Got some sand in your shoes today, Onhwy61? :)
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Well, you obviously already know the best source component as you've asked for an iPod input!
Add to that a multi-enclosure tube amp that uses at least 20 tubes per side. If you are not into tubes, a huge 500+ watts per channel of solid state amp should do. Whatever you do, just make sure it is extremely heavy. If it weighs less than 250 lbs per channel, you've got the wrong amp.
Speakers should have as many drivers as possible. I'm not talking about a line array! Those are usually just fancy 2 ways (using a bunch of the same drives). No, you need at least 5-way speakers. They will need a sub-woofer of about 18" or so, a woofer, mid-woofer, midrange, tweeter and a super tweeter. Make sure the super tweeter is installed on top of the cabinet, especially if the cabinet is over 60" tall.
That's all you need for the worrld best system. Go for it!
After seeing a bass subwoofer being built into the sub structure of a building, speakers being built at a cost of $300,000 plus for one pair and the nice little WAVAC amp at $350,000 for just the power amp, my suggestion would be to make some appointments with some of the specialty audio designers, higher a few consultants and set your budget at about $5,000,000 plus for the "BEST". But then what could one get for $6,000,000?
"I have terminal audiophilitis and the MDs are only giving me a few decades more to live,"
How many decades is "a few"? And is this prognosis due to the "audiophilitis" or some other pathology?
BTW, the suffix "itis" simply means "an inflammation of", so are you a completely inflamed audiophile?, or is it just your ears? your wallet? your ego?
Your unrealizable compulsion does however suggest a wonderful niche product -- somewhat along the lines of those pompous little badges that car dealers insist on installing into holes they've drilled into your trunklid forcing you to join in their crass self promotion forever, at your expense:
I'm going to produce a line of aftermarket equipment badges in a variety of styles and finishes (some with blue LEDs) that say "the BEST amplifier", "the BEST CD player", etc. Who could argue??
Somehow, it seems you'd not be happy with the "best" because there could be better. And, are you under the impression that more expensive = best?
Sadly, you shall not receive what you desire, because audio is a very subjective thing. Pay someone to set up your extravagant system and then go and hear others, and you may find you do not consider yours the best sound. Would that break your heart? or Ego?
Forgive, but your post seems a bit inflated. If you're simply arousing interest in pursuit of a great system, then your enthusiasm is welcomed.
Maybe, are you attempting to say, EXCELLENCE? There are a some excellent products which, if you're not concerned to make this an all out ego competition, would tremendously satisfy you. But if you're out to impress the world by having the best, you won't win the hearts of audiophiles here that way.
To say "Best" is meaningless without some realistic price point, as has been pointed out above. Several good Agoners could recommend the "best" at a $20k or even $50k level. But who can offer the best without realistic limits? Then again, I sincerely offer you my system as the best, for, oh...say $18k? Email me if you REALLY want the best!!
Some excellent equipment manufacturers include:
Boulder, Sonus Faber, Accuphase, (maybe more economical, but I'm partial to them - Pathos), Linn, some say Wilson, etc.
You need to do some listening at high end shops to begin to discern what appeals to you the most. Otherwise, pay some consultant lots of money to get you the "best" and be done with it.
I agree with Reubent; the i-pod is not the "best" source for superior audio.
As long as audio is some competition, you'll never be happy in it.
Boa2: Either Onhwy61 is practicing Law #3, or else he's practicing Laws #6, 25, 28, 32, 34, 37 and 40 while breaking Laws #4, 36, 45 and 46. All the same, I don't trust him and am taking appropriate proactive defensive measures, which I'm not telling anybody what they are, and also I might be lying about that, but won't say anything more because actions speak louder than words, of which I disavow all of mine...
Doug S., it's all about ego. I want a system comprised of the BEST components which would give me the BEST system which would make me the BEST audiophile. (It goes without saying that I would also have to have the BEST listening room in the BEST house in the BEST neighborhood). Only when I have reached the summit of BESTIALITY can I then become egoless and merge into the infinite nothingness of audiophile hedonistic universal sensuality. And just to show my heart is in the right place I will donate my old equipment to a home for hearing impaired ex-arena concert show engineers.
Nsgarch, would your BEST badge be large enough to cover the "Reference Signature Mk 3" label on the power supply chasis of my active power cords? You also implied that I was a flaming audiophile - I know what that means!
Boa2/Zaikesman, everybody and their mother-in-law is practicing the 48 Laws and it's time to move on. I'm told the estate of Gene Roddenberry is about the publish the Ferengi Laws of Acquisition along with a matching video and an optional weekend retreat seminar. It will probably debut #1 on the WSJ list.
In an attempt to give a scientific answer, I fed the last 10 years of reviews from S'phile and TAS into a computer, which in turn analyzed all of the various findings, commentary, measurements and comparisons to determine THE VERY BEST. Unfortunately, I included all reviews by Jonathan Valin of TAS, who has found approximately one set of THE ABSOLUTE BEST HE'S EVER HEARD!!!! speakers per review he has completed over the past five years. So, despite a state of the art PC, it took several hours to resolve the 47,294 variables used in the analysis.
