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A New Kid on the Block

Audiophile Review welcomes Paul Wilson as a new contributor. His first Blog serves as an introduction…


AR-newkid4.jpgAudiophileReview.com has graciously asked me to periodically write a Blog. I thought I’d offer a little background on how I became an audiophile.

Hopefully other audiophiles can relate.

In 1972, my Mother bought me a transistor radio, mostly because I kept hijacking the family Philco into the den. About the same time, the brother of my best friend got an all McIntosh system. Tube amp, preamp, tuner and a turntable and speakers. I never knew music could sound that way. Try as I might, I could not get my little transistor to sound like that McIntosh system.

I subscribed to Stereo Review and read every word of every issue- cover to cover. In those days Julian Hirsch was the last and final word in audio as far as I was concerned. I saved clippings in a shoebox for my “dream system.” What I wanted is now lost to history with one exception- an SAE Mark 2600 amp and the matching preamp. For that, I would have done most anything.

AR-newkid3.jpgBecause my Dad was not about to plop down $10K for me to have an audio system, I set about raising money myself. I think I cut every blade of grass and raked every leaf in the neighborhood for one year and saved up enough money for my first system. It consisted of a Marantz Model 1040 integrated amp, a pair of Acoustic Research (AR) – 6 speakers and a turntable. The actual make escapes me. And I was in heaven.

That system lasted for a number of years. I’ve also had a variety of mid-fi and entry-level high-end components as well. But I never lost my desire for that dream system. In early 2011, I found myself with a receiver with dead capacitors, so I needed a new stereo. I had the means. Finally, I’d build my high-end system. My dream system – the one from the shoebox.

Ar-newkid1.jpgI started with a McIntosh MA6600 amp, a Rega RP1 turntable, a Peachtree Audio DAC-iT, a Mac Mini and a set of Vandersteen 2CE Signature II Speakers. Once assembled, I convinced myself I had the finest system on the planet. Until, that is, I attended the 2012 Capitol Audio Fest.

At CAF, the first room I visited was the United Home Audio room. With their own reel to reel, the MBL Reference Line electronics, the MBL 116F speakers, and an equally superb turntable, I learned that I did not have the best sound on the planet. Not by a wide margin.

On the way home, I vowed to build the system I wanted in 1973 when I was fifteen years old. So from mid 2012 until now I have been playing musical chairs with my audio system – buying a component and then deciding it was not to my liking and upgrading it. And finally I have the system I have always wanted.

AR-newkid2.jpgMy methods are probably not the wisest way in which to assemble an audio system. But, I’m having fun. At least I did not buy the 1967 Pontiac GTO Tri Power that I also wanted. One mid-life crisis at a time. Perhaps next year I’ll try getting killed in a car crash speeding around town a vintage muscle car.

In future blogs I’ll get into some of my other audio experiences. Perhaps they will be similar to some of yours…

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