First time you were blown away by a stereo?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by birchoak, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. red 111

    red 111 Well-Known Member

    talking about Bose 901s...Went to a dance club in midtown Manhattan (Cocu???)they had a steel dance floor with 2 pair of 901s on chains hanging from the ceiling...playing dance music real loud...sound was amazing...this was in the 1970s..they outright Boogied


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  2. imral3

    imral3 Super Member

    Blackwood, New Jersey
  3. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Philadelphia PA
    I also have that LP. It's one of the best and most lifelike sound LP's I've ever heard.

    Night On Bald Mountain: It's considered to be Classical.
    Night on Bald Mountain (Russian: Ночь на лысой горе, Noch′ na lysoy gore), also known as Night on the Bare Mountain, is a series of compositions by Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1881). Inspired by Russian literary works and legend, Mussorgsky composed a "musical picture", St. John's Eve on Bald Mountain (Russian: Иванова ночь на лысой горе, Ivanova noch′ na lysoy gore) on the theme of a witches' sabbath occurring on St. John's Eve, which he completed on that very night, 23 June 1867. Together with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko (1867), it is one of the first tone poems by a Russian composer.[1]

    I was blown away by music from an early age. As a kid (military brat) I remember seeing and hearing (1959?) My Fair Lady and West Side Story live on stage in London. For both performances the orchestras got more of my attention than the singing and dancing. My exposure to those two live orchestras ignited a desire to hear more. Having and listening to a stereo is the logical extension.

    My first real epiphany with stereo equipment was while I was in the service. I bought a fisher KX-90, AR-4 speakers and a Benjamin Miracord TT w/Pickering cartridge. The very first thing I played was Ramsey Lewis, The In Crowd. Add a little Ho Che Min green and I was in audio heaven.

    I still find watching others dance as interesting as watching paint dry. I attend some ballets only because I like the music. Every woman I've ever met liked dancing. What's up with that?
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  4. justjed2

    justjed2 Well-Known Member

    I grew up on live music. My dad played guitar, my mom sang, and there were always bands, band practice, and gigs, fairs, and honky-tonk bars. At home, music was either mom-and-dad, AM radio, or the typical late-60s-early-70s portable record changers. Just before Christmas, 1976, I was 14, and while walking thru a mall, heard a piano coming from a stereo store. I looked, but there was NO piano, just some room dividers, and curiosity got the best of me. I went in, and talked to the guys, asking who was playing the piano, and where they had it hidden?! By now, you've probably guessed that the 'room dividers' were, in fact, a pair of Maggies. After a more thorough demo of their capabilities, I was hooked. Still don't have a pair of Maggies, but the system I have now is finally good enough to make me think I don't really need them!
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  5. KDAC

    KDAC Addicted Member

    Green/red anjou or bartlett? :) I couldn't resist. In all earnestness, it's cool to know that you were "blown away" by a setup at a USAF facility. The overwhelming number of people I know that have mentioned such experiences stated they occurred at a friend's/family member's/acquaintance's home or at a retail store.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
  6. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

    Fixed it (1st part)… the Base Exchange shows (factory rep demonstrations included) were more than just retail displays. They had permanent show rooms that you could listen to (high volume) any time. Good amount of stereo's were sold back then .. actually in the 1980's (according to some of the older guys) the shows were not what they use to be.

    I did listen to other people's stereo's .. but most were in dorm rooms that did not have an ideal space to work with. Would I be impressed today? :no: … but I was in my young 20's at the time .. never seen or heard stereo's like that before.
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  7. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    As a teen, I visited virtually all the hi-fi shops in the Atlanta area and got to know a number of characters. In '74, a new one opened pretty near me so I stopped by to see what they offered. At first glance, it seemed like many with a smallish room containing several receivers and perhaps a dozen bookshelf speakers, all controlled through a switch box. It was the first time I was exposed to Fulton and ADS. The shop owner played a few tracks for me. The ADS 710 fed by an H-K 730 sounded really nice.

    Then he invited me to walk upstairs and take a look...

    OMG! There at one end of a large room were Magnepan Tympani IIIs tri-amped using Audio Research electronics and a Crown DC-300A on the woofer panels. Linn Sondek LP-12 / SME3009 with Ortofon MC. He graciously played a few tracks on them. That was the first major recalibration of how good an audio system could sound. They were so far and away more natural sounding than K-Horns, AR-LSTs, Bozaks, ESS Heils, Altec A7s among others I had previously heard.

    The second one was a couple years later when I heard Dayton-Wright XG-8 electrostats. :)

    Stumbling upon that shop triggered a series of events that led me to where I am today - through the many influential folks I met and gear I was able to hear.
  8. AdamAnt316

    AdamAnt316 Collector of heavy things Subscriber

    Ten years ago, I was visiting a local high-end audio store when I discovered that they'd gotten a pair of Paradigm Studio Monitor speakers in on consignment. I spent a few hours listening to various CDs through them, hemming and hawing before I finally plunked down the $500 (the most I'd paid for stereo gear at that time) and took them home one at a time in the back of my Oldsmobile 88.

