First time you were blown away by a stereo?

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

  1. robgmn

    robgmn Super Member

    Twin Ports, MN
    As a kid I worked for Radio Shack for a few years. I loved electronics and was always trying to make what I had better (on a budget, of course). Being young, my exposure to home audio was the likes of my mother's Panasonic "system", my father's Nova 8B speakers (he didn't have a receiver), and brand names like Sony, Technics, Kenwood, Marantz (champagne and BPC series) that I saw in the Sunday circulars (Macy's, Crazy Eddie, 6th Ave Electronics. Top's Appliance City).
    I wanted my brother's vintage Marantz receiver, Marantz speakers, and Thorens turntable (with a Shure V15), but he wasn't giving them up :)

    One day a Rat Shack co-worker told me to stop by the dedicated Hi-Fi store he worked at a few towns over. He took me into a demo room with a set of B&W 801 speaks powered by a McIntosh amp. That sound quality became a dragon I chased for a long time. Not too long ago, after 30 years, I got to listen to a set again at the home of another AK member. Though the room and hardware interaction was very different, I still really enjoyed the sound of those B&Ws.

    The second time I had a hair-on-the-neck-stand-up-and-I-get-goosebumps moment was when I heard a set of Carver ALSIII speakers being driven by a Denon AVP8000 pre with a (I think) POA8200 amp. "Poles Apart" from Floyd's "Division Bell" was playing. Though I had listened to DSOTM, The Wall, Animals, WYWH a million times, I had not listened to anything produced after The Wall.

    Moments like those are too few and far between.


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  2. FauxHall

    FauxHall Super Member

    Abu Dhabi, UAE
    Apogee Duettas in a shop in San Francisco.

    You had to keep your head just-so to be rewarded with such incredible purity of sound.
  3. CoogarXR

    CoogarXR Super Member

    It was about 1988-ish. I lived in a middle-class area, and I was used to Fisher rack systems and Radio Shack offerings. Decent stuff, but just kinda middle-of-the-road stuff. My aunt lived quite a distance away, and I had to go spend a week with her. Turns out, she's an audiophile! I don't remember what she had by the way of gear, but she had some nice KLH speakers, and one of the first consumer-grade CD players made. It sounded very good. But hang on, that wasn't the time I was blown away...

    She planned a little day trip for us to go to some stereo shops under the guise that I should help her pick out some new speakers. To this day, I don't think she really wanted new speakers, it was just a way to justify listening to speakers and keeping me occupied with something she knew I'd be totally down for. She took me to AudioCraft in Toledo (which doesn't appear to be there anymore). I heard the McIntosh XRT-22...

    THAT was the time I was blown away. I don't remember what was played, I don't know what they powered them with, but I remember sitting in that glass room having my first "omg" experience with audio. It erased all the memory of any other speakers we auditioned that day.

    I still remember it like it was yesterday.

    I didn't get to see her much as we all grew older. She developed lung cancer about 10 years ago, and I wrote her a letter about how that one-week visit totally changed my life, and how thankful I was to have spent that time with her, and how awesome it was to visit all those cool places that I never would have known about. She died 4 days after I sent the letter. I'll never know if she got to read it.

    I still have the AudioCraft sales flyer from that day.
    Bdbras84 and rxonmymind like this.
  4. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

    Gilbert, AZ
    Great story. I looked for a pair for years before finally finding a set at Audio Classics. I've never looked back. They're out there if you're patient.
  5. hemiram

    hemiram Active Member

    Toledo, ohio
    I spent a bunch of time and money at the Audio Craft Toledo on Monroe St in the early/mid 80's. It's long gone. Last time I was in there, I don't remember the year, it was close to the end. Pretty sad. I bought my Yamaha PX-2 turntable and DSP-1, which temporarily replaced my Audio Pulse Model 2 there. To be honest, I didn't like the sound of it any better than the AP, and almost as soon as the warranty expired the DSP-1 took a dive and it was so expensive to fix I retired it and the AP came back until it was replaced with the NEC Av-300 Type II surround sound amp, which I got new, but dead in the box, for $50! A badly soldered power switch was the problem and I used it on my main system and then on my PC, until it literally exploded one day. At my high power point, I was running the NEC into a pair of strapped Carver M-400T's, with my Yamaha R-900's power amps running my surrounds. With the AR-91's I was using as my LR speakers, the Carvers were really working when it was cranked up.
  6. starcopy

    starcopy AK Subscriber Subscriber

    NE Ohio USA
    Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Late '70s, early '80s. Was invited to visit a guy who had a pair of EPI 1000 speakers (AKA EPI Towers) each measuring 6-1/2 feet tall, weighing 180 pounds, delivering sound on all four sides, and costing one thousand dollars (each). They were driven by an Ampzilla amplifier kicking out 200+ watts per channel. Never forget that experience.


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