This is going to sound like what it is, ancient history. I can't be the oldest guy here, can I? I hope this is of interest to somebody! After hearing a new friend of mine's hi-fi (Rek-O-Kut turntable and arm with Shure M-44e cartridge (what a memory, eh?), Scott integrated tube amp, KLH speakers---designed by Joe Grado. Amazing that a high school senior would have a system like that in '68, isn't it?), I wanted my own. I did some research, and bought an AR turntable, Shure M91e cartridge, used Fisher integrated tube amp (X-100, I think it was), and AR 4x speakers. I was on my way! That served me well as I started my record collection. After finishing school and starting to work, I had the money and desire to get better (sound familiar, anyone?). Somehow in '72 I discovered this little digest-sized hi-fi magazine named Stereophile, written by one Gordon Holt in Pennsylvania. In that issue Mr. Holt happened to review a tube amp (in '72? You gotta be kidding! Surround sound 4-channel receivers is all that Stereo Review were talking about. Well, that and Bose 901's and the Phase Linear 700) by a new company named Audio Research (they had just changed their name from Electronic Industries, Inc.), and previewed a new speaker he had just received, which he said looked like a folding room divider (the original Magneplanar I). Every word in the mag was written by this one guy, and he spent most of his time talking about how the component being reviewed sounded playing music. If you weren't there, at that time, you can't imagine just how revolutionary that was. Music to my ears (pun intended)! In the back of the mag were little ads from independant Audio "Consulants", and I was lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, which had some good ones. I visited Sound Systems in Palo Alto and heard the Infinity Servo-Static's (2000 bucks, the price of an entry level 4-door sedan) driven by early SAE amps. In Berkeley I went to a tiny shop owned and operated by David Fletcher, who, when I asked if he sold Magneplanars (I just HAD to hear those), looked down knowingly and said "No, I'm pushing Dayton-Wright's (a Canadian electrostatic. They sounded terrible, I thought. David told me they were low in gas, a part of the design). David went on to become a hi-fi star, designing "The Arm" and the Sota turntable. Next was Audio Arts in Livermore, where I spent the day with it's owner and sole empoyee (also the nicest man I've met in hi-fi), Walter Davies. You might recognize his name from the products he developed, Patended, and has been selling for a long time, the Last record care line. I had been in his built-from-the-ground-up-for-sound-quality listening room, hearing for the first time (but certainly not the last) the Quad electrostatic speaker (very nice), when he told me that we would have to continue another day, as he was expecting the designer/owner of a company whose line he was "trying out for". And that man soon appeared.....Bill Johnson himself. I learned more that day than all my days since put together. What a mind! He set up his Thorens TD-125 Mk.II turntable, a wooden arm (!) he had designed and was hoping to put into production (never came to pass), and a hand-picked Decca Blue cartridge. He plugged that into his new SP-3 tube pre-amp, onto his D-51 and D-75 tube power amps, with which he was bi-amping the---there they were---Magneplanar I's (ARC was distributing them then). The openess---the sound wasn't coming out of a box, it was just there in the room. A HUGE sound field. And depth---how fun! Singers standing there, the sound of their voices coming from where their mouths would be if they were in the room (speakers TODAY fail that test). The timbre and texture of the whole picture was cut from the same cloth---the tone of an upright bass didn't change as notes from the top and bottom of it's range were played. I needed to save more money!