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What was your Ah ha! moment in becoming an Audiophile?
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I started off with a Grado SR80, but it was when I later picked up a Sennheiser PX100 (original version) that I realized how, ah... eclectic the Grado sound is.
I've always been picky about sound, but didn't really find my way into audiophilia until headphones. I have a reasonably extensive background in piano, and am one of those bat-eared people who can tell you when one instrument is off in the symphony. I grew up with my parent's Bose system, and I think my first real "ah ha" moment was when I replaced those terrible satellite speakers with a Paradigm bookshelf.
From there, audiophilia nervosa slowly wormed its way into my fibre. An iBasso portable with swappable opamps? I was into the deep end now. Then I started into DIY. I didn't even start with cables, oh no I went straight to building amps and mucking around with my own simple circuit designs. I recreated Meier's active balanced ground (like a more advanced version of Ti Kan's active ground) in cmoy form.
Then I managed to wrangle myself an HE-6... and the real neurosis set in. Now I had a top end piece of gear, which meant it was easy to justify needing a better front end to "keep up" with it. Of course, with each new acquisition now the previous component became the bottleneck and so on so forth. I was up to monboblocks at one point.
Then came the Stax...
When you said "then came the stax" the Rage song "wake up" immediately started playing in my head.....(and then came the shot!)