Great thread! I love hearing about this stuff.
My story began when I was a kid. My dad had a very nice hi-fi system he never really listened to (he was abusing his ears with a cassette player for their ease of use) and one day when I first started to listen to music around the time I was like 7 or 8 he decided to force my brother and I to listen to his vinyl records. We were busy listening to kris kross or whatever, but when he played us the music on vinyl I remember being blown away by it. Specifically I remember listening to Live at Leeds by the Who over and over again. It was so cool at the time to be able to share that experience with my brother and father.
When I got into high school I started to listen to electronic music a lot and decided that I wanted to start DJing. This was around 1999 so there were still dance music record shops around in most major cities so I went to Yo****oshi in my hometown of Washington DC and they set me on the right track. I went out and bought a set of numark turntables (I was on a budget of whatever money I had from holidays and my meager allowance) and a mixer. I realized there was nothing in the house to play them on so I bought a cheap Sony receiver and some speakers (I don't even think they had a brand). While this was not what anyone here would call a high end stereo, it was still higher quality than just about anything my friends had and it started my love of vinyl.
Cut to about 6 years ago I had given up on vinyl and I had built up a huge collection of high quality mp3s and was listening to them on a set of logitech speakers that I had picked up for about $100. I saw a set of bose speakers at the PX (I was in the military at the time) that I decided I wanted to buy. I didn't know much about high end audio gear at the time and decided to purchase them. I remember getting home and listening to them. They were hollow sounding and the sound was just terrible to my ears. I had, for several years prior, a set of Shure IEMs and was attempting to recreate the sound quality of them from my computer. They were immediately returned to the store and I set about researching audio gear. I ended up doing TONS of research on the subject and ended up buying a Marantz integrated amp and a set of Mordaunt Short speakers. I still have this setup and love it. I kind of got the itch to get back into vinyl and got my mom's old turntable out of the attic. After digging around up there for a while I found all of my old house records and just fell back in love. While I no longer cared for DJing with vinyl, the sound of them just got the itch for vinyl back in me.
While I've spent thousands upon thousands of dollars between then and now on vinyl and equipment I can't really let it open up now. I recently moved into an apartment with my girlfriend and a VERY sound sensitive neighbor. The girlfriend gets on my case everytime I even attempt to turn the stereo up to a level I find acceptable due to her not wanting to make enemies with the neighbor downstairs so I've wound up here. While I've had several sets of pretty decent headphones in the past nothing is really up to the quality that I have from my stereo and I find the headphones I have to be too isolating and irritating to wear for multiple hours.
Thanks to this forum I've spent a ton of hours researching headphones from the wealth of knowledge here and earlier this morning I purchased a set of Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pros and hopefully they'll allow me to continue my love of high end audio.