Help me build a $2,500 system

So, as a budget Audiophiliac, I’m looking to take the next step up the stairs. My budget is $2,500 but I’m thinking I will keep two of my current set up’s pieces, unless swayed otherwise, my Onkyo C-7030 CD player and Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC. 

I’m not opposed to completely restored vintage stuff or brand new. I just want the absolute best sounding set up I can have. 

My room is open to the rest of the downstairs and is roughly 15X15. 

I listen to mostly rock at low to medium volumes. I’m a stickler for well produced stuff and stream lossless as well as listen to well recorded CD’s and will choose my vinyl carefully as well. 

I’m looking for:


Turntable (leaning hard to Pro-Ject Debut)

Speakers (prefer floors)


So, go to it and give me your best suggestions!  I greatly appreciate all input and opinions. 

Thanks all. 😊

One aspect to getting the most for your money is to build your own speakers, if you have the ability. I have been doing it for years, and have enjoyed sound far beyond the cost of this effort.
 Also, as probably mentioned, buy good used equipment. 
 Buy used, to stretch your dollar. Buy 1 component at a time to allow for better quality components. Over time, you’ll end up with a killer system. As you buy each component you’ll have a better sense of what’s next and what you want, rather than buying a bunch of stuff that you’ll later regret. Don’t spend money on cables initially - get BlueJeans cables. You’d have to spend a lot more money and it would still be unclear if you were doing better than BlueJeans. Focus on speakers and/or amplification first. If you have decent speakers, get a nice integrated amp, if not spend the 2.5k on a good pair of tower speakers. Speakers have the greatest impact on sound, so get them right and They will last you decades. Also consider sound treatments and room correction below 300Hz -  either using a MiniDSP, or an AVR. I would do a 2017 or 2018 year Marantz avr on closeout pricing. They have preouts, so you can always add a good amp to it at a later date (maybe 6012 or 5013 for around $500 if you can find it)

The purists will scoff at the idea of room correction, however none of us live in ideal rooms, and the sound is being affected and degraded by the room, so thinking of untreated sound as being pure is a fallacy to begin with.if you ignore all the concerns and pay attention to the results, you may be pleasantly surprised.
 "Speakers have the greatest impact on sound" from a previous post.
Sorry have to disagree with this. I sold hi end audio for 15 yrs. and we used to do demonstration after demonstration on how source, then electronics could and did make a huge difference in a pair of budget bookshelf speakers.  Sometimes the stands were more expensive than the speakers.

When staring out, source, electronics then speakers is where I would go.
And start with basic cables. Then you have a reference point.

Then when settled in you can try different things like cables, wire, or gear.

I use this way in evaluating gear in my system.
Lets say I am trying a new preamp. 3 possible outcomes.

1) it sounds better
2) it sounds about the same
3) it sounds worse.

Keeps it simple.

i have been doing a lot of research for my own budget system, and here are some thoughts on what you could do for $2500

Cambridge Audio CXA60 Integrated Amp - 60W per channel, built-in Phono Stage, built in DAC with coax and optical digital inputs, Preamp Out (for adding upgraded amp later) $750

Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2EX monitor speakers - RAAL ribbon tweeter, SEAS 6” woofer, 33hz - 27khz. all bamboo enclosure. 7 year warranty. $1500

U Turn Orbit custom - belt drive, acrylic platter, ortofon OM5E cartridge, choice of color $289

Blue Jeans Belden 10AWG white speaker cable with choice of connector  2x10 ft strands $45


The above post is a great set-up.  I’d even go used on the speakers and get the cxa-80