Never mind the basic, building block system. You've got a basic, building block audiofool wife here. Propose quickly!
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Definitely propose. Then go Linn, Linn, Linn. It's discreet, bulletproof, sounds great, never fatigues, looks good and has a great remote system. And it can be done reasonably. Use the LK series amps, a Wakonda preamp and whatever speakers she likes. If you concentrate the budget on a 2 channel multiroom, you can spend more on a single cdp, like a Genki, which will then sound fabulous in all the rooms. Do the HT separately; HT and 2 channel are different animals, and getting a good combined system takes a lot of money, in my opinion. If the budget intrudes, reduce the remote Knekts, which are pricey, and go with a simple infrared remote sensor-repeater. I have a system like this, more or less, and I love it. About $8k for stereo in three rooms, including shielded Transparent inwall speaker cable and a small Tice Solo power conditioner (on a dedicated circuit). I have no keypads at all, just extra remotes, which I keep in a drawer or on a bookshelf. No cheesey volume controllers to mess up the sound or drain the wallet, but I do give up the displays that keypads provide. But please talk her out of inwall speakers. Decent minimonitors on good stands can be decorator-friendly and generally smoke anything built into the wall.
If you saw this girl, you would definitely propose!
Thanks for the suggestions so far -- Linn could be an excellent idea for the multi room amps and stuff with a simple, low cheeze whiz factor. Any ideas on the Gallos?
I would still like to assemble a slightly higher end 2 channel system with TV in the smaller room.
(Not necessarily, full home theatre with 5.1, more like a good 2 channel with a big TV in a cabinet in between and behind the speakers.)
Any and all ideas for the dreaded "please hide the wires and speakers" system are welcome!