Did I Just (Unwittingly) Join a Cult?

I grew up in blue-collar Milwaukee with modest means and values.

In fact, the only thing I can even remember really, really wanting was a Marantz receiver and a Dual turntable. (Well, that and an American Motors Gremlin, but that’s another story.)

But, back then, that would have set me back $1,000—and that’s not including a pair of JBL Century 100 speakers with the electric-orange foam grills that I coveted.

So I bought some cheap stereo gear, like every other kid I knew, and packed off for college, where I repressed my aural obsession forever.

Or so I thought. Last winter, I was shopping in a used bookstore when I heard the “warm thunder” that I remember so well from childhood. Looking behind the counter, I was seduced by the sexy blue dials of a vintage Marantz receiver and hypnotized by the strobe-lit platter of a Dual.

After six months of trolling eBay, I located models I wanted, in mint condition, for a couple hundred bucks. The turntable hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m already dusting off my old vinyl in anticipation.

And that’s where the cult part comes in. Ever since “winning” the turntable at auction, I’ve been consumed with all things vinyl. (Did you know they hand-press 200-gram-vinyl records now?) And while I know I’m a latecomer to that retro club, I can’t wait to give my closeted collection a spin.

Now all I need are a pair of Koss Pro-4A headphones. (Wow, where did that memory come from?) Apparently, old brand affections never die.