    Once I hauled them into my listening room, I hooked them up to my Pioneer SPEC-4 power amp, and cued up an early CD (not Telarc) containing the 1812 Overture. When the cannons were fired, I felt a burst of air hit me in the chest, which I'm guessing came from the ports. :eek: Needless to say, it quickly convinced me that I'd made the right decision. :D
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  9. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

    Gilbert, AZ
    I'd grown up in a home with two parents that always had music on. Mom played whatever was convenient - typically FM radio out of a console. Dad had a HiFi set-up in his office, which was later moved to the basement when we moved. Dad listened to stuff like Tom Waits, Led Zeppelin, Grover Washington Jr., etc. As I grew older, I was allowed to use dad's stereo to make tapes of my records, etc. so I had an early appreciation for audio.

    In 1985, my life changed. Dad had dropped off one of his Cerwin Vega R24 speakers to be re-coned at this little hole in the wall called The Stereo Clinic in Joplin, MO. I went with him. Proprietor Tom Wheeler was a interesting guy to say the least. They sold car audio, mostly used home audio, and did speaker re-coning and serviced both home and car audio out of a converted house on 20th Street. My teen years had been spent gawking at the car stereo displays in Otasco, Western Auto, and Wal-Mart. I kind of thought I knew what I wanted for my first car system when I turned 16 . . . until I met Tom. I asked Tom a few questions and Tom was just downright rude to me - you don't even know what a subwoofer IS! You need an amp to power one. When we left, I was really put off. I thought he was an asshole. My dad was like - well, he knows what he's talking about so when we go back to pick up the speaker maybe you should ask him to let you listen to the stereo in his car. Good plan.

    To my surprise, Tom agreed to let me hear the system in his car when we returned. Tom had this little POS Honda CVCC that used to be red but the paint was all faded. We hop in it and he's got these Marantz 6x9s mounted in the rear side panels over the rear seats that immediately caught my eye. He's like - those aren't even hooked up, just listen. [Incidentally, this was the first and last time I would ever see a pair of Marantz car speakers.] So, he pops in a TDK SA tape with ZZ Topp Eliminator on it (Jensen cassette deck) and fast forwards to song 4 (I'm cueing this up on my office system as I type this), I Need You Tonight. First listen for me. The intro sounded nice and then . . . OMG . . . the bass kicked in and I about shit my pants. That system moved so much air in that little car - I just couldn't believe it. Tom was running a pair of Acoustic Research 6x9" speakers in an enclosure that they custom built in the hatch. It had a 12" woofer cone pointing towards the rear used as a passive radiator. A 65w per channel power amp was mounted under the passenger seat and that ran the 6x9s. It was like nothing I had ever heard in my life. Not only did that car rock, but I could feel the bass! I was 15. All the way home, my dad thought I was crazy. He didn't even understand what I was trying to explain to him. He didn't sit in the CVCC . . . he should have!

    I turned 16 a few months later and got my first car a few months after that. My dad gave me a Pioneer KP-7500 out of his Camaro for the car. I took the only $250 I had left after buying the car, getting it tuned up, etc. to Tom and gave it to him (my dad about lost it). Tom set me up with a used Clarion EQA500 EQ, a used JVC 50wpc power amplifier, and a pair of brand new Pioneer TSA-6907 4-way 6x9s to complement the Pioneer I already had. This was 1985. I could play Van Halen so loud that you could hear me a quarter mile before I showed up. Over the next several years, I tried and tried and tried to replicate how I Need You Tonight sounded in that CVCC to no avail. I tried 6x9s from Cerwin Vega (CS18A), Pyle Driver (6940D), JVC, AFS Kricket, Jensen Quadaxes, etc. I built a similar box under the rear deck with a 12" passive. Eventually, Tom was like - dude, try the ARs. I did and never looked back. That was the winning combo, although I couldn't quite get the same sound Tom had as he had a hatchback and I had a sedan but it was close.

