As a kid I had one of those all-in-one turntable/stereo setups, which were common in the 1970’s. Starting in high school and for several years after, I just used boombox-style systems with cassette and CD players.  In 2005 I finally had the tools to put together my first full system.

The Internet is responsible for creating and encouraging a lot of audiophiles, including myself.  I ran across a review of the Sennheiser HD600 headphones after reading about them on a forum and these were one of the first components I bought.  The attached cable is a custom cable from Cardas that I used several years later.  Surprisingly, while the Cardas cable sounded fuller than the stock cable, it was a major step backward in resolution / detail.

I had a pair of JBL speakers which were given to me by my dad.  He bought new in 1973 and aside from some slight veneer splitting they didn’t look much different 30 years later.  The wood looked really nice with some orange oil, at least for a few days.  I don’t recommend putting oils and conditioners on wood this old, as I think it can become less stable and lead to problems like the splitting.  These speakers weren’t one of the more sought-after JBL models from that era, like the L-100, but they sounded pretty good.

I was looking for an amplifier to use with the speakers and found some discussion about NAD.  I had never heard of NAD, but people were raving about it in the forums.  The unit below was the second NAD I used in this system; it was about 5-10 years old and matched very well with the JBL and had a fairly good headphone output.

The last piece of the puzzle was the source.  After some research I determined that the Denon 2910 was one of the best disc players in my price range (actually somewhat above my price range at the time, which sounds pretty funny now).  I bought the lightly used unit in the picture below.  This multi-player was one of my favorite purchases; it also played DVD and SACD.  The sound and picture were substantially better than anything else I had tried.  The 2900 series was a fantastic value and the biggest bang-for-the-buck product sold by Denon then.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the entire system put together, but it was fairly primitive.  Back then I was lifting the speakers to ear height with milk crates, using old fashioned speaker wire and I had absolutely no concept of power conditioners, room treatments or audiophile speaker and power cables.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  The time when I was listening to this stuff seems like ages ago now.