What made you select "audio" as your hobby

I've read many posts here on Audiogon as to the extremes many of you have gone in pursuing sound perfection.
I wonder what made you select this "nutty hobby" in the first place??
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Walking into a listening room and hearing the Apogee Scintilla for the first time. That was an unforgettable experience.
It selected me; memories of my grandpa's mono Heathkit pre and power amp, Garrard turntable/Pthanstheil cartridge and Wharfedale single cabinet with three tweeters firing upwards, and 5 inch mid, 10 and 15 inch woofers I will always remember for the warmth and power that system when he played classical music on it.
I don't think I "selected" it, rather I just drifted into it through a love of music. It doesn't hurt that I have an engineers mind and was attracted to the technology! Oh how I fondly remember the Lafayette catalogs....
like viridian, i've collected music all my life.....most of my friends and associates who have done the same as a hobby, could care less about audio components. my father passed his 'stereo' hobby down to me, and to this day i even prefer to tell people (who could care less) that my 'stereo' is my hobby.......'audio' sounds like something that requires a skill other than flaking off and listening to music.
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The Beatles, a transistor radio and WABC NY in the early '60s. Like someone has stated previously, I didn't select it, it selected me. It's not about the equipment. It's about finding and hearing great music. Equipment increases the level of enjoyment. Fun is finding great stuff - source and delivery components - at a bargain price.
My dad was an audiophile since the late 60's and so were my uncles. Use to hate it when he would take me vinyl shopping and to those endless listening parties. Officially got hooked into high end audio when I was 12 and the rest is history.
I think music selected me. I come from a pretty musical family so I have always loved listening to music. I then started to really collecting music when I was 15. I know have a 5000 cd collection. I was then driven to put together a system that could I enjoy hearing my music. I became an audiophile more because of my nerdy, gadget loving side. I am perfectly happy listening to my little Aiwa bookshelf system or my wife's IPOD. It is my techy side that keeps me interested in new gear.
I pretty much have to quote Ghosthouse, an early love of music as a child led me down this path.

I loved electronics as early as age 6, and enjoyed music in a big way around the same or a bit later, then my mom re-married a music lover and poof my fate was sealed.
I got tired of going to clubs to hear good bands only to leave stinking of smoke with my head pounding. I knew I had to find a better way to actually hear good music. My system is quite modest but it sure can sound good. It always smells good in here and after listening to some good music the ills of the world have faded away.
I'm with Viridian on this one. Some way to extract even more from the music I love and a great way to expand into music I never imagined.
I blame the Beatles, Doors, Stones, Tull, Cat Stevens, Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, Byrds, Cream, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Santana, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Charles Mingus, Ryan Adams, but mostly, the Beatles
It came to as a dream one night. I must take on the personality of my father or I would be lost in life forever.I couldn't possibly have an original idea of my own if I tried. He loved music and equipment. Thus my super ego formed and I was ready to enter the realm of men.
Actually it was an album by Van Morrison that my feces-o-sonic radio,record player, tape machine, with 2 very light wieght monitors that were hard wired to this reciever type thing. the old feces-o-sonic just could not as hard as it tried all the knobs turned to the max that could not play this album loud enough. Thus on that day in 1973 (age 14) The quest for the holy grail began. Where it stops nobody knows!
Chicks didn't like me either..... until I went to college then they chose me, beats me I was ugly then and don't look any better now. The one thing my anchor/wife hassles me about is music played above 60db. At this point I think I am going to turn it up.
I don't consider listening to music a hobby. The gear thing is just an obsession with shiny objects that I can't seem to shake.
I was building "tube and knuckle" scaffold inside a nuclear reactor and I had this song goin thru my head. And I thought.... this sounds better than my "Alpha-Newtron" reciever with bose speakers. I gotta do things different.
I like music.

I like building things.

That's a good combination when the physics of most commercially available speakers are inherently flawed and the parts cost of top-notch drivers+cross-over electronics yields five-figure MSRPs.
Nature, or nurture? Frankly I'm not sure.

My dad owned a TV/Audio shop - sales, install, repair. I went to the shop with him on Saturdays at a very early age (4-5). He'd work, and set me down with a screw driver, pliers, and something harmless like a broken up phonograph. While not doing that I'd just wander around the stacks of amps, speakers, TVs, or just watch him or his partner work on repairs.

That's the equipment part. I also have always liked music. My whole family did.

