your first system-

I put together my first system in 1977- turntable, receiver, speakers and a cassette deck- $600. An on-line inflation calculator tells me that is $2760 in 2022 dollars. I am sure a current $1500 streaming based system can be assembled that would demolish my 1977 system. That's what I call real progress!


Yes… progress.


I think my first system was centered around a Marantz 2040 integrated amp (I still have it), Philips turntable… and I don’t remember the speakers… 1972… I’m guessing $500… same as one semester of tuition.

Every few years my system improved. My first real high end amp I took out my first loan to buy: $5K… Threshold S500. In today’s dollars $18,800! 1980. My current amp is $22K, preamp is $17K…. And performance wise… there is no comparison… different universes. So similar prices and incredible performance increases.

First system was in the mid 70's and consisted of Marantz 2230 receiver, Pioneer PL-10D turntable, Empire cartridge, Creative Lab Standard speakers. My next step up was a NAD 3140 integrated amp and Large Advent speakers.  The jump in sonics really got me hooked. :)

My first system was a Lafayette’s LR3500 and Lafayette T1000 turntable with Lafayette 3 ways all for $600 new. Crazy my interconnect are more than that….

After 6yrs in depth research, I’m almost done putting my first bucket list high end audio system together. Constellation Inspiration Pre and Stereo Amp, Chord MScalar, Denafrips Terminator, Innuos Zenith, VPI Avenger, Lyra Etna, VDH Grail SB, SR grounding block, EquiTech 1.5, TimberNation and HRS racks, Kimber Palladium PCs, Tara Labs speaker cable. Only have Magico A5 and remaining cables to purchase to get things running. Also started to put my second flea watt system together with my purchase of Coincident Frankenstein 300B amps. Buying used whenever I can to save $.

Fun topic! 1977 for me as well. Amazingly, my parents surprised me with it, probably for my birthday. (I wonder if they later regretted it!) It was a Harmon Kardon 330c receiver, a Garrard 55b turntable ... and Acoustic Research speakers, though I can't remember the model. Mostly I remember the green lights on the receiver. I bought Get Yer Ya-Yas Out and Zep2, added some Koss headphones, and never looked back....



Clearly you have put a lot of research into that system… it should be a very detailed and revealing system. 

1969 (Just in time for Led Zeppelin!):

Kenwood KR-77 low-power (18 wpc) SS receiver

Allied Radio Horn speakers (12 inch woofer) similar to my current Forte 4s

Gerrard SL-95B TT with Pickering cartridge (I think)

Red and white RCA interconnects with zip cord speaker wire

Pure heaven when you're 16 years old!


Sherwood s7910, large Advents, BIC 960, Teac 250. Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin and Cat Stevens.

My first jump up to hi-fi in the early 70s was when I sold my Bose 901s and bought a stacked pair of Infinity 1001As with a Harman Kardon Citation amp, using my Pioneer receiver as the pre-amp. 4 twelve inch woofers really got my ELP albums thumping.

I can trace every piece of gear I own to my first cheap stereo system, I never started with a clean sheet, I always upgraded one thing at a time. I learned a lot doing that way over the decades. 


Probably 1967 or 68. Garrard 40B, Sansui 350 receiver (or is $350 what I paid for the set up?) and 12" Utah speakers.

A dear friend of mine got KLH speakers, a Scott receiver, and the original AR turntable.

Mine played louder and deeper, but his made music.

About 1961. All in one record player, preamp,amp and speaker. I was about 9-10.


Fiesta75 - that sounds remarkably like my first real system circa 1976, Sherwood receiver (second hand from a college buddy), BIC turntable with Empire cartridge (Christmas gift from my parents), and large Advent speakers (bought with my first real paycheck). The speakers stayed around the longest. I sold them when I got a pair of Magneplanars in 1987. Music was Allman Brothers, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, etc.

