I'd had a few tape players, boom-box styley, in my early teens, but my first 'real' system was an Aiwa separates tower system. I bought it in 1996 for £800. I was 21. It was enormous. Easily three foot tall, with dual tape decks, Dolby Pro-Logic amp, Tuner, Digital Graphic Equaliser, 5 Disc Carousel style changer and topped off with a turntable. The main speakers were equally huge.
I thought the system was the nuts, back then, and so was I cos I owned it!
It got put into storage in 2002, when I moved, and stayed there until last year, when I hooked it up to my Roland drum kit. I Played some CD's through it, for a walk down memory lane. I shouldn't have. It was rubbish. Absolute rubbish. Overblown bass and the most distortion on treble that I've heard on any system.
After that, I binned it ( it took three weeks, cos I couldn't fit it all in the bin, in one go!)
I couldn't remember the model number, but there's one here. Have a ganders, just don't buy it!
Had the obligatory all in one boomboxes with bass boost, but had a revelatory experience hearing my mate's stereo, so had to get my own serious kit.
Ended up with Arcam Alpha 9 integrated amp, rotel CD player (can't even remember which one but Id say it was 2nd from the botom of the range. Supported that hardly seen format, HDCD) Krix superbrix, some silver coated speaker cable and nordost blackknight IC.
Brought me much joy, but I had to leave it behind, and I've been living of an iPod and an old Onkyo minisystem for nigh on 5 years. I've finally purchased my 2nd proper hifi, but am still waiting for delivery of the CDP and Amp and have a pair of B&W 685s staring at me begging to be hooked up to something.
Apple Mini -> Pioneer U-05 -> Adam A7X
ATV -> NuForce Icon HDP -> Genelec 8020C
Sennheiser HD650, HD595; B&W P7; Audio Technica ATH-AD900X, ATH-A900X
Originally had a Sanyo Micro system which I added the cassette deck below to, then upgraded speakers and finally swapped entirely for a new amp and cd player.
My first proper hifi system is still technically functioning!!
It consisted of the following:
Since then I added a DVD player, upgraded speakers and swapped amp to a Harmon Kardon AV100 Amp which I gave away on Freecycle recently along with the DVD player.
As a 16 year old back when CD wasn't even heard of - an ITT 'stack system' from my Nan's catalogue that cost me £449, paid over 38 weeks out of my then meagre wages of £17 a week......