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People Who Are Addicted To Music

What’s Your Stereo?


My first stereo had a built-in 8-track player, a turntable and a radio. My parents bought it at a local discount store for what probably seemed like a fortune to them at the time, and I used it for years. My mom eventually sold it at a garage sale. It wasn’t that nice of course, but I’d love to have it back.


When I went off to college, I got my first stereo with a CD player. It was a Pioneer with various components and 30-inch-tall speakers that sounded pretty amazing to my teenage ears. After graduation, I gave it to a friend in exchange for letting me crash on his living room floor for a few months while I tried to figure out what to do with my life. That was more than 20 years ago and he only recently donated it to a reading service for the blind, in still-perfect working condition.


Throughout the ’90s, I listened to everything on a very cheap boombox. It, too, was sold at a garage sale, and when I started working for All Songs Considered, I decided to go big and hire an expert audio guy to put together the finest system he could, for what I was willing to spend. It took him a few weeks, but I eventually had the most amazing stereo I’d ever heard, with components by companies I’d never heard of. The speaker cables were handmade just for me!


But, D.C. living is small living, and it’s hard to keep anything that big and nice in a tiny apartment with a toddler running around. So I gave it to NPR Music’s Daoud Tyler-Ameen, who has since tricked it out with an additional turntable, receiver and DVD player.

Meanwhile, I’ve downsized to my smallest stereo yet: A block of wireless speakers and my iPhone. It actually sounds wonderful, and it’s hard to beat the convenience.


My current stereo has been downsized for a small space, but still has a full sound. It's just an iPhone with the wireless Klipsch G-17 Airplay.

My current stereo has been downsized for a small space, but still has a full sound. It’s just an iPhone with the wireless Klipsch G-17 Airplay.

Robin Hilton/NPR



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This entry was posted on June 27, 2013 by in VICES and tagged , .

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