70s..  It's part of Chinatown today.

After the war he bought surplus shortwave radios that had been in warplanes.  Even into the 1970s he used one as his main radio to listen to the BBC.

In the 1950s he set aside his large gramophone cabinet with a Garrard autochanger inside and started buying audio separates.  By the early 1960s I was using these to listen to my Beatles records and so on.  When I was 14 I bought my first system, a Garrard HF and Rogers integrated amp and tuner.  He lent me two of his old speakers from his mono years, a Goodmans and a Wharfedale - yes, they didn't match.  I have spent the next 60 years moving onwards and upwards.

My dad passed in 2012, at the age of 102.  Because of failing hearing he had stopped using his hi-fi about 7 years earlier.  That system was mostly my hand me downs.  What goes around comes around.

I always have wanted good sound.  I new that my parents all in one $39 KMart Special was crap but had never heard an alternative.  In college scrimped for that first system and was so proud of it but then at the end of Undergrad had a friend get a job at a true high end store and was blown away.  I had decent mid Fi stuff into my forties when I could finally start indulging myself in audio.  Contemplating retirement soon and will probably just stay put with the same gear until I croak

I started with a crystal radio set - managed to break the glass in my steel framed bedroom window from the weight of the aerial wire! I progressed to a record deck and two speakers system which I bought with my first couple of paychecks. After college, I worked in hi fi retail for a few years and have stayed involved in the business since, albeit more in a consulting role while doing other things as my day job.

From reading the responces it looks like physical head tramma, electro shock,genetic predispositon,and the influnce of significent others are the root causes of becoming an audiophile lol.

My dad purchased an Allied bundle in the mid 60’s that included an Allied receiver, Garrard turntable, and Knight (?) speakers. It wasn’t a high end system by any means, but still a cut above the average home system at the time. As a kid , I thought it was pretty cool.

I walked into a Lafayette Electronics store when I was in Jr High. I got a job cleaning horse stables and delivered newspapers to buy my first stereo from that store. Got me through University and while I was pursuing my post grad degree I walked into Music Crafters in Niles, IL and listened to the H/K Citation and the rest has been history.



From reading the responces it looks like physical head tramma, electro shock,genetic predispositon,and the influnce of significent others are the root causes of becoming an audiophile lol.



Well, it's no secret that we audiophiles are in the minority.

Even amongst music lovers.

Just how many of us there are is not clear.

What is clear, is that the vast majority of us are males, and that there's little chance of us disappearing anytime soon.


Perhaps we are a new type of species, one that so far is predominantly found in the northern hemisphere, although members can be found almost anywhere on this planet?

Older brother soldered up an H/K integrated (tubes, guys!), a Sony R2R, and what appeared to look like Ar2s'..

His taste in music?  Mitch Miller, Christy Minstrels, Herb Alpert....and a PP&M that I tried to wear out.

First real system?  Marantz 2270, AR tt with a Shure cart, and a pair of 901B's.

All over the board afterwards....worse now, but opinions will vary as usual.

Agree with one comment:

"Once again, there's not a stereo made that can play this loud enough."

...after all these years.... ;)


With a radio shack realistic receiver/8 track and associated speakers my mother bought me when I was 12...I’m 55 now and it’s been all downhill from there....😄

In 1983, still in high school, went down to my local Tech HIFI store and purchased my Aiwa AD F770 3 head cassette deck, instead of buying my first car...the cassette deck was more important to me....I still have and use it today. Paid $500 for it back then....crazy.

Back in the mid seventies, I had a friend who had stereo equipment and camera & darkroom equipment. Through him I met the owner of a small stereo store in Collinsville, Illinois. Dixon became my pusher and led me through from Bozak to Dalhquest  to Acoustat and from Halfler to Ampzilla to Dynaco to Phase Linear and from Dual to Bang &Olfson to…


Thanks Jim.

My father's experiences map other people's grandfathers'. It is mind-boggling to think he was a teenager 100 years ago.  The changes he saw were mind-boggling.  He kept up with it into his 80s.  He left two diaries of his schooldays as a senior in the late 1920s which I treasure.

By good fortune he missed fighting in the two wars in Europe.  He was too young for WW1 and too old for WW2.

it is not important how you started (everyone makes mistakes and learns) - but how you finished ..... (the truth is - many have remained at the initial level and life does not teach them anything)

I live within walking distance to the conservatory - since childhood I have been listening to original music ... as for electronics - it all started with something like this miracle))) ... there was also Siemens


I was 15, I had a decent pair of Altec speakers and a JVC 40 watt receiver.   What really got me hooked is when I saw a Sansui AU9900 integrated amp for sale in the Want Ad.  My Dad had a Sansui CA2000 and BA2000 so I HAD to get that thing.  It was only a few years old and in really nice shape.  $200.  That was my gateway drug into better equipment.    Not long after that , I got a Sony CDP101 .    There were only about a dozen rock titles when I got it.  I was wondering if the CD would take off......