The answer, as I suspected, turned out to be exactly what I have in my system. I'm not going to give all the specifics, but I will say that you could have bought this system in 1948 EXCEPT for the single $6,999 power cord and the one $11,499 interconnect I'd recommend incorporating.
You can imagine my relief, having figured this all out.
Since you don't have much time, buy tickets once a day to go out and hear live music...you can bring your ipod...don't know if they'll have a place for you to plug it in though...I doubt you'll want to if the music's any good. Veils'll be lifted and you can bring along binoculars for that deep peering you wanna do...musicians WILL be sitting in the same room with you. It doesn't get any better! Can't help you with the golden rings in the clouds on the top of the mountains though. Sorry to hear about your disease...perhaps there's a cream or ointment you could apply? Gargle daily. Drink orange juice. Have some chicken soup. Eat an apple. Always use a condom. Don't forget to floss. Good luck!
Just pick up any old copy of Stereophile, every single month they hear something that is better then ever before.
Hell' tracks that they have heard hundreds of times reveal new hidden joys monthly....just every 30 days you will have to buy something new but how cool is that!?
Maybe thats why Wilson's are on Microwave cart casters... perhaps it is so at the end of the month you can wheel them out to bring in the next big thing,.... or maybe its because they are heavy.
how could I possibly not come out of the woodwork for this one.
as everybody says...the "best"...(or bestest if you prefer) is objective...or is that subjective?...well...whichever.
my suggestion is to try complete auditory deprivation for say...a year or so...you know...get some special plugs that keep out everything. Learn to sign or read lips of course as you will still need to communicate with others.
after a year...all you will need is the $139 I-pod.
You'll put it on...cue up your Sondheim...and after not having heard a single a single solitary sound for the last year, your jaw will "drop" and you will say...
"WOW...this is the BEST"
This is so easy. No system is needed, as nothing will satisfy, so forget about even looking at gear.
Have your dentist implant a specially tuned amalgam using 5/9's silver in your lower right molar so you can pick up any musical signal. It doesn't matter where the signal originates, only that there is a signal. The direct bone-2-brain transmission eliminates any possible corruption of the signal. People will wonder why you have a grin on your face all the time.
BTW, there are no limitations on what you can do with the playback, as you are in control of all parameters. This is not the Outer Limits-this is your reality.
Hello on highway sixtyone, sorry about your diagnosis, but i would get a second opinion from another doctor, if it is indeed true, and you can afford it, go for the best of the best, why not. I am surprized no one has mentioned the best of the best. Lirpa Labs is by anyone's standard the best of the best. They will also install and tune your new system. Definately the best of the best for someone in your position. Good luck and hang in there. One note, if i have anything to do with it, none of us will be around in a couple of decades, and no child will be left behind. Best wishes, George W.
Find a booking agent and have a favorite live band play everyday of the week in your listening room.
You can flip back to your amplified rig during intermissions to get a reference comparison and ask the musicians if they think your class A rated or not !!
Don't be suprised if they tell you to hit the highway !!
If this happens, cancel future bookings and start over again by reading the review conclusions in older Stereophiles.
You want answers?
I think I'm entitled to them.
You want answers?
I want THE BEST!
You can't handle THE BEST! Son, we live in a world that has RECORDS. And those RECORDS have to be guarded by men with TURNTABLES. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. ONHWY61? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for JULIAN HIRSCH and you curse HARRY PEARSON. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that JULIAN'S death, while tragic, probably saved PEOPLE'S EARS. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves PEOPLE'S EARS...You don't want THE BEST. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want RECORDS on that wall. You need RECORDS on that wall.
We use words like SOUNDSTAGE, BLOOM, TRANSPARENCY...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very SOUND I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a TONEARM and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
Did you order THE BEST?
I did the job you sent me to do.
Did you order THE BEST?
You're goddamn right I did!!
What's with all you people recommending live music? Are you on drugs? Live music doesn't have the soundstage depth, the layering, the upper octave sweetness, nor the outside the speaker imaging that even a not the BEST, but decent system can provide. Also, live musicians make mistakes. Wouldn't it be better to ProTool the mistakes out and comp together a perfect take using snips from 20 or 30 recorded takes? Seriously, live musicians in a real hall would be an audiophile step backwards, IMHO. Let me state it one more time so it could clearly be understood, I want the BEST!!!
"What's with all you people recommending live music? Are you on drugs? Live music doesn't have the soundstage depth, the layering, the upper octave sweetness, nor the outside the speaker imaging that even a not the BEST, but decent system can provide...Seriously, live musicians in a real hall would be an audiophile step backwards, IMHO."Michael Fremer, in his latest Stereophile column, writing on the live sound of the Dallas Symphony in the McDermott Hall of the Meyerson Center (with a totally straight face):
"Best described as 'tube-like' in the highs and mids, with the weight and solidity of solid-state on bottom."To which I say: In your ear, Onhwy61! You wouldn't know THE BEST live sound if it hit you upside your head with your 'decent system'!