Reader, Jack Flory sent me this touching story of becoming an audiophile and I wanted to share part of it with you.
I don’t remember the exact date that I became a budding audiophile, but it all started in 1965 when I was in the seventh grade.
My parents were building the house of my mother’s dreams. My father agreed as long as he was allowed to put a newfangled Stereo in the living room. It would be a huge upgrade to our ancient record player that lived in a wood box on a table. So, off we went shopping.
It was a cold rainy night on the east coast and we went stereo shopping, riding in our venerable and well-ventilated Army Jeep. I hid under a blanket in the back until we got to the store that sold Marantz and McIntosh equipment. And this is when it happened. I listened to music played through a system of McIntosh components connected to a pair of Klipschorns. I was hooked. I wanted that system in our home, but the look on my mother’s face wasn’t promising. I was so enamored with the fidelity of the music, I asked the salesman, a friend of my father if he had room in the back such that I could move my bed in and stay there. The parents were not amused. However, they did consent to allow me to stay there under the salesman’s supervision for a short time as they did other shopping in the mall as long as I sat in a chair, didn’t move and didn’t touch anything. That would probably be labeled child abuse today. On the way home, my mother issued her edict from the front seat. “John, I don’t want that in my house. You can see wires.”
And there you have it. Classic. Even in the 60s, the sight of wires or the workings of a stereo were unwelcome in so many homes.
I remain convinced this is one reason our systems remain a niche category despite the fact I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love better sound.
(In Jack’s much longer version of the story, the family finally settled on a Zenith console stereo with no visible wires)