Wow, Thank you for the invite, and great idea!
Me - Aaron Mefford. My dad's an engineer. He built a Heathkit integrated amp back in the '60's, along with what I think were big 12" advent coaxial 2 way speakers in a 2-1/2' x 3' x 2' cabinet on each side of the couch, and a decent Girard belt drive turntable. The house was filled with Jazz, and I was maybe 5 years old. That amp lasted about 15 or 20 years, and through my intro into 70's rock music. I think I was 11 when Hendrix died (you are but a pup, Mr. Mercer!). The music love has been life long. I put together my first modest speaker rig in ages about 2 years ago, 3 or 4 years after the headphone bug bit me. It is a value based system - a pair of Fritz Grove Tower demo units, one of two identical demos that he builds of all his speakers to voice them, and a Peachtree Nova (the original, not the super). It is one hell of a system for about a buck under $2000.
Headphones - For me, they allow listening to the music of my choice without bothering my lovely wife and 8 year old daughter. My wife and I have a pretty narrow band of common ground as music goes, so headphones are a natural. Add to that the intimate presentation and the fact that a truly wonderful sounding rig can be put together (carefully) for around $1000 or less, and I'm in! My thoughts, feelings and brief reviews of equipment almost always weight the value component heavily - for instance, sure the LCD2.2 is technically a "better" headphone than the Mad Dog, but that extra $800 or $900 just doesn't get me far enough up the audio ladder to be worth it for me. Lots of competition for the $'s in my home, so value weighs heavily in my audio purchases.
What else? After a disastrous first run through college 30 years ago, I finally graduated about 18 years ago, as an engineer. My first job was on the International Space Station design and construction, second for a Palo Alto Satellite design build company, and since I've gone to work in the rotating equipment field ( I don't like it all that much, but at least the hours are long and I work a lot of weekends...).
I FINALLY got married for the first time 10 years ago, to my wonderful and lovely wife (whom since she elected to marry me, I have accused repeatedly of being dropped on the head as a child). We have a special 8 year old daughter.
I'm happy Warren and hififguy put this group together - it is a fine band of folks, and I look forward to getting together in smaller settings on occasion. For instance, I expect that I'll have my HIFI-M8 in the next couple of weeks. I'd like to compare to some desktop amps in the $700 to say under $2000 range.