$40,000: What 2-channel system would you build?


If you had $40,000 (USD) to build a system from scratch, what would you assemble?
Used prices or new prices are welcome.
Solid state, tube, mixed ideas are welcome.
Speakers?
Pre?
Power?
Source?
TT?
Cables?
...let’s say for a medium- to med/lrg- sized room...
...no need to worry about sound treatments or power conditioners, let’s assume that’s taken care of...
Would love to hear what you would build and why you would build it. If it’s what you already have built, great. Share why you love it.
Thanks in advance for any of your builds :)
Ag insider logo xs@2xjo1mtb
I’ve been in this hobby for 4+ decades, even owned my own shop. I’ve learned to seek out products that fly under the radar, preferring products without dealer markup (sold direct)

Cables WireWorld Series 8, which step below the most expensive is up to you
Everything should be Differentially balanced. After decades of either laziness, or flat out stupidity, both component designers and reviewers are beginning to see the light regarding Dif Balanced


Amp EVS 1200 provides 600 wpc (dual mono). It is based on the latest IcePower class D modules. Mine now has about 100 hours on it. I’ve had all tube systems, hybrid systems, and ss systems. This amp is the real deal, Also GaN amps are amazing, but most are absurdly priced (in a response above $28K GaN amps slashed to $14k. Sounds great, BUT... If you wait ~ 30 days, one is about to be introduced to the market that will shake up the unnecessarily $$$$$ GaN market, including the $14K deep discounted pair.


Preamp: I would go with the Tortuga XLR (~$3K). I don’t own it YET, but, it’s on the list, But for you strongly consider the new Elac Dac/Pre/Streamer a total bargain @ #2499, will save you a ton on cables, power cords, shelving... I am still quite happy with the previous generation DDP-1 + PS 5, which actually retailed for the same $


Power Conditioning:


2 @ 20 amp dedicated lines + Core Tech 1800 + Deep Core

In order, in the last 6 months, I’ve upgraded preamp interconnects, speaker cables, power cords, and digital cables. And most recently the amp. The KCIIs immediately revealed each improvement. After breaking in the EVS 1200, I no longer find the need for my 2 SVS powered subs. Due to their crappy internal XO and volume control they were FAR from seamless. Now, the KCIIs are only good to 42Hz (but the full sound from the EVS 1200 amp is amazing), but I have a large room, and plenty of large scale music where bigger speakers are needed. And so, I am in high anticipation of delivery of Emerald Physics 2.8s, which should arrive by the end of this month . Both have won prestigious awards in their class

Speakers: Again I’ve owned many, both monkey coffins and open baffle. I have owned the Emerald Physic KC IIs (open baffle) for about 2.5 years. They remind me of Magnepans (a good thing)


In your favor, if you act fast, EP has radically reduced their prices

Digital/Steaming/TT there are too many choices, but Jay’s Audio stands out for digital.


As to TTs, that’s a deep dark hole, stick with something basic like a Rega 3-6 and call it a day
hth


Wow! $40 grand for a home system, blows my 70 year old mind. Having a flash back to 1980, $3200 bought me a C-6 Yamaha preamp, Yamaha M-4 power amp, B&O 4004 turntable with their best cartridge, and a pair of Klipsch Heresy speakers. All the equipment except for the TT is still working great 39 years later. I looked at the Consumer Price Index for the past 39 years and $1 of 1980 money would require $3.50 of today's money for equivalent purchasing power. Seems today's audio manufacturers are cashing in on the rebirth of analog, but it's too bad the big brands like Yamaha or others abandoned providing the market with high quality products at a price everyone could afford. Just saying.
I was looking at speakers first but then pivoted to focusing on electronics after I heard the Luxman m900u amp. Every speaker I heard with it and the Luxman c900u preamp sounded great to me. Speakers from $5K to $20K were all extremely enjoyable with the Luxman pair. I would have been happy with any of those speakers.

I am going to try the cheaper Benchmark LA4 preamp first on the 30 day home trial with the m900u amp. The LA4 is $2.5 - $3K. I have a feeling it will get me very close to the c900u sound (maybe even better). So that is $18K MSRP for amp and preamp. More than enough left over for a great speaker that won’t break the bank.

Another thing that intrigues me on the LA4 preamp is that some pretty smart audio guys on A’Gon indicated to me that I do not need to speed a lot of money on the XLR interconnect between the amp and preamp if I used a preamp that supports the AES48 standard. I plan on running a long XLR between the amp and pre so that I can move the system away from in between the speakers.

Since I do digital streaming I will also get a Sonare Signiture Rendu with the SystemOptique configuration. That is $5K but in the short term I can get by with my Sonare microRendu $800 which is still an excellent Ethernet-2-USB interface.


@fthngrg In today's dollars, your system is equivalent to $11,200. With that much cash you could get a fantastic sounding system. The new SS gear sounds so much better to me than the SS stuff I owned 20 years ago.

With a $11,200 price tag I would consider something like a NAD amp/preamp, Hegel integrated, or my current Peachtree Nova 150/300/500. Maybe some used KEF Reference 1 speakers. That would be a much better system than what I owned in past. My older systems were actually more expensive than this $11, 200 price tag. Things like DACs are so much better now and the speakers also sound way better today than in the past. I am sure there are outliers from the past that were better but for the most part I find new gear better.

Today, I see a large segment of manufacturers that charge a lot just to show the perception of quality. There is also a lot manufacturers with affordable prices that are also of very high quality. 
yyZ...
The new Nova would be a vg choice, but the new Elac amp and dac/pre, plus Emerald Physics KC II Pros (open baffle) would be an excellent backbone