Back in 1976, which was one year out of high school for me, my stereo system consisted of Yamaha NS690 speakers-(anyone remember the Yamaha NS1000 speakers?), Yamaha receiver, and Dual 1229 turntable. My friends and I would dream of 10k systems and would listen to rock music almost every night. We bought alot of record albums back then. I was interested in listening to music, mostly rock music, since I was twelve. Back then, today's classic rock was just... rock. My friends and I saw alot of rock concerts back then too. It was a great music era to grow up in.
Talon4,Yes I remember the Yamaha NS1000 well.I almost purchased them but chose the Allison one speakers instead.
i really cant say were better then the Yamaha's.But they were floor standers which I felt were more impressive at the time.
You mention your friends a few times.Back in the 70's friendship meant a great deal.Why do i feel you grew up in New York?
Hello Goldeneraguy, I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and I still can call the same group of guys friends. The Yamaha NS1000 speakers were my dream speakers back then. Best regards, Stan
Dad had a great old Nordmende(?) console and collected folk,jazz,Perry,Dean,Frank,Torme etc.I think he had every Limelighters & Kingston Trio album. Wonderful memories.Ma&Grandma taught music. I'm appreciative of my enjoyment of music. It's a beautiful hobby to grow old with.
I guess I was destined to pick this up as I used to play with the Gramophone as a five year old. The discovery of Stereophile, being stationed in Japan where I picked a new pair of B&W 802 S2 cheap and a trip to the Adelphi in Singapore also helped.
I grew up in a household that had tube gear, often kits, homemade speakers, reel to reel tape a "wired" house with speakers in 4 locations w/remote switching. My dad was a ham (W3SQE)so I was a Dx'er as a kid.He loved music too. In the 60's as a wee lad I remember jazz, Johnny Mathais, The Messiah evey year at this time and good comedy like Stan Freiberg, Elaine Mays comedy duo (forgot the guy) I am my fathers son! Thanks Dad!

Electroid,I believe that was Mike Nichols.He did pretty well for himself in film.Not to mention his marriage to Diane Sawyer.Thank you for the post
I need to give credit to my father as well. Ever since I can remember, every Sunday, my Dad would play comedy record albums and Dixieland Jazz on his modest system. He had several hundred record albums dating back to the early 1950's. He especially liked Al Hirt and Louis Armstrong.
In the early 50's my 6th grade teacher informed the class we were going to have MUSIC APPRECIATION for one hour every Tuesday afternoon.I thought this would allow me to listen to Frank Sinatra,Patty Page and that new guy Tony Bennett.They were always playing on my parents radio.
Much to my surprise she played the The Peer Gynt Suite.
I couldnt understand why someone would make a record with just music and no lyrics.That got me started on trying to find other recordings that was just music and opened a whole new world for me.Great Thread,lots of memories
This hobby selected ME. In high school I got a job pressing records at the world's only (at that time) audiophile pressing plant. I soon became the Quality Manager. As a result of this experience I can honestly say there are probably less than 10 people alive who know as much about the secrets of vinyl as I do. Before I required reading glasses I could simply look at a freshly cut lacquer and tell the producer everything he/she needed to know about the eventual outcome of the finished product. But alas those days are long gone, as is my near-field vision! But the ears are still fine and I take great delight in exposing this current generation to the glories of analog playback.
Oem, your story proves that music appreciation should still be taught in every school. There are countless classical pieces & many operas that stir the soul of most young listeners. I think "America"-in particular-would benefit significantly from the excitement(without war), satisfaction(without overcoming/destroying), release(without the build up of anger & fear)and relaxation great music can provide. I can't help but imagine how much finer America and our pool of leaders would be if 'even' 1/2 the "warmaking" budget was spent on music, arts & the basics for the populace.
Do perhaps some of use this hobby as an escape from daily cares?
I'm guilty.
I thank you all for your participation. Some posts were very humorous,some brought back memories.
I hope i didnt offend any of you with the word 'AUDIO".
I know that two camps exist.Some say its the music that counts not the equipment.
Well of course its the music but i had to re-think this a few years back when i passed on a 6 Eye Columbia "Sketches of Spain" that was selling for $80 but bought a $7500 amp the very same day.
In this hobby the only thing that matters is how you feel when you hear the music.It matters not if you found it early in life at school as Oem did or if you were exposed to it from listening to your parents system,or the light was just turned on yesterday.
Perhaps poster Psacanli is correct and we should be trying to have "Music Appreciation" back in our schools.
After all,look what it did for us.
Thank you all again
Enjoy your music
Thought provoking,maybe to much so.I'm sure the arguments will be starting shortly
I wonder what made you select this "nutty hobby" in the first place??

