Yeah, I know technology is way better now. But touching tiny buttons on a smartphone or laptop will never, never, never quite match the pure joy and raw ecstasy of that glorious day back in 1982 when I went out and bought my first stereo cabinet.
Anyone else with me on this magical mystery memory stereo tour?
For months prior, I tried out every stereo system in the mall, comparing the sound of the Sony to the Magnavox to the Pioneer to the Aiwa, joining every other 20-year-old in the store cranking all the knobs and blasting AC/DC and the Who and Jethro Tull inside the Sanger-Harris store while pissing off the asst. manager in the polyester suit by putting the bass on 10 and the treble on 1 which basically shook the whole store like an earthquake, dreaming of high-tech equipment I couldn’t possibly afford, and then finally, saving up every penny I could muster –$800– and buying it, hauling it home in the backseat of a $550 car that wasn’t worth as much as the new stereo, unpacking the main receiver, cassette deck, sound mixer, turntable, and two giant 100-watt speakers loud enough to peel paint off my apartment walls.
Turning on this thing for the very first time, seeing those cool blue and yellow lights dancing up and down to the beat, cranking the heavy metal sound wheel like it was launching nuclear missiles (remember how great that big metal wheel felt in your hand, and it was shaking the window glass and it was turned up to just a 6? — all while thinking, what if I turn it up all the way to 10, will the whole building explode?), and then spending the hour tuning all the treble and bass nobs just right was like breaking a personal sound barrier. Oh, and the poor neighbors were fucked.
That’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to symphonic bliss. If heaven had a sound.