My HiFi life didn’t start until my early 20s, but like most it was a compulsive obsession with music, and discovering new music which got me started on the path.

As a child my grandmother had one of those sideboard type music centres whereby the top would flip back and inside there was a record player and radio. Apparently I would keep playing Cat Stevens’ 45rpm of "Lady ​​​​​d’arbanville" over and over and over again, and also "Where do you go to my lovely?" by Peter Sarstedt. I think I was about 4 or 5 yrs old at the time 😁.

Another watershed moment was sneaking into my friend’s uncle’s room at his gandmothers; he had a big system, no idea what it comprised of, but he had Dark Side of The Moon, Paranoid by Black Sabbath, Revolver and Sgt Pepper’s by The Beatles. That was it, I was off, mind blown🙄😎😁

That was round 10 or 11; I had various crappy tape players and my folks’ all in one type record players, and that’s how I listened. I was then given a Realistic, all in one record player with speakers at the front of the box which I had for a while.

When I started working properly, I saved up and bought a Pioneer stacked midi-system; turntable, cassette deck and with a CD platter that held 5 or 6 CDs at a time. I thought this was it, the bees knees 😁 as I hadn’t had any exposure as a young adult (early 20s) to proper HiFi.

I was then introduced to a friend of a friend, who had an elaborate Naim Chrome Bumper set-up, a Linn TT, (don’t remember the model) and I think some large, either Epos or Linn speakers, don’t recall what they were, but needless to say, another watershed moment. I had NEVER heard any think like it, total "Road to Damascus" stuff. He also introduced me to Jazz, which I hadn’t given much thought to prior.

After hearing this system, and being a young man with a decent job, no family responsibilities and some disposable income, my new found friend introduced me to his dealer, and a couple of weeks later, I had a bi-amped Naim Olive set up, Epos 11 speakers, an Arcam Alpha CD and Audio Alchemy DAC (I think it was the Digital Decoding Engine v1? - memory’s a bit hazy on this).

I was I audio heaven, a pig in muck. Move forward a good few years and I’d gotten married, bought a house and sold the whole system to go fund the house renovation. Two years later, we separated 😁. I will always regret selling that system 🤔🙄.

That was 2002, and I hadn’t bothered again, life got in the way. But last year, I jumped back on the bus - I was fed up of listening to my music through smart speakers and/or a DAB/CD player. A lot has changed during my HiFi wilderness years, but decided while researching to go all in on the digital/streaming front, plus a CTD for my old CD collection.

Had a few changes to my original set-up bought last year, and I’ve had a lot to re-learn, and still do have, but I’m loving the journey again, and rediscovering what my music sounds like played through quality components, as well as discovering new music on a daily basis via Qobuz/Tidal/RP👍😊


All through high school in the late 70s and early 80s I took everything out of my closet in my bedroom to make room for my Garrard turntable, vintage Sony integrated amp, and vintage crap radio shack speakers. I used to sit in my orange bean bag chair and listen to record after record every day. It probably sounded pretty bad but it hooked me into listening to music through an audio system. Over the years I ended up with a nice system with Mirage M1 speakers, Krell pre-amp and amp, and a decent Rotel CD player in a dedicated room. I found that I spent more time moving speakers and listening chair around then actually listening to music. Ended up selling it all and bought a pool table for the room :) Fast forward now I have my dedicated loft with a more modest system where we really just listen to music and don't really think about the audio system. Of course some old habits never die especially when my wife asks my why the speaker stands for my KEF LS50 Metas have blue tape on the floor to ensure correct spacing to the back and side walls :) 

won a boombox at a spelling bee in 3rd or 4th grade.  i've been hooked since.  couldn't even tell you the brand name.   none of that mattered. 

love of music, is the reason from #1 to #9 and #10 is lights, buttons, and shiny objects

In the early 70’s my sister got a Panasonic compact system. I eventually bought an 8 track player and connected it to her system. Next step was my sister’s friend got married and when I went to their home the husband had a hifi like I had never heard before. It made me somewhat curious. Then my sister got married and my brother in law had a system including a Tandberg reel to reel and big rectilinear speakers. Hmmm- 

Then one of my friends started talking AR and Dual. Then I saw a military PX catalog. 

i was hooked