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.
What about you? What's your stereo look like? Post a photo of it in the comments section and tell us a little bit about it (just click the picture icon in the lower left corner of the comment window). You can also post to Instagram. Just tag your photo #nprstereo. At the end of the week we'll put together a gallery with some of our favorites.
In the meantime you can also check out the photo gallery we assembled for Carrie Brownstein's Monitor Mix column, back in the fall of 2009, featuring pictures of reader's music collections.