An online acquaintance suggested that I let readers know a little of my audio history and my hopes for this new, SET amp in my system. Fair enough!
I have been fascinated by stereo gear (and music) for a very long time. I got my first “serious” system in college in the mid-1970’s at a dedicated dealer in suburban Philadelphia. It consisted of a pair of Epicure 10 bookshelf speakers (with the famous, inverted dome “air spring” tweeter), a 12 WPC Technics by Panasonic receiver that I only recently donated to a local stereo repair shop so it could find a good home, and a Technics direct drive turntable. (I later added a Technics cassette deck.) I gave that system to a grad school classmate when I moved away.
Fast forward to around 1986. I was out of school, single, working full time and ready for High End bliss. I ended up with a pair of the original Vandersteen 2C’s, a PS Audio Elite+ integrated amp (70W, if memory serves) and a Systemdek turntable (it had a glass platter) which had terrible vibration isolation and was eventually replaced by a SOTA Sapphire. Of that original system, only the SOTA turntable – refurbished and updated – remains in my rig today.
When I was still single and a female coworker visited my house and saw the butt-ugly Vandersteens placed way out into my room (empty except for the stereo gear and a convertible sofa bed) along with the fat speaker cable on the floor and the ungainly equipment rack, she turned to me and said, “Enjoy that stuff now, because once you get married, no woman is going to put up with that mess in her house.” And “enjoy it” I did. I’d come home from my demanding job and often spend 2 hours or more each evening just listening to music. It was quite grand.
Marriage and new fatherhood, with its financial responsibilities and time constraints, put my audiophile aspirations on the back burner for about 10 years. Then, after a home remodel that yielded a small guest room, I prepared to take the rig out of mothballs and find it a new home in the new space. But the Vandy’s would’ve totally dominated the small room and the amp was showing its age, so it was time to rebuild a music system. My admittedly childish pouting over having to part with my ugly, low-WAF speakers yielded to fascination with the changes that had taken place in High End Audio since the mid-’80s. It was like an audio version of “Rip Van Winkle.”
Chief among the changes that I’d missed during my audio hibernation, apart from any advances in technology, was the appearance of THE INTERNET, which hadn’t existed since the last time I’d bought stereo gear.
Amazing! I discovered Audiogon and sold the amp and speakers on that site. And then the search for a new system began in earnest…