Audio elegance from 1 to 100

After fantasizing to The Absolute Sound 2005 Editors choice awards for a week, I was left with the need to put the information in perspective. I was wondering if the savy audiogoners would help me with this. On a scale of 1 to 100, lets designate 1 as the sound emanating form a 1950’s style AM car radio, and 100 as the current state of audio reproduction art as described in the editors choice awards (roughly $350,000) for the system). My question is as follows: Where would you put these markers to give a perspective: the typical Polk or Advent system of the 70’s, the current entry level system, a $12,000 system including perhaps the Gallo Nucleus speakers, a $25,000 system including the Vandersteen Model 5A , a $50,000 system including the Wilson Watt Puppys, a $100,000 system including the Wilson Maxx 2, and an ultimate $350,000 system using MBL gear plus Nola Grand Reference speakers? I do not know if the Gallo system would be a 30 or a 90, as it is difficult to hear to more expensive systems appropriately set up in my rural area. In other words just how much increased approach to live music do you receive from spending more at each significant price point. Thanks

No offense, but I think your question is a bit flawed in that it assumes there is a high correlation between price and performance.

$350,000 is a ridiculous price tag for any audio system, and is a function only of marketing and PT Barnum esque audacity in an increasingly affluent world.

It is possible that you might derive more musical satisfaction and enjoyment from a classic 70's system featuring a pair of the old Advents, than you might from whatever Stereophile is pimping their editorial content to these days.

I have only heard the Gallos in the less than ideal context of one of the hi fi shows but personally could not imagine them in even a $12,000 system and would guess they are closer to a "30" than a "90".

Trying to maximize your happiness per buck is a good idea, and I also see nothing wrong with scoring value or musical enjoyment for several systems as a way to come to terms with what you want to spend.

But again, in the end, the relationship between price and performance will not be linear.

What kind of music do you enjoy the most?
What are the qualities and size of your listening room?
Do you have any preferences based on past experience?
What size speakers can your room and/or furniture accomodate?

Armed with these questions, you can find the answers within these forums and buy all of the equipment from fellow Audiogoners for huge discounts.

If, hypothetically, the Wilson Watt Puppy System was an 80, the MAX system a 90 and the $350K system a 100...

I bet you could buy an earlier version of the Watt Puppies, a couple of excellent amps, and a reasonably serious front end for < $15,000 total, that would score a 75.

If for whatever reason you didnt like any particular item, you could probably recover your funds less only the price of shippng.

Good luck.
CWlondon: What a coincidence. I am using the same Monster M1 and M-1000 in my system that you have listed in yours. I won them in a contest put on by CD Review magazine a good while back, giving me an undue fondness for audiophile magazines:)

Thank you for your response to my post. I do not assume much correlation between price and performance, feeling the performance improves linearly with discerning purchases, while price increases expontentially. I agree strongly with you that buying used on audiogon is the way to go for bang-for-buck. I was just wondering how much of the possible bang available I was experiencing with my current combination of used and new equipment (my cost $12,000). One professional reviewer that I posed this question to would place a well-designed $12,000 system at about the 90 mark on the 100 scale.