I had an RCA Lyra RD2201A player with a whopping 32MB of memory!!! I encoded all my music to 128kps MP3 and listened to it on $1 coby earbuds.
I've always been into music, as my whole family is full of musicians/music lovers. My sister is an aspiring jazz/pop-musician, my mom has played the piano for like 40 years, my dad just has a metric ton of LP's/C-cassettes, my uncle makes custom guitars and is the biggest Elvis-head ever and so on..
So basically I've always been around and with music. I started off by listening to my sister and mom play and sing, and spent hours listening to my dad's collection. Then I got my first cassette player when I was like five and then the snowball kinda started rolling. I was never really interested in audiophile-stuff, as music was more about feeling than precision/technical stuff for me, so I was perfectly happy with my cheap stereo & 50€ Sony MDR's.
But now that snowball is rolling as well.. Got my first touches last year (with Senn HD 428's), and already spent WAY too much money on audio stuff this year. But it's a beloved hobby so it's not so bad I guess :)
Waiting for my FiiO 16 package to arrive next week! Wheee
Before I was a audiophile.....Gamer, but I think I was always a audiophile at least since 6.
I wouldn't call myself 100% audiophile, but I started out as a "proud owner" of a Ipod photo back in 2004, I didn't know much about headphones and such at that time, so I go ahead and got the apple in-ear, I even compare the apple in-ear to my sister's B&O beosound2's headphone...
I kept using the in-ear till 2008, and I came across Bose in ear, and without any research I thought that is a good purchase :P
And just few weeks back, I came across Headfi, and start researching on different headphones, different music formats. Now I actually pay attention to the details of the song (not just bass which the Bose emphasize on), so I decided pick up Shure srh440, CmoyBB v2.03, and a LOD...It may not be a good list, but I guess this is the very beginning of my journey to become an audiophile~
PS: yes, I'm still using my Ipod photo, 6 years and it is still going strong !
I had a pair of V-Moda Bass Freqs. Before that a pair of Philips something-err-others. Before that Skullcandies. Before that Sony's and iBuds.
I have been interested in audio since 6th or 7th grade. I could tell the difference between 320kbps and 160 kbps with iBuds. I always went with the former. I have dug myself a deep pit with my current setup. It can only get deeper from here.
Just Fyi, I'm 15, so keep that in mind when reading. It all started with my parents. They were not musically active, but they had good music choice, which helped me a lot. So I grew up listening to and loving Led Zeppelin, U2, The Beatles, etc. Then, I got an ipod, and listened to this music, but just through ibuds :( Then I bought cheapo skullcady on-ears after I saw a friend with them, and I was so impressed with how they sounded with techno(lol)!!! I then got skullcandy earbuds, and skullcandy and sony on-ears, of slightly higher caliber, but also inherited a mid-range speaker system from my grandparents, who got new things, and I inherited ~100 LP's (Classic Rock), but this is when I entered the dubstep phase and I was just looking for the 'best' bass. shortly after this, my dad got some v-moda vibes(at the apple store), and they were so great, I knew I wanted more! My skullcandies all broke soon after that, and my sonys started falling apart, so I started listening more to the "awesome" speakers in my room. I also started looking for better headphones and was simultaneously researching building a comp at overclock.net, and stumbled across this site through them, looked around, and bought my Grado's, and E11 (and turbines for my techno), and am back to the music I wa raised on. So I really am going through the three stages of audiophilia, bass, treble, and then midrange. My wallet hasn't been happy with me though. I am now known by my friends as the "audiophile" even though I just like music enough to care about quality(they think just an iPod plus e11 is a crazy rig, and super high-end haha)
tl;dr: Parents and g-parents are awesome, skullcandy->Grado, sadness->happiness
Granted I am dating myself - when the first Walkman's came out I was hooked in music. As time went on, it wasn't until I was in college and majored in Audio Engineering did I really start to appreciate all the nuances of the music - not just the technical aspect but the all the subtle nuances as well.
No audiophiles in my family at all. Everybody keeps pissing me off for not downloading music or having more that one pair of headphones or sci-fi looking stuff on my desktop.
For me, I spent afternoons looping some Rossini, Vivaldi and Mozart cassettes when I was a kid, and only then asked mom if somebody could teach me to play a musical instrument, to learn what was behind that..
I don't have the absolute ear and I did not become a musician. But maybe I got kinda used to real musical instruments and pitched singers as well.
Been in many theatres and philarmonics, but I've never seen a academy/conservatory in my whole life.
Then, browsing the internet, I discovered that there were differences between hi-fi gear and hi-fi gear. Bought a T-Amp and a pair of bookshelf speakers. Then turned to headphones because of my parents and neighbours.
Before I was an audiophile, I kept getting fed up with my earbuds dying after 4 months of use or so. Got a pair of MTPCs figuring they would be more durable, and they were and sounded a bit better than the $30 Sony earbuds I've been using. Then that got me wondering, how much better can it sound? How much of the music am I missing because my headphones are physically incapable of reproducing it? And in just over half a year, I have my audio chain built. Probably no more new hardware for me, just tubes and music. Here's what I bought in order:
Woo Audio 5