What were your humble beginnings on the path to high end audio?

Recently there has been a discussion as to the “price point where mid fi tops out and hi end systems begin”. I’d be willing to bet that there are not many folks who started out in this field of interest spending $100K, $50K or even $10K. Going back to your very beginnings, what was your first serious audio system?

I’ll jump in the wayback machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman and give you a look at my beginnings.

My journey began at around age 13. I started out with a Lafayette KT-630, stereo tube amp that I built from a kit in my 9th grade, “electronics shop” class. The speakers were built at home from plans in the 1968, July issue of Mechanix Illustrated. I upgraded the cabinet construction from plywood, to solid mahogany. The twin woofers in each cabinet were also upgraded to 5” from the specified 4” units and the tweeters were also upgraded from the specified 2-3/4” units to the deluxe 3” units. The inductors in the 6db per octave passive crossovers were hand wound and the caps, terminal strips, L-pads, magnet wire and grill cloth were from Lafayette Radio Electronics as were the woofers and tweeters. The turntable was a purchased Garrard SL72B with a Shure M91E magnetic cartridge.

Check out the amp specifications on page 42 of the Lafayette 1968 summer catalog #648.

The raw speakers are shown on page 55 of the Lafayette 1971 catalog #710. Woofers, 99-F-01554, figure D. Tweeters were at the bottom of page 55, 99-F-00499. The Garrard SL72B is on page 69 of the same catalog.

I still have the speaker systems and the amp and they all still work! Alas the SL72B is long since gone. I mowed a lot of grass and shoveled a lot of snow in the neighborhood to buy all that high end gear at age 13! :-D By todays standards, not very impressive, but to a 13 year old in 1968, it was awesome!

So to reiterate, what was your first serious audio system?

P.S. - If you are interested, check out some select old Lafayette, Allied Radio, Heathkit, Radio Shack, Olson and other old catalogs from what I think of as the “good old days” of electronics and my youth.

KLH model 11 then graduated to Nikko with Rectilinear XIb speakers and BSR table with Shure cartridge.
Do not remember the model numbers but think I got all the makes.
I worked weekends while at school to save up money and then still had to sell my bicycle to buy the "system" No help financially from parents, the way I was brought up!
Bear in mind this was in England back in 1975.
Trio TT with Shure cart
Trio integrated amplifier, think it was 25wpc
Aiwa cassette deck
Mission speakers
All strung together with whatever came with them in the boxes, no fancy ic,pc etc!
I regularly blew the tweeters out of the Missions as my parties were famous for volume but in retrospect it would not be sheer volume destroying them at just 25wpc but clipping I am certain, ahh the brio of youth! Ignorant bliss!
All purchased from along defunct hifi chain in England, Laskys.

They hated me in there as I lugged my Mission speakers in time after time!
Scott R74S Receiver, Kenwood turntable (later upgraded to a Garrard Zero-100), and Altec 893C speakers. Served me very well for years...
My first real system was when I was 21yo (15y ago)...

Yamaha Receiver
Polk LSi9 bookshelves

Now I have 3 systems based off the British the French and the Italians.

Sonus Faber Olympica 3 with Rotels.
Focal Kanta 2 on Rotels.
And the main system is based on Bowers and Wilkins 802d3 on Emm Labs and Cary Audio Preamp and Boulder stereo amplifier with Audioquest WELs.
I was 4 when the stereo arrived - parents bought it ahead of carpet and furniture... perhaps one of my first memories....
Bozak B-305
Dual 1018
Shure TypeII
pretty awesome, spoiled me rotten ...

my first
Infinity Qb
Onkyo A-5
Denon DP-790
Grado G-III ( I think...)
Dokorder 4 track RtR