Looking back, it’s amazing how our obsessions seem to be almost genetically predetermined. My earliest childhood memories are of radios and vacuum tubes. With friends and relatives involved in electronics, I was immersed and captivated early on. For some children their passions were art, music or medicine, for me it was audio. Life is quirky.
Saving up money from summer jobs, my junior high stereo became the hit of the ‘hood. How many 13-year-olds owned AR3as in suburban Philadelphia? Normal kids had tacked up photos of cars, movie stars or black light posters. My bedroom walls were filled with audio equipment.
For some inexplicable reason, possibly due to being a spoiled only child, my parents let me take over half the basement of their modest suburban rancher and build a real listening room. It was a labor of love I worked on continuously after school for many months. Wood paneling, orange shag rugs, black lights… it was the quintessential 70s’ den. For a teen, the equipment was quite outrageous. Do you know just how many lawns I had to cut to afford new Bose 901s powered by a Crown DC300 amp and IC150 preamp? A lot! I had the biggest baddest sound system in town.
As an adult, the progression never ended, from Dahlquist DQ10 to Acoustat, Thiel, Linn, Wilson and everything in between. In good times and bad, the passion never waned. The evolution continued with the purchase of a nice suburban home with an empty basement. But as with many basements, the 8’ ceilings and constraints of existing HVAC, poles and stairs limited the design. The room had spectacular sound and provided my wife and I with countless hours of musical enjoyment. But the upgrade itch never left. Having moved to the Wilson X-1s, I wondered how they would sound in a larger well-treated room. What if I had space where the speakers could bloom and breathe and the walls would just disappear? For 16 years it was just a dream. What if?..