Combinations that exceeded your expectations?

Putting the right equipment together is a real art--mixed with a good bit of dumb luck. Fortunately, experience sometimes does help get really stunning results by matching equipment from different manufacturers. I'd like to hear what equipment (like speaker/amp or interconnect/speaker cable or source/preamp) when paired together others found elevated their system to another level. Though entire systems are interesting, I'd prefer to narrow it to the juicyest equipment you've had the good fortune to pair up--and by all means name names.
Hi, Rrgordon. One evening 6 years ago a friend from peak audio, dropped in with a ugly little single-ended triode preamp, the N.E.W.p-3. He had brought it over as a lark, to try on my simaudio 4070. The speakers were newformresearh, sim pre, vandenhul lst and 2nd interconnects, monster sigma speaker wire and a Bruce Armstrong nopariel cd player...a kenwood 5040 with a complete analogue giutting and rebuilt..analogue was roxan zerxes. When he put the N.E.W. in the system the shock was could reach out and touch, as he said when he left, "that was a religious experience" I now understood and admired the single-ended triode sound....but every cd sounded good....even so-so cds sounded no less than conpelling....however the vinyl playback was not as convincing....also when he changed tubes and sent it back again it had lost much of its magic......but that's another story.....for 3 glorious hours i was in love with an inanimate object.....however the Sonic frontiers SL-1 which I bought, returned some of that magic, especially on the bypass mode......happy listening, good was the new &sim combo? My nephew said he could count the rivets on the cymbals, he turned to me and laughed,"you'll have to buy it".....
Krell,Thiel,Audio Research and MIT.......WOW!
Took a long time to get here, but now the quest is over.
Sonus Faber, Classe Audio and MIT. Its the best combination I have ever heard but I cant take the credit for finding it. It was all done on the advice of a good dealer.
PI: No surprise that you received good advise (even better that you took it). I have found in many cases dealers work hard to carry equipment that works especially well together. It's when we get the itch to upgrade that things get sticky and fraught with pitfalls. I say once you find it stick with it, as Bluenose learned. But if matching equipment gives you a kick, finding a great combo can be quite a rush. My most recent find is a very unassuming piece the NAD L-40, which appears here frequently for less than $500. It's a receiver with a built in cd player for goodness sake and it sounds great on its own, but paired with a push pull 300B amp made by the lesser known Canary Audio (301MkII) the combination rocks. I couldn't decide in this case was it the sound or the music that thrills? I figure it's one of those ever so rare occasions when it is both: mesmerizing to me at least.
Totem speakers,Monarchy amps and (Bluenose is correct) my
N.E.W. P-3 preamp.
Vandersteen 2C/3A speakers have always had a special synergy with McCormack amps, IMO. I would also nominate the Levinson M37 transport and 360S DAC, assuming they're connected with a great digital cable, ie Cardas AES/EBU. But then you would expect products from the same company to work well together. Oddly, the Madrigal AES/EBU cable did not work well with this combo though-- too analytical. Cheers. Craig
Thanks to Albert Porter I recently tried a number of isolation tweaks and of all things... the relatively inexpensive Mod Squad Soft Shoes made my CD's sound as if I'd upsampled them. Go ahead, try and take it from me! Also, I heard a Musical Fidelity HT600 amp at a friends, and never forgot it. It has endless reserve and never chokes, no matter how hard you push it, or what speaker you connect it to. It always retained its character no matter what cables or power cord I tried. I have never been happier with any audio product (with the possible exception of owning Duane Allman's Marshall 100 amp for about 5 years, but that's another story!) It made more of a difference than any interconnect or cable switch in getting me closer to the truth. I would think very carefully before "upgrading" it. Those two pieces combined with my Acoustic Zen Reference Silver interconnects give me that "musicians are in the room feeling", and a few chills occasionally.
BAT VK30 preamp, YBA CD Integre CDP, and the real sleeper, Linn Classik. The Classik is quite simply the best value in audio today and MUST be considered for your second or third system. It's that good. Sold my NAD L40 in a heartbeat, not even close in terms of sound. This stuff represented a MAJOR step up in my listening enjoyment and matched perfectly with the rest of my gear. Jeez I love BAT preamps...
About 10 or 12 years ago, I walked into my first hi-end audio store and heard beautiful music from one of the rooms. I walked in and saw a record player, vacuum tubes & strange looking speakers. It was a Sota turntable, conrad-johnson PV something pre-amp & MV50? power amp, into Spica Angelous speakers... What a fantastic synergy! Of all the components I've heard since that day, only Magnepan MGIIIa's, 3.3r's and my Pass Aleph 3 have made that much of an impression on me... A close second is my Rowland Model 2 with BPS & the current Pass Labs X series amps.
I have to admit, I'm really skeptical now when I read about some breakthrough product in the audio press. 99% of the time, the product is a big letdown...
ARC 100/2 power amp, Audible Illusions preamp, Gallo Nucleus Reference Speakers. This is an unbelieveable combo. I have been into audio for 25 years and I am finally satisfied. Now I just concentrate on enjoying music.
BAT VK50SE preamp, BAT VKD5SE CD Player, Levinson 33H monoblocks, Aerial 10t speakers. All interconnect/speaker cable Transparent Ultra or better.

A salesman from a large NY store heard this in my room and said: "We've done $200,000 installations that do not sound this good".

I'm happy.
Running an Audio Aero Capitole cdp directly into Tenor 75 WI amps sans pre-amp.
Eminent Technology ETII with the Monster Alpha Genesis 2000 cartridge. Amazing synergy. Cartridge tracks beautifully in that arm, and it's refined leanness is a great complement to the ET's lushness. Amazing soundstage. $1000.00 used!!!!!