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Anyone else want to reminisce about their first audio system?


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I'd never had anything beyond a Webcor record player when I got to know a friend in my last year of college (1969) who had (as I recall) a pair of JBL loudspeakers and I can't remember which amp and turntable. The sound was revelatory and when we wound up being roommates for a little while in Los Angeles I really developed a taste for the good stuff. Then I got drafted and wound up in Vietnam 1972-73, where the Pacific Exchange (PACEX) catalog tempted all of us with various Japanese-made components at what were probably very good prices. My (tax-free) monthly salary as the greenest possible second lieutenant in the Air Force was $800.00/month. For whatever reason I ordered a bunch of stuff from AR and had it sent home to my wife in Denver.

The speakers were the big draw, I think. "Acoustic suspension"--imagine that!

Acoustic+Research+Ar-2ax+specs+speaker+AR2ax+review.jpg

AR also made a receiver, such as everybody did in those days, but theirs had FM radio only. I guess I thought that seemed sophisticated.

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Of course I needed a turntable. I had a Dual 1229-Q with a Shure V15 Type 3 cartridge, if I recall correctly.  I think mine had a record changer, but I can't recall.

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Here's the cart, or a stylized cartoon of it. Pretty sure it was already mounted on the tone arm, but can't recall how that happened.

shure_v15_III_phono_cartridge.jpg

So all this was shipped to my place in Denver while I was at Tan Son Nhut; there didn't seem to be much point in having it in my BOQ room. When I got home (from Thailand; things were complicated then) in '73, it was all set up and operating. The speaker wire was pretty much lamp cord, as I recall, and the "interconnects" were probably the tonearm wires going directly to the jacks on the back of the receiver. 

I think the receiver had tubes inside, but never opened it up to take a look. It died at some point and went to Goodwill or wherever, as did the turntable and speakers and probably the LPs, which seems tragic now but seemed like the right thing to do at the time. 

Anyway that was the deal, 1972-1984 or so. 

 

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It was the mid-'60's. My very first piece was a Roberts 720 reel-to-reel tape recorder and a pair of Koss Pro 4a headphones. Bought the Roberts as a demo at a trade show. Back then pre-recorded 1/4" tapes were nowhere near their current prices. Then a Dual Turntable with Pickering cartridge. Dynaco Stereo 70 and Dynaco PAS-3x and some kind of cheap commercial grade Ampex bookshelf speakers if I recall.  Graduated up to JBL Lancer L101 speakers around 1968. Then IMF Studio 3a's and on and on...

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1978  Denon DP-790 Table, Denon Arm, Grado G1 cartridge ( memory very fuzzy on grade of stylus ) , Onkyo A-5 SS Integrated amp ( class A to 5WPC and massive for a 45wpc amp of the day, Infinity Qb speakers w tge 10” Watkins woofer, Phillips doped midrange ( same as DQ-10 ) , and of course the famous EMIT tweeter…..

Fun times…….

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In 1977 at the ripe age of 13, took $200 of my Bar Mitzvah money to Richman Gordman in Des Moines, Iowa and walked out with a Toshiba "all in one" system (Tuner/turntable/8 track and a pair of speakers) and ZZ Top Fandango on vinyl.  By 15, moved up to an entry level pair of Magnepan's and a Pioneer SX 650 (if I recall), and a Dual Table.  The Maggies were later traded in for a pair of Advents as I moved onto college.  Fun times!

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Like Steve, back in the early 70’s my parents got me a TT/8 track/radio combo ‘system’. Cheap plastic, but believe is had an inexpensive Dual TT within it, or perhaps that came later, can’t remember.

But, my first ‘real’ system was a Marantz 1050 amp, a Kenwood KD-2055 TT, (the ‘rock’, which I still have), and pair of big ol Utah speakers. No tuner or tape deck for a long time, not until the early 80’s.

Interesting enough, I eventually upgraded my Utah speakers at The Speaker Store, where our own @TomicTime Jim worked at one time, before it become Progressive Audio.  But, those were fairly soon afterwards replaced with Polk 5Jr’s, a speaker I loved….and still have those too.
 

Edited by bkeske
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On 1/15/2023 at 12:45 AM, bkeske said:

Like Steve, back in the early 70’s my parents got me a TT/8 track/radio combo ‘system’. Cheap plastic, but believe is had an inexpensive Dual TT within it, or perhaps that came later, can’t remember.

But, my first ‘real’ system was a Marantz 1050 amp, a Kenwood KD-2055 TT, (the ‘rock’, which I still have), and pair of big ol Utah speakers. No tuner or tape deck for a long time, not until the early 80’s.

Interesting enough, I eventually upgraded my Utah speakers at The Speaker Store, where our own @TomicTime Jim worked at one time, before it become Progressive Audio.  But, those were fairly soon afterwards replaced with Polk 5Jr’s, a speaker I loved….and still have those too.
 

I was 10 in 1970. Helped dad get a pioneer receiver, house made three way speakers and a Garrard changers with Grado cartridge from Joe at HiFi stereo house in Newington CT (home). He sold Crown, Klipsch, Phase Linear and other top brands in the basement. I was blow away and in love.  I always listened to music and starts buying albums and 45’s whenever we went shopping. 
 

I too used $510 of my Bar Mitzvah money to get my own system. House made three ways with Yamaha CR 620 receiver and YP211 table with the top Grado. Joe loved me and hooked me up with that upgrade. He introduced me to a bunch of the designers he was close to and that included Hafler and even Koss. I wanted the Klipsch Heresy’s badly and got two of my friends to get them with Phase Linear. I stopped by the shop every wed afternoon to listen down stairs to the corner horns as it was next to my drum lesson shop. 
 

My ex brother in law still uses the two Yamaha pieces I sold him and they sound fine after a few component upgrades using really good caps.  Joe sold me Polk 10’s with those thick copper and green wires my Sr year of HS for cost as I brought him so many friends to get systems there over the discounters in the z70’s. Crazy thinking back lol. This is a favorite thread as I love reading about how you all got started. 
 

jim, my buddy Jess remembers the Polks as that’s when I upgraded to the CJ pre and Roberson and then Moscode amps at Bruce’s. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really don't know the early model #s but here it goes:

Transistor radios as a kid in mid 60s   > One box stackable record player  >  mid 1970s Pioneer TT w/Shure mm cart, Kenwood receiver & Advent speakers  >  late 1980s Linn Basic TT , Linn LK1 pre, LK 280 amp & Vandersteen 1b speakers ...........

And that's where my Vandy story began 😊

Bruce

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18 minutes ago, Bruskie said:

That's exactly what I thought until I one day discovered what high end really entailed......

I am stuffing fingers into the ears now.

@ctsooner cay you ban this fellow, before he says something that will cost me (and others) more $ ? 😁

 

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11 hours ago, Holmz said:

I am stuffing fingers into the ears now.

@ctsooner cay you ban this fellow, before he says something that will cost me (and others) more $ ? 😁

 

Ask and receive buddy.  Bruce, I agree 100%. Once I installed Quatro over my former treo’s I was cooking with gas. I can’t go back now. No way, no how. Was that what you wanted?  Let me know as I can do better if you want, by talking about how they have been transformative.  

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