We met Ed Eilbacher and Tony Latino at AXPONA 2013. Both men were engaging and excited to tell us the story of their introduction to audiophilia. They had met as teenage employees at Vogel’s Record Store in New Jersey. They worked together for several years and ultimately after leaving the store lost touch with one another. It was their passion for gear and music that brought them back together. This reconnection triggered some trading of equipment and the rekindling of a longtime friendship.
Keep reading below to listen in on Audiogon’s interview with Ed.
AUDIOGON: How did you get into audio?
Eeilbacher: I started quite young with vinyl, buying my first 45 at about 8 years old at a local record store. I continued collecting into my teens, and at around 17, I got a job in that same record store – a dream job for someone with my interest in music. I don’t think I brought home much of my paycheck, as it went mostly toward new records.
Eeilbacher: It was at that store (Vogel’s in Elizabeth, NJ) that I met a fellow teen named Tony. We worked together for several years, became friends outside of work, and kept in touch even after we left the store and moved on to our “real jobs.” We lost touch for as much as 10 years at a time, but one of us always kept a number or later an email address, and we talked on and off. Then about 6 years ago, we reconnected in a big way. We were both still collecting records, and at the time were both in the process of revamping our systems so we had a lot to talk about. We started to get together more often and recently went to AXPONA in Chicago together, which was a great time.
Eeilbacher: We’ve come to realize just how long we’ve known each other, close to 40 years now, which is pretty unique in that there’s not many people in your life you are still friends with after that long. Tony recently arranged a get together of all the “kids” who worked in the store (now in their 50’s) to take out the owner for his 85th birthday. The owner was quite moved that we all still remembered our years working at his store, and all of us thought of those times as some of the fondest memories of our youth. Thanks to Jay Vogel for instilling a lifetime love of vinyl in me (he actually sold me that first 45), and thanks to Tony for keeping our friendship going all these years.
Eeilbacher: I’ve maintained a pretty good system over the years, but about 6 years ago, I set to put together something as nice as my budget could afford and cover all the bases. Although vinyl is my top priority, I love movies and high-res digital too so I tried to accommodate multiple formats with the OPPO disk player and then add a nice phono section. I also needed to connect two different game consoles for my sons. Finally, I added the Logitech Harmony Remote so my wife and sons would be able to use the system and not get lost in the world of “input select,” which can be daunting at times.
Main System Components:
- Rotel RSX-1560 7.1 Surround Receiver
- Oppo BD-95 Univeral Disk Player
- B&W CM9 Speakers
- B&W CM Centre 2
- B&W M-1 Rear Speakers
- Polk DSW PRO 400 Subwoofer
- Sony KDL-52W4100 HD LCD TV
- Pro-Ject 6perspeX Turntable
- Dynavector 20X2H Cartridge
- Pro-Ject Tube Box II SE
- Pro-ject Speed Box II SE
- RJD Phono Interconnects
- Teac DS-H01 Digital iPOD Dock
- Beatles iPOD Classic
- Harmony 670 Remote
- Tributaries Series 7 Bi-Wire Speaker Cable
- Tributaries HDMI Cables
- Audioquest King Cobra Interconnects
- Western Digital MyBook AV 2TB eSATA HDD
- Sony Playstation 3
- Nintendo Wii
Eeilbacher: I put together a fairly nice PC audio system used mostly for archiving my vinyl collection to the computer, which I can then play back on the big system using the hard disk drive that’s connected to the OPPO player. It actually has the better turntable and preamp of my two systems, and I’ve debated switching them but for now I’m going with that system for the vinyl transfers.
PC Audio Components:
- Pro-Ject xTension 10 Turntable
- Sumiko Pearwood Celebration MKII Cartridge
- EAR834P Phono Pre-Amp
- Audioquest Leopard Tonearm Cable
- Audioengine N22 Amplifier
- Audioengine A2 Speakers
- ESI Juli@ 24/192 PCI Soundcard
Eeilbacher: My interests are mostly classic rock, but I enjoy most any genre. I have quite the collection of Beatles but also enjoy Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler, Steely Dan & Fagen, The Pretenders, Fleetwood Mac, CSN, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega and Diana Krall.
Thanks for sharing your story, Ed. Stay tuned for Tony’s take coming soon to The Hub!
Did you work at a record store when you were a teenager? Comment below!
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