What was your most engaging audio experiance

I have been an audio crazy for 45 years and have had experiences where I thought I heard live music in a room when in fact it was an audio system. This experience which I call "a critical mass" experience suggests that the equipment, the room, the ambiance were all in perfect harmony to create this illusion for me.
I was in fact hearing an Mercury Living Presence solo piano LP played threw biamped Magneplanes 20.1 s powered by ARC Ref 300 monoblocks and at VT100 MKIII.
I will add that I was unaware of an audio system in the adjoining room. A fact which may have contributed to my experiance.
When I was 12 years old, my buddy told me about his big brother's stereo. He requested an audition for me (big bro was serious, and at the age of 19, had no time for punks).

The audition was arranged and I heard the first true high end sound of my life- and I was awed. Transparency, beauty, musicality- right in my face. Van Morrison was standing there that night as far as I was concerned.

The magic? Thorens turntable, McIntosh tube pre and amp, and Dalquist DQ-10's.

I have been chasing that experience since. I'm certain I've surpassed the actual performance of that system in my own home before, but of course that experience has never been equalled.

Life can be beautiful can't it?
I think for me it was a local audio store, long since gone, Soundtronix. I was looking for a all in one system due to limited budget. Up till then most of my listening was done on a Zenith console with Alegro speaker system.
So the salesman knowing what my budget was invites me into the HighEnd room for a listen. And there were these pyramid
ESS speakers with Heil Air motion tranformers and a Garrard TT with McIntosh front end. He puts on a side of Days of Future Past and I fell in love.
The salesman saw my reaction and with a certian wisdom told me and I will always remember. "Now you know what YOUR ears are capable of" and as he walked me over to my price range and said "lets get you started and now you will know what direction to go from here" It taught me that I was wrong in thinking quality was in how loud you could play it without distortion. Although my parents might have argued that statement. I learned a valueable lesson that day. I never owned the ESS but have had many McIntosh components since. Thanks for the thread I hadn't thought of that for years.
"Thorens turntable, McIntosh tube pre and amp, and Dalquist DQ-10's." at 19 years old? Must have been a little rich boy. I should be so lucky.
Actually he was working as a roofer and living with his parents- he just knew where to put his money :)
Hope this does not bore everyone. I prefer vinyl, but my most engaging experience by far was listening to a Beethoven string quartet sourced from an unmodified Harman Kardon dvd 47 player through a Sherwood 8000 4 tube receiver thru AE1 speakers, and feeling each instrument individually and together was in the room, repeatedly. Second best, a speaker many years ago that I think was called servo static from Infinity.
B&W 801 speakers ( the 1st gen without any suffix )

Oracle Turntable

Koetu Red.

1984 I thnk.

Playing Chakka Kahn....

In an audio salon in Chicago, approx 1995. It was a DIY speaker using McCormack electronics playing Stevie Ray Von. It was so clean, clear and convincing. I dont recall the name of the sudio salon or the owner-builder of the DIY speaker, but if I heard the name again, I would know it.
$1 paid at street lot for Love Over Gold Dire Straits vinyl vs. the same SACD.
I ran sound for a rock band back in the 70's & one particular night the Les Paul played thru Marshall tube stack was like a giant boxing glove softly hitting my body. I've never experienced anything like that since & I still run sound.
My most engaging audio experience I'll never forget. It was in a hi-end audio store sitting in front of their best system. Gave me the biggest rush! I was trying to duplicate that here at home for years, but came to the conclusion that what I experienced was like my first kiss, magical! It will never be duplicated, but it's lotsa fun trying.
The first time I ever heard Quad ESL-63 USA in a computer and audio store here in NYC. I had really just come in to have my Mac SE fixed (that tells you it was long ago). I spied the Quads and asked if those were electrostats, and could I hear them. Even though it was using radio shack speaker cable and quad electronics, it was an quite an ear opening experience.

That set me on my quest and soon I heard a much better implementation of the 63's with Spectral gear and MIT cables. I gulped when I heard the prices, thinking "how can I afford this? I must have this system." Being just out of college, I talked to people and heard about Audiomart, and got someone to refer me. Before long I had duplicated the system I heard at the dealer, but at used prices. I even found a bigger apartment (no small feat) for those quads to really breath in.

Sometime last year I heard Clement Perry's system. It was also one of those moments that raised the bar as to what was possible with home reproduction, and well chosen source material. It had a spooky, reach out and touch it quality.

I am actually getting a new 16 ohm crossoverless speaker in this week to audition, and am hoping it too will be one of those ground breaking moments.
When I was about 13 years old, in the spring of 1967, we visited a distant relative. He was a music teacher at Juliard, in Manhattan.
I couldn't help but notice the huge speakers in his "listening room". I inquired about them. I mentioned that I thought they would sound great. I also said I thought "rock music" would sound terrific. He made the comment that "rock" was never played on his system.
I asked if he would play something for me which he did. It was a classical piece, of which I had absolutely no interest in. But, MAN! It was too late to turn back now... I had been exposed to a whole other level of "sound".
I started asking all sorts of questions, and he gladly answered all of them. The amp, tuner, and pre-am, were all McIntosh. I know the amp was the Mc 275. I don't remember what model the other components were. I really didn't know what "components" were! I believe the turntable was a Garrard, but I couldn't swear to it. And the speakers were... Klipschorns. I swore someday I'd own a pair. I never forgot the sound. Even living in the barracks, while serving in the USAF, I never heard anything like the sound of that system. And that says alot, considering I was exposed to all sorts of systems and equipment, from all over the globe. Finally, at the age of 32, roughly..., I found a pair of Klipschorns for sale. And the rest, as "they say", is history.
Frog Island Music Festival '93. Met a beautiful woman there and got engaged the following year.