My audiophile journey started in elementary school, when my dad brought home a Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorder. The hours spent playing with that makes me question how I had time to do anything else. Next up, in junior high school, I tried using my tubed guitar amplifier to make our stereo sound better. Turns out I fried a few things, so becoming an audio engineer was not in my future. In high school and college, I started attending live concerts. Seeing The Who, Procol Harum, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck w/Rod Stewart (all in the front row touching the stage and for four dollars) made me crave that live sound. These days, I enjoy classical music, light jazz and most things that aren't amplified. When it comes to musical films, I can't decide between Singing in the Rain, or The Music Man. My favorite live musical is Les MisÚrables.
My preferred local venue is the Ambassador Auditorium (located in Pasadena, CA), called by some concert-goers "The Carnegie Hall of the West." Not having been to Carnegie Hall, I am not sure if that's a complement, but it has extremely natural sound. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is also a wonderful venue from the seats I've been in, and it features a unique architectural experience thrown in for free!
I've been fortunate to meet people in the professional industry of audio who have offered guarded advice when it came to building a system, but (as they say in the magazines) trust your own ears. I have heard multi-dollar systems that were much better than what I could afford, such as Martin Logan Statements (biggest transparent one-seat sound stage), Apogee Duetta (biggest goosebumps), Wilson Grand Slamms (biggest overwhelming power), B&W Nautilus (natural sound), MBL (beam-me-up Scotty; a multi-seat soundstage that sucks one into the performance), etc.
This hobby occupies a chunk of my day. Being a small contributor to WBF is pretty cool, and I'll do my best to make Woofer & Tweet give you a smile concerning our obsessive passion.