Heathkit hifi separates -- power amp, preamp, and AM tuner. A Garrard record changer.  I watched Dad solder together the Heathkit components at the kitchen table. Of course, the Heathkit stuff was all tube, as trannies had yet to make their way out of cheap, drugstore-bought AM radios.  Monophonic, of course. I can't remember the cartridge brand but it had a switchable needle when you wanted to  play a now-obsolete 78. Was it a Shure? As for the speaker, I'm pretty sure it was a Utah. Boy did I love that thing! Naturally, I played my sister's Elvis singles, but my favorite records were a Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony and a "This is Hi-Fi!" demonstration record that featured a recently-released recording by Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony.

First system, way back in 1971 was a Sansui 20wpc receiver, Rectilinear 1A speakers, BSR record changer with a Shure cartridge and a Sony cassette deck (pre Dolby B). System was around $575.00 give or take a little. Speakers were connected with 16 gauge lamp cords and the RCA cables were a couple of bucks per pair.   I listened to Tull, Zeppelin, ELP, Floyd, Yes , etc. I bought everything brand new with the money I saved over the summer from working at Burger Chef. I felt like I was on top of the world.


Clearly you have put a lot of research into that system… it should be a very detailed and revealing system.

Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I have a ridiculously large spreadsheet w over 100 tabs of researched product comparisons. I wanted a transparent, linear, neutral system which will help future component upgrade evaluations like when I move up to better DACs.

I also wanted to explore tube magic (colorization?) so got a flea watt 300b and will likely get Volti Rival 100db speakers (seems relatively linear/neutral for a high efficiency speaker)- bummer price just increased by $3k recently


1976 bought at the PX in Torrejon Spain. Sanusi  9090,Pioneer PL530 Tt, Teac 5500a RR, Pioneer CTF 8282 cassette deck and four Sansui 7500SP speakers.  Rocking the casbah. The neighbors loved it. I still have it all.

The mid 70's were a time when a teen with a dream and some side job/hustle could walk into one of the ubiquitous stereo stores that were around and say- one day. And the dudes who worked in the stores, often half stoned, didn't mind the company


Great topic.

My first two systems were MCS or Modular Component Systems back around 1974 or so. Don’t remember much about the model numbers but my second system had a MCS 3233 receiver, 33 WPC. Had MCS speakers, turntable, cassette deck, headphones. Also a Realistic 5-band EQ. Wired up with the included interconnects and upgraded 18-guage zip wire. System sounded great and this second system was put together around 1976. Totally enjoyed it but it did push me to move on to  a high end system after that one. Mowed lawns and did odd jobs like land scaping and working in restaurants to finance my audio fix.

In 1979, I became a proud owner of a Bryston 4B, paired up with the Apt Holman preamp, Rega Planar 3 turntable with an Ultracraft AC-30 tonearm. The cartridge was a Supex SDX-1000 with a Jeremiah Braithwaite ST-17 Phono Amp. All this going to a pair of Shurlyn 820 speakers.

I had a pair of Energy 22 Reference monitor speakers on loan until the Shurlyns had some modifications to them for better sound.  I also had a Connoisseur BD2 turntable until I received the Rega. I still have the Connoisseur today.

Unfortunately my system and about 130 vinyl albums were stolen in 1981... 

I can trace every piece of gear I own to my first cheap stereo system, I never started with a clean sheet, I always upgraded one thing at a time. I learned a lot doing that way over the decades. 

russ69, that is absolutely brilliant. It's like the guy who owns a vintage 1954 Porsche Speedster ... who has replaced the seats, the engine, the chassis .... Seriously, talk about lineage!

My memory from the early 1970's is a little hazy, but I believe at one time my system consisted of a Sansui AU 9500 integrated, Thorens TD160 with Grace 707 and Supex SD900 Super. Speakers were a woodworking project with my father. JBL 15" woofer with 15" passive radiator, along with a JBL horn midrange and tweeter. 

My room was 10' x 10'.

who has replaced the seats, the engine, the chassis ....