    Throughout high school, I was known as the car stereo guy. Everyone wanted me to hook up their system and I had lots of cars in my parents driveway. This led to a career in the car audio industry that lasted 2 decades. [Home audio became a hobby in 1990]. Eventually, that took me all the way to becoming a Regional Sales Manager with this little company known as Rockford Fosgate. All because Tom Wheeler let me hear the system in his car. I never forgot it.
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  10. faber12

    faber12 Super Member

    Northwest Ohio
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  11. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

    Gilbert, AZ
    Thank you sir!
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  12. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Amesbury, MA
    Although in no way related to this thread, I commend you for your patronage of the cherished "dancing banana." It is perhaps the finest thing produced by the information age.
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  13. Guest126

    Guest126 Well-Known Member

    I can't say that I was ever blown away by a stereo because my ears are always searching for more, even when I have more than I can handle. To answer the question, I would say at least twice (that I was impressed by the sound of a system) many years ago when I was a teen; Both times they were done by modest systems (less powerful than the one I had at home). That was a lesson I learned a long time ago, that speakers really can make or break the performance of your system. It doesn't pay to go cheap on speakers; Indulge and/or get the best set of speakers that you can find or afford. You will enjoy your music much better and longer with a high quality set of speakers.

    When my brother bought a set of high quality JBLs, I listened to one of my instrumental lps with my turntable, and I was even impressed with the sound of my material on someone else's speakers!
  14. soundmotor

    soundmotor super modified Subscriber

    Early '88, demo of Spica Angelus & Rickie Lee Jones vinyl at a stereo shop. Had never heard a system image or sound so natural before. It left a decades long impression.

    The downside was returning home to a craptastic system for awhile longer.
    electronjohn likes this.
  15. imral3

    imral3 Super Member

    Blackwood, New Jersey
    I had posted a question. Then realized it was already answered and didn't know how to delete the post. So, I edited it instead. Lol!
  16. Superampman

    Superampman AK Member

    Kitchener, ON.
    I never kept the general appointment to hear the DW, a certain time on a certain day of the week, regularly for a while. Then they disappeared all of a sudden. Same thing with the B&W 808s. Oh well.


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  17. pdm4606

    pdm4606 Super Member

    Las Cruces, NM
    Walking through Allied Radio Western Ave. store way back in 1957 or 1958. First stereo on tape setup with a JBL Paragon with un remembered amp. I was around 15 and ripe for life's excitement.
    The music was maybe Perez Prado or some such Latin sound. I walked into one of their listening rooms and was blown away. Been the same since.
    Of course the closest I could come were L-100's and an Onkyo recvr. I got the L-100's in 72 and still have them. I think they sound better lately. Or maybe it's my aged hearing.
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  18. Aptone

    Aptone AK Subscriber Subscriber

    When I was about 13 or 14 a good buddy of mine had an older (beautiful) sister and we ended up over at one of her friend's house one day. Her friend had a pair of Ohm Walsh speakers, probably Model 2, and fired up some Steve Miller on the turntable. I think I was already on my way to being obsessed by music and stereos and probably had at least my Panasonic Platinum boom box by this point, if not my first little Radio Shack system. Well, the song Abracadabra totally worked some magic on me as I could not believe the sound from those omnidirectional speakers. I was totally stunned. Unfortunately, I have never heard a pair of Ohm Walsh speakers since.

    Later, after throwing about a million hay bales to earn money, I bought a pair of Pioneer HPM-900 4 way speakers with 12" woofers. They sounded great, but the blown away part came when I was driving to college for the first time. Of course i was going to bring my stereo, and owning a 1977 two door Dodge Diplomat sedan meant that the only place the speakers would fit in the car was to sit them upright in the back seat. Well, if I was going to have a pair of large speakers in the back seat, then I might as well hook them up to my Alpine stereo. The car stereo was worth a lot more than the car. They sounded awesome! That 3-1/2 hr drive flew by and started a beginning/end of the year tradition to hook those bad boys up in the back seat to go to and from school.

    There have been a lot of firsts since then: first time hearing elecrostatics while taking a music theory class in college, first time cranking up my ADS 910s to the point that the concrete filled steel lally columns in my basement were vibrating, first time playing two sets of Magnepans simultaneously with 300+ watts per channel from a pair of SAE 2401s in a form of home made Tympanni setup (whoa, where did all that bass come from?), and more to come!
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  19. hemiram

    hemiram Active Member

    Toledo, ohio
    We tried a Christmas tree once, I ended up tossing it out into the front yard, about 2 hours after we put it up. Touching it without gloves was a mistake, my hands instantly turned cherry red and felt like they were on fire. The pine and grass reaction was almost at the level that kids with peanut allergies have, but I was never that bad where I was in danger of dying, I just wanted to. Just taking a pine needle, or a blade of grass and rubbing the broken end on my hand would result in a bright red, itching welt. Insanely, I'm immune to the "joys" of Poison Ivy/Sumac. I can touch it all day without a problem.

    Night on Bald Mountain? I thought it was one of the ones everyone knew: This recording lacks the impact of the Telarc CD I bought as my second CD period, but it still gets rolling..The Telarc CD was a real woofer and amp workout.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  20. autoanalog

    autoanalog Justin Credible

    Austin, TX

    Seriously though, my first "blown away" moment occurred when I heard Andreas Vollenweider's Caverna Magica LP on my mother's McIntosh system.

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