What was in your first "real" higher end audio system?

There were "record players" and clock radios and other things that played some music...but what would you consider your first system that really started your quest for the.....ah, absolute sound?

Mine: Large double advents stacked with the top one upside down, so the tweeters were close.
A Yamana CA-1000 which I ran in Class-A most of the time.
The earliest Monster Cable speaker wire and interconnects.
A Pioneer PL-12 turntable with a M91ED cartridge/later M95ED, replaced with a Yamaha YP-800
An early Yamaha tuner, CT-800...wanted the CT-1000, but too much $ for me.
The early Advent tape player, not remembering the model.
And was hot to buy the best album pressing available,...imported, Mobile Fidelity, etc.

The upgrades came fast, Yamaha B-2, a Yamaha Pre-amp of that time.
Dahlquist DQ-10
Some Straightwire cables
A Yamaha T-1 tuner, not as good at the T-2, but not bad.
Yamaha YP-800 direct drive table with ADC XLM cart. 
Some early isolation feet?
Audio Technica Electret Condenser Headphones

As with many of you, "in for a penny, in for a pound" The audio fever has been with me since, some
pieces that were very good at a good price and some that were considered some of the best of their time.

As I told my wife at the time, "well, at least I don’t collect women".....that came later when I had more money.

Sorry for any typos

My first high end system? Its a continuum with no real obvious beginning. My first real high end component however, the one that opened my ears more than any other, was the McCormack DNA1. 

By the time it became my first system the McCormack had been replaced with an Aronov integrated. It was a close call. Sound quality wise the Aronov was only slightly better. With the right preamp, IC, PC and Cones the McCormack probably would have been better. But the Aronov was better without any of that. So there you go.

The original (in hindsight, awful) JBL L7s were replaced with Linaeum Model 10. The Audioquest Dragon with Synergistic Research Resolution Reference. And the Cal Audio CDP with a Basis/Graham/Glider. That was my first real high end system- Basis/Graham/Glider, ARC PH3SE, Aronov integrated, Linaeum Model 10, Synergistic Research, Bybee conditioner. 

I don't have any pics of the first one, but this is what that first system looked like in the same room. Only in the beginning there was no rack, no amp stand, and it was a Basis turntable just sitting on the floor to the side of the Aronov. That's a TV under the blanket. That was my home theater. https://www.theanalogdept.com/c_miller.htm

The McCormack was never really in my first system. Yet it was the one thing that really got me realizing what could be. It was that good. So maybe it was in a way a part of my first system after all. I don't know. You make the call.
From Day One my audiophile dad always gave his hand-me-downs.  The first real hifi he gave me was a Heathkit mono tube amp, preamp with a half dozen EQ's (including Early 78's!) and an AM tuner.  I've mentioned this before but I watched him assemble it on the kitchen table.  I think I was eight.
Here's what I bought in 1977: Ariston RD11S/SME3009/ MicroAcoustics2002, AGI 511 preamp, GAS Son Of Ampzilla, lnfinity Monitor 1A's with Walsh tweeters! Verion ICs and Polk Cobra Cable. For FM listening I had a Marantz 2270 receiver. And all this on an office clerk's salary!
And today I have bought most of the above all over again, plus even more vintage gear!
1979, Christmas.....I wouldn't call it higher end, but it was the first time I fell in love with home music...I was a teenage kid.
MCS 3275 Integrated with a pioneer turntable, Sanyo Tape Deck and some Altec speakers a (can not remember the ones....later purchased a pair of stand mount Boston Acoustics).  Grabbed some vinyl (Boston, Ohio Players, The Who) and was off to the races.  Remember my mother always telling me to turn it down. 
1966 -- 
Dynaco SCA-35 kit
AR turntable
AR speakers - small, but don't remember the model number
first system was a Philips portable record player back in the late 60's followed mid 70's by TRIO amp, Wharfedale Lintons and Lenco turnatble with Shure cartridge. What opened my mind and apetite for better was a Cyrus 2/PSX with TDL Studio 2 in the 80's and a Mission 775LCT tt with Nagaoka MP11 boron.
mid to late 70'syamaha a1 integrated amp, t1 tuner, technics turntable with allision 1 speakers
Pioneer SX-1250 receiver
JBL L65 speakers
Teac A 450 cassette deck
Teac X-7R reel to reel
Pioneer PL-600 turntable (c. 1980)
Shure V15 type ??? cartridge
Pioneer Centrex 8 track player
Sansui reverb amp

(above amassed between 1977 and 1981 and was briefly an integral system....I still have the L65s.)
Dynaco SCA-80 integrated (kit form)
Dynaco FM5 tuner (kit form)
AR turntable (don’t recall the cart)
Large Advents (basic square edge)

Brings back fond memories
WOW! These are some great systems!


Dahlquist DQ10's mirrored, stands
Monster cable
Dynaco Stereo 70's mono
Dynaco PAS-3 modified
JVC belt drive table
Decca Unipivot tonearm
Decca cartridge
My first audio system of high end quality is the present one and my last one ...Not because it is the better electronic components I ever owned but because all is rightly embed...

I will not name my components for now because never mind the components, most audio systems rightly embedded in the mechanical, electrical, and acoustical dimensions are Top of the world and mine is.... Any system that is not rightly embed is only good at most even a million dollars one... :)

I apologize for being provocative..... My best to all....
My evolution into 'higher' end audio finally arrived when I bought an ARC SP10II, an Oracle TT with a Benz Glider, an Accuphase T100 tuner, a Threshold SA 3 amp, and Thiel 3.5 speakers.  Lots of stuff of various quality came an went before but this was really my first good 'system'. I've moved on, but this system lasted over 20 years.
Superphon Preamp (with phono)
Yamaha B1 Amp
Empire Troubadour TT
Empire 4000 DIII Cartridge
Epos Speakers (14's I think) 
I got a paper route in the late 60’s bought my first system
Garrard turntable
Shure cartridge 
Lafayette amp
Criterion 25 loudspeakers-upgraded from these to Dynaco A25
Upgraded big time-
AR amp
AR turntable
AR 3a loudpseakers
Still have the AR amp tucked away-works like a charm can not imagine the amount of hours on it.

  • Garrard SL95 turntable & Shure cartridge
  • HeathKit AR-1500 receiver (that I built)
  • a pair of AR-3 speakers
Tons of upgrades over the next decade and a half. Then everything was stolen and I quit cold turkey until just a few days ago when the bug bit again and is now seriously infected.
My first high end stereo was:

Counterpoint SA 3.1 preamp and SA 12 power amp
Vandersteen 2C speakers
SOTA Star Sapphire with Alphason Xenon tonearm Sumiko Talisman cartridge
Rotel RCD 955AX cd player

Still have the turntable and cd player, the speakers are newer Vandersteens. 
Threshold Stasis 150
SOTA Sapphire TT
KEF 104.2’s(or 105’s)
Monster Cable

should have stopped there. it was the real beginning with no end in sight after 40 yrs