I have an old hammer that is so old it has had 3 new handles and two new heads!

A light green General Electric 300 portable turntable with speakers. My parents bought it, so I had no choice. A piece of crap, for sure.

Technics belt drive, Rotel amp with LED meters, AIWA 3 head cassette, KEF Coda 3 speakers. Literally on a bookshelf. 1979 maybe. 

roxy54, I used the money to buy a 1969 Ford Thunderbird 2-door with a 429 engine with the insurance money. I have mixed feelings about not replacing my stereo, but I also don't regret buying the car as there are many, many good memories in it!

In the last couple of years, now that the kids are all grown up I have been replacing much of what I had with the same vintage gear! I also have got almost 300 vinyl LP's now, having replaced all my original collection and more. Really enjoying being able to listen to good sounding music again!

Well, my first audio device was a transistor radio purchased in 1960. I was 11 years old. My father co-signed for a loan at the JC Penneys store. 

Had to use my parents console stereo throughout Jr high and high school. 

First real system was purchased on Okinawa 1970, Pioneer 63DX speakers, Sansui AU555 Integrated, Dual 1219 TT with Shure V15 type II cartridge, Teac RtoR deck. Owned that system till 1982. Wasn't in possession of it over many of those years as I spent much time traveling trying to find myself. 


Late 80's.  Polk audio 5b speakers, Realistic tape deck and Kenwood receiver.  I quickly realized the speakers didn't sound as good as they did in the store, so I saved up and replaced the Kenwood with an NAD 3140 int. amp.   Now that's more like it and the journey continues to this day.

I started the hi fi audio journey back in the late 70s was my brother's system with a stack of Marantz pre/power/turner 3200/140/104 (or may be 105), a Technic DD TT and a pair of AR 11 or 12 speakers. My first system, Mac MC2505 amp (maybe MC2105 can't remember), Mac C26 preamp, B&O TX2 TT, Teac tape deck and a pair of Design Acoustics PS-10A speaker. I wish I have kept that pair of Mac!

What started my journey was an old table-top AM radio my uncle gave me at age 6 or so. One day I was listening to it and laying on my bed, I reached over to turn it up and pushed it off the night stand - I heard a breaking of glass and that was the end of my tube audio experience!


(moved on to buy two MCS systems, then Soundcraftsmen, McIntosh, and now most recently a full TAD Evolution system.)

At about 10 years of age I convinced my patents to get me an all-in-one stereo.  You know, the lid opens up to reveal a record player, the speakers fold out and you then lift them off of the hinges and about 8 feet of wire comes out of a small porthole in the speakers so you can spread them across the room, making for "stereo".

That started my journey.  In 1973 I bought my first real hi-fi system.  A Marantz 2270 receiver, a Philips GA-212 turntable, Stanton 681-EE cartridge, Koss Pro-4AA headphones, and a pair of 12" 3-way speakers (can't remember the name) that was a brand Altec bought in order to sell box speakers with a dome tweeter.  Each year I made a change, for instance, moving up to an Audio Technica AT-15SA cartridge, then a Soundcraftsman dual 12-band EQ.  This system lasted until 1978.  That's when I made a major step up by getting a full component system.  A big stack of Accuphase consisting of a T-100 tuner, C-200 preamp, P300 power amp, a B&O turntable with upgraded MMC-6000 CL cartridge, and McIntosh 12" 4-way speakers.  Two years later I added a second P-300 power amp and Infinity active X-over to drive a set of Infinity RS-2.5 speakers.  Then a Micro Seiki turntable and tonearm, Ortofon MC cartridge and Luxman SUT.  Everyone wanted to party at my  house!  I've been hooked ever since.  I put together a home theater system for while the kids were growing up.  Real hi-fi took a back seat for a good number of years.  Now, in retirement, I am building a higher resolution and very satisfying hi-fidelity music system.  Not yet complete but getting there.  And the journey in life continues...

I might be dating myself...

