Wow, Quadman2... It's almost as if you can read minds. This is the exact journey I've taken over the past ~40 years or so en route to the hardcore listener that I am today. My parents had a decent setup at my childhood home, but it took the sound of the system of a family friend who was a senior employee at a local music store during my teen years (thus obtaining steep discounts on thousands of albums and accompanying gear...) to push me over the edge into a passionate love affair with listening to prerecorded music. Every now and then his family would invite my parents to their home a couple a miles from ours and I'd proceed to zone out in front of his vinyl-only two-channel setup for as much time as possible during the visit. My memories are vague, but I clearly remember an upper echelon Technics turntable, preamp, amp, and separate multi-band EQ sending some of the best sounding tunes I've ever heard to two three-way floorstanders. Crystal clear vocals, taut midrange, and thunderous tight/not-sloppy bass would fill the upstairs portion of house he occupied while living with his mom (our host) while saving to get his own house. His collection of thousands of LPs (no 8-tracks, reel-to-reel, cassettes, or even CDs) inspired me to save up allowance money and eventually money from my first jobs to start my own budding collection, some of which I still own 30 or so years later. So, like yourself, for me it was definitely the music.