They were all impulse buys.

I had A LOT of money burning a hole in my pocket...
Let's be honest. There is a massive difference between regular music lovers/record collectors and what we do. I have friends that are even way more into music than I am, (constantly reading reviews to hear new artists, and seeing them live), but they don't have audiophile systems. I have a friend who has an encyclapedic knowledge of rock, a music server that is always on, and way more cash than I do. He has those tiny Bose acoustimass cubes and a sub, and for him they sound totally fine.

I believe that the true harcore audiophile is a unique breed whoose auditory center is either more deveoped than the average person, or perhaps for whom the auditory center is more closely tied in with the pleasure center.

I believe that differences I hear as being huge improvements in my system, are often only modest if at all gains to the the average set of ears.

My father and older brother were always into music as I am (for my 6th birthday present my neighbors asked what I wanted, which I told them was the Beatles LP latest at the time, "Let it be.") So I had pretty advanced tastes for child, but my father never bought more than a very simple and cheap rig, and my brother uses much of the same rig he had in high school, in the 70's.

I on the other am close to insane with this hobby, and have always wanted better gear since I was in junior high, though I was never exposed to anything high end till I sought it out in High School (but couldnt afford it)

The defining moment for me was when I went into a store to have my Mac SE computer fixed here in Manhattan, and saw the store also sold Quad ELS 63 USA's. Since I had read about 'stats, I had to hear them. Even though they were only played with modest Quad amps I knew I had to have them. I had never heard music reproduced that life like before.

I started going to the better high end stores and was shocked I needed $4,000 of MIT cable even to get to the the level of what Lyric had at the time.

I soon discovered Audiomart, and bought my entire first system used, including Crosby Quad 63's and those MIT shotgun cables I has seen. (along with Spectral amp and preamp)

I basically duplicated the system I saw at Lyric but used at less than half the price and better sounding (due to the Crosby mods to the 63's). I even bought some gear used listed in the Sunday NY Times - anyone else remember when those classified were a viable place to buy used hi end gear?

That first high end system was CD based, but I did have an old $100 technics turntable from my high school system. I was shocked how good that cheap table sounded compared to the $800 Phillips 880 CD player, and I bought a real table. At that time in NY everyone was selling their vinyl by the miikcrate to local stores like St, Marks sounds. In the late 80's/ early 90's I bought over 3500 LP's which formed the basis of my rock and jazz collection today.

I now mostly listen to LP and tubes, and couldn't be happier. After I finish this next speaker upgrade, my system should be stable for a long time, except for cables, tweeks, and replacing phono carts since there is basically no where for me to go as far as upgrades, unless I can spend spend way over 6 figures, (which I can't)

I truly love this hobby. I love hearing music with all the emotion, tonality and sonic detail of the original recording session as possible. Most live shows are too loud for me, and live jazz (and alot is amplified which kills the whole purpose) is really expensive. I can generally hear better musicians in my living room than are playing locally that night, with a fidelity approaching live unamplified music at the volume level of my choosing.
Thank you for your post.I have a friend that listens to his music on inexpensive headphones and derives pleasure from it.He states music is personal and using headphones makes it even more personal.Another of my friends listens to Rhythm and Blues from the 50's.He has about 7,000 of these oldies which
would probably bring a kings ransom if he chose to sell them. He plays them on an old 45 RCA portable changer.I know they enjoy listening to their respective systems as much as i do listening to mine and although they can afford more than i,they would not spend anything close to what i have spent on components.So i guess "To Each His Own"
I can still hear my Quad 63 (not Crosby mod's)powered by a Spectral 50 watt amp.I listen to Jazz,Jazz and more Jazz.This combo brought music to life.I am still wondering why I parted with them.

Goldenage- I parted with my quads because the panels kept arcing, and I didn't feel like eventually replacing ALL of them at over $500 per panel. I ended up going from the spectral gear (which I still have to sell) to Atma-sphere MA-1's and liked the results. Today I am getting far superior sound than even those Crosby'd 63's, but the Atma gear is here to stay.