Kenwood integrated amp (~25 wpc)

Dual 1219 with Shure V15 type II cartridge

Dynaco A25 speakers

Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorder


OK, I'm really dating myself 1971 when I went off to college, I was interested in becoming a computer programmer and remember being told "garbage in, garbage out".  With that in mind, relative to audio systems, I thought it best to put more into my source equipment with the very limited dollars I had to work with.

 Probably about in 1961 I got a Kenner plug and play type of record player. I was fascinated by the steel needle and horn type design. Plus, you could put little army men on it and they would fall off when you started it up! My next set up wasn't much better. This is when I learned that if want something bad enough, you have to work for it. That lesson payed off very well.


"This is when I learned that if want something bad enough, you have to work for it. That lesson payed off very well." I wish the more current generations would learn this lesson. No offense to others, just saying nothing should be free. Work hard and reap the rewards.


Your system is damnably close to a system I actually had at one my dad would regularly hand down stuff that was a victim of his upgrade-itis. The Wollensak reel-to-reel. The Kenwood KW-40, which I remember first  seeing at the L.A. Hi Fi Show at the Ambassador Hotel. The Dual TT...but with one of the cheaper Shure cartridges.

A crystal radio set my father bought me at about 5-6 years of age. He strung it (the wire antenna) between two trees in the front yard, and ran it into my bedroom window. It fascinated me for hours upon hours listening to what I could find, especially at night.

First was a complete stereo package around 1K in 82, an AKAI turntable, tuner, single tray cassette, and intergrated amp. The speakers were the world class Hitachi 3way towers, and the usual amp cords in the box. They even came with  printed owner manuals in the boxes!

A Sony quadraphonic system that I purchased at a going out of business auction.  Sadly, it was when catalog sales put the last audio store in our town out of business.  I waited the entire auction with my mom for that system to go on the block.  It was the very last thing auctioned off and everyone were already up and forming a line to pick up their winnings except mom and a middle aged man who gave up when it hit $100 and I got my stereo.  It took an entire season of berry picking to pay for it but it was worth every second on my knees in mud with rain on my back picking strawberries, in the rain picking cucumbers, and sweating in full sun wearing long sleeved shirts to protect my arms while picking raspberries.

Around ‘84…

  • SOTA Saffire, SEAC arm, AQ cartridge
  • PSE preamp and amp,
  • Vandersteen 2C


1968. My first.

- Stanton cartridge

- Garard table and arm

- Dyna PAS (I built)

- Dyna Stereo 70 (I built)

- Lafayette speakers

- Lafayette tuner

- Lafayette lamp wire, cables

I remember that the first Monster Cable, I believe it was 12 gauge multi-strand copper, was the big deal of its time.  I think that was about 1979.  I replaced my 16 gauge lamp cord with it.  The original Tip Toes quickly followed.  That was the beginning of so much more to come, for all of us.

@unreceivedogma Do you still have any of the Dynamo stuff? Over the decades I have had ST70’s, FM3’s and various Dyna preamps come and go; I wish I would have kept an ST70’s and an FM3.

Thank God for student loans!!!! Walked into my local stereo store in Santa Barbara Ca. 1976, and dropped about 1000.00 on a Yamaha cr 800 reciever, a Nakamichi 550 cassette deck and some ADS speakers....when I got every thing home, it turned out the Nakamichi was the next dayI took it back, and upgraded to the 600 model.I already had a Phillips 202 electronic turntable.......... I wish I still had the speakers...but I blew out the tweeters after 10 years....

In 1978 I bought a pair of Boothroyd Stuart Meridian 105 monos and matching 101B preamp with an Oracle tt (the second ever produced, first after the prototype) with Dynavector Ruby cart driving a pair of KEF 105s. Cost at the time was $7000.00. That was sota at the time and I really don't think sq has come much further imo. What would 30 grand do now? Probably about the same. Could you hear the difference between a 10,000.00 dollar tt vs one ten times that cost in an ABX today? Maaaybe.