An Audio Journey Part 1

I started listening to music on my dad’s system consisting of Lenco turntable and a Scott integrated amp driving speakers which brand I never really got to see since they were built into those 60’s style console cabinets.
It was here that I got to listen to my dad’s collection of Sinatra, Bennet, Glenn Miller, etc
When my older cousins come over, they’d bring their Cascades, Gary Lewis, and Beatles Lps sometimes leaving them behind for me to listen to.

But my personal audio journey would have started when I fell in love with “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” . I could only catch that song on the radio so I asked my mom if I could have her AM/FM transistor radio.
Below is a list of that audio journey I have traveled culminating to where I am now.
You will have to bear with me. I may have forgotten some model numbers since my
half -a- century old biological hard drive have lost some of its RAM along the way.

Mom’s AM/FM Transistor (forgot the brand)
Portable Cassette Player

My parents noticed my fascination with music since my ear was always stuck to that transistor radio. They decided to give me this portable cassette player. I think some of the older WS guys would remember this portable single speaker, top-loading device. A Nak it surely ain’t but this shoebox sized contraption introduced me to Motown, Chicago, and other artists of that time not unlike the iPod’s introduction of John Mayer et al to my kids now.
Btw, I don’t have that exact portable player with me now but was able to get hold of a similar one just for old times sake.

National Record Changer/Receiver
8 Track Cartridge Player (forgot the brand)
Philips Cassette Deck
This Philips deck was a cool unit. Hindi pa uso ang auto reverse noon so it had a device where you could stack the tapes on top of each other and when the first one finishes playing one side, a contraption would push it into a bin leaving way for the next one on the stack to play.

The Japanese Invasion Part 1

My first real stereo set-up was a high school grad gift some 38 years ago consisting of:
Pioneer SX 650 35 watt Receiver
Technics SL 1500 Turntable
Pioneer CS (?) speakers
Sony (?) Cassette deck
Akai (?) open reel
This system provided me with endless days and nights of listening pleasure for the next couple of years. It transported me to a world where I could vocalize Colin Bluntstone’s “Caroline Goodbye” or Jim Webb’s “One Lady”. I could trade Philly Soul dance steps with the Spinners. And at times I could play “air guitar” while listening to The Who’s “See Me, Feel Me”.

I guess I got all the chords mixed up cause Roger Daltry would just stare at me with a frown.

It goes without saying that this set up provided the impetus to my record collecting.

I got married during the early 80’s and moved in to our garage-converted one-bedroom abode.
Due to the space constraints, I had to leave behind the Jap Invasion in my parents house and settled for a Sony FH something mini-compo. The sleek and convenient design of this system fit our small place and I told myself it would fit my “ears” likewise.

“NOT”. . .
Just like Doc Stereophile, I missed the big sound of big speakers.
I started to build up a new system, this time consisting of:

High-End Kuno
Vector Research 85 watt receiver
Fostex based local speakers
Pioneer PL(?) turntable
Teac (?) Sendust Ferrite Head Cassette Deck / Nakamichi ZX7
ADS Equalizer
It was at this time that I started to hear the word “High End” but knew nothing much about it. So during a trip to the US in 1983, I entered a stereo store similar to Circuit City and was fooled by the salesperson into believing that a Vector Research receiver I was looking at was a high end product.
Well, anything that wasn’t Japanese and had “Research” on it must be high end, I told myself.
Yeah Right! I reached back home only to find out that the “high end” Vector Research was proudly made in Taiwan!
Imbes na Bill Johnson, naging Bill Jong Song tuloy!
Just goes to show what happens when you don’t do your homework.

And so I hit back the books, or rather magazines.
At this point, I still haven’t heard of the Absolute Sound or Stereophile. But ironically, It was one article in Stereo Review that I read about a “sub-culture” in audio called High End.
I started reading names like Krell, Conrad-Johnson, Levinson, Audio Research (there goes that word again), Sa mga pangalan nalang, maganda ang tunog, ano pa kaya kung . . .

Audiophilia Nervosa PART 1
Since there was no internet then to guide me, I just kept on reading the Bulletin’s Classified ads to see if any name like Levinson or Krell might appear. Lo and Behold! Acoustic Research (there goes that word again) turntable for sale said one ad.
I quickly rushed to the place not really intending to buy anything. I just wanted to see what this high end thing was all about.
You could just imagine my awe at the sight and sound of the seller’s setup which consisted of a Luxman PD300, Conrad Johnson pre amp, Magneplanar SMGa with Decca Tweeters and for amplification – Audio (wait for it) Research D150.
To make a long story short, I traded in the Fostex for my first “high end” system:

Acoustic Research (?) Turntable
Stax D80 Amps
Precision Fidelity C7
Heil Ess AMT Speakers

Those of you who caught the disease Audiophilia Nervosa know what happens when you take this plunge. A never-ending addiction to sell and upgrade over-powers you.
It was during this second half of the 1980’s that this addiction consumed me to the path of the following:

B&W DM 6
Luxman PD300
Audio Research D76
Audible Illusions
Rega Planar
Systemdek II
Quad 57
Tympani (?) Speakers
Celestion SL6s
Celestion SL6si
Counterpoint (?) Pre amp
Audio Innovations (?) Integrated
Audio Research SP9 Mk 1
Audio Research D79
Infinity RS 4.5
Michell Gyrodek/Odessey/Koetsu Blk
Audio Research SP9 Mk 11
Teac V sometning cassette deck
Nakamichi CR7 cassette deck
Nakamichi ZX7cassette deck

Walang katapusang Carol Kidd at Jazz At the Pawnshop ang tugtugan during this time.

We built the house at the onset of the 90’s. And since funds were needed during the construction period, I had to unload most of the stuff, leaving behind only the Gyrodek and D79. But the itch wouldn’t let up. And just like an addict, needing his fix to feed this high end itch, I sold Jap Invasion partt 1 which led to

Audiophilia Nervosa Part 2:

Audio Research D79
Michell Gyrodek/Odessey/Koetsu Blk
Magnepan SMGa
Cary Audio 40 monoblocks
Quicksilver monoblocks
Yves Cochet Preamp
Tannoy (?) bookshelves
Classe 30
Quad II monoblocks
Apogee Centaur Minor
Sonus Faber Minima
Enlightened Audio Design CDP
JVC 1010 CDP

This went on till the latter part of the 90’s.
Then it stopped.

Some call it “audio burn out”. But also, some personal priorities led me to unload ALL my stuff.
It was also during the early part of this decade when we set up DiscExchange.
The store gave me my daily fix of music sans high end though.


2005 –
I have been without any expensive stuff for the past few years.
I still get to feel that itch once in a while (especially during the Hifi Show)
though its under control now.
I still get to listen to music with:

Japanese Invasion Part 2:
Kenwood KA 6004 35 watt integrated amp
Sony La Voce Speakers
Technics SL 1500

So after 38 years, I’m back to where I started.
Full Circle or Fool’s Circle?
You guys be the judge.


Oh, by the way, this present 35 watt-Jap speaker combo still allows me to do a mean “air guitar”.
Roger Daltry still stares at me though.
But you know what? . . .

Now he’s smiling.  🙂

– June 2008



An Audio Journey Part 2



6 Responses to “An Audio Journey Part 1”
  1. Anonymous says:

    i can see pic anonuevo in your audio journey sir. you have similar taste in audio gear

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