If cost was no factor, what system would you build as your main audio system?
I realize there are some, who frequent this forum, who already fall into that category, but for many of the rest of us, even though we are quite happy with the systems we’ve built, maybe our dream system, if financially possible, would be something other, or more, than what we now have. What components do you now have and (if finances and circumstances, within reason, was no factor) what components would you add or change, to build your dream system? We all have individual tastes and likes in music and different ideas of what audio components would most satisfy those likes - so, without being critical of someone else, lets throw out some ideas....Jim
There must be something wrong with me, but prices no longer impress me at all.
I honestly can't think of a single loudspeaker over $10k which impresses me all that much. I can think of some really beautiful looking speakers, but speakers which make me go "this is revolutionary and far above everything else!" I haven't heard in a very very long time.
+1 erik I can’t think of many speakers over $10k either, that would impress me allot. I would, however, love to hear the new Maggie 30.7s, but they wouldn’t do me much good without a much larger space and the power to drive them. My short list of speakers that might work nicely in my space: Nicely refurbished Apogee Duetta Sigs. Magnapan 3.7i Spatial X2 With any of the above, especially the Apogees, I’d surely need an up grade in power...Jim
I'll tell you one thing - it would be simple, SS and something that could be left on all the time so I could just play music when I felt like without the warm-up rituals and all the other bs we go through sometimes. Maybe an Accuphase integrated with one of their high-end SACD/CD spinners. Speakers? A lot of good ones out there. Maybe the Trenner & Friedl RA Box speaker. Simple, elegant, non-analytical stuff. But still quite expensive. I've lost my taste for complexity, but not for good things.
@philjolet @mofimadness Not familiar with the MBL equipment, so had to google just for a look - WOW - very nice stuff! Definitely beyond my reach right now, but could certainly be on my wish list...Jim
@mofimadnessJust a little teaser: Interesting video. I agree with many here - most expensive doesn't always mean the best, but some of the truly nice stuff out there, both new and vintage, seems to carry a hefty price. +1 for a bigger better room. For speakers I would opt for the new big Maggies, or possibly, Sound Labs, vintage Apogees, or the Spatial X2s My choice in power, if SS - Possibly a Griffon Diablo 300, or (would love to hear) something in the MBL line. My choice if tube - defiantly a pr. of VAC Statement 450s Still out on Tables and cartridges, DACs and cables...Jim
Thanks for all of the great ideas. It’s amazing how much good stuff, vintage and cutting edge modern, is out there and what a diversity we, as audiophiles, have in regards to the equipment that best satisfies our need for good music. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was undecided, regarding cables, what I would choose. Regardless of how much I had to spend on equipment, I don’t believe I would spend $10k on ICs and speaker cables. Since I have no desire to tune my system or future system with cabling and believe the best cables would be the ones that impart the least amount of their own character to the mix - I have but four criteria for both speaker cables and inter connects: high conductivity; low capacitance; low inductance and high quality materials - including connectors. There are a good many cable companies i.e Clear Day Cables, Empirical Audio and others that build quality cables that meet all of those criteria, at a reasonable price. I would, no doubt, go with cables from one of those companies or stick with the ones now serving me very well and put the money saved, elsewhere on my system...Jim
There is a reason why megabuck systems have megabuck cabling. You never see the budget cables on these systems. How many people here who actually criticize the megabuck cables have actually HEARD them in a megabuck system. I'm willing to bet NONE.
Speakers: Stenheim Reference Statement Amplifiers: Conrad Johnson ART 300s (though I bet the ARC 750 watt tube amps are beasts) Preamp: Conrad Johnson GAT Cables: LS-4004 Air DAC: Brinkmann Nyquist Turntable: The Onedof is gorgeous, but not entirely sure I'd give up DD for it...which would leave me with the Bardo! Tonearm: Ikeda IT-345 in gold Cartridge: Fuuga on one headshell, London Decca Reference on another Phono Preamp: Not really sure! Perhaps the top of the line Allnic, or top of the line VAC
Dream set-up ? front end - Studer deck. And a lot of master dubs. amps - Ypsilon, Gryphon, Lamm or Wavac. speakers - no idea, I would listen to everything I could cables - depends on the above, most likely Purist Audio. Very simple and very expensive.
..but for many of the rest of us, even though we are quite happy with the systems we’ve built, maybe our dream system, if financially possible, would be something other, or more, than what we now have. What components do you now have and (if finances and circumstances, within reason, was no factor) what components would you add or change, to build your dream system?
Jim, In my previous post I responded to the title of your topic and posted my dream cost-no-object system. Now having read your OP through, I get the intent of your topic, so in keeping with your caveat “if finances and circumstances, within reason, was no factor”, and again I had a dedicated, treated listening room to do it justice, this would be my dream system..
- Magico S5 Mk2’s + S Pods - Vitus SS-103 - Vitus SL103 - Vitus SCD-025 Mk2 - Melco N1ZS/2A server transport - Melco D100 optical drive - Dōhmann Helix 2 tt - Graham Phantom III 12” arm - DS Audio Master 1 cart/EQ - Gigawatt PC-4 Evo+ conditioner - Massif Audio Designs Dogma rack & amp stand - Jorma Prime + Statement cables
In addition to my main system, I would look to expand to a 5.1 HT System later on, incl..
Thanks all for all the great input on what would make a realistically great dream system. @tecknik There is a reason why megabuck systems have megabuck cabling. I understand your point, but, as I am a realist and (to a point) a purest, I would have to listen for myself and, regardless of how much money I had to dump, or how much esoteric gleam and glitter the product, I'd still pick the cable that least got in the way of, or polished, everything else. Your current system is nice indeed and who could argue with your, even more impressive, dream system.
@blueranger In reading this forum for years that word here would be Pass. As in Nelson Pass/Pass Labs? If so, I have to agree that he has been one of the greats of the audio world, with a legendary line up of great equipment.
@inna A very nice line up. I deffinatly would put a Gryphon, Diablo-300, on my short list.
@melbguyone Thanks for your, always appreciated posts. Yes, I think you did get the just of my original post. My thought, I guess: If I had a good bit more money to spend on a system (without being utterly ridiculous) what would make an incredibly good system - beyond the somewhat humble system that I now have. A very nice line up of equipment that you have put together. I've never auditioned anything by Vitus, but it seems like an incredibly good lineup of equipment Also have to agree with you and others - a bigger, better listening room would be high, maybe #1 on the list.
Some might say that I would be unable to get all the master dubs I would want. You know, money buys cooperation, presidency, presidents, governments and even smaller countries. I would get absolutely everything, and this would be safely delivered to my home, including speakers for audition. I would probably start with Kharma, Lansche, Gryphon and JM Labs Grand Utopia and go from there if I had to. I would have to add a cd player too, I guess. Well, this would not be particularly important to me, whatever sounds alright.
Thanks Jim for your kind words. I had a think about a lower budget (for me anyway) system if I had to sell of my current rig for any reason or hit leaner times which is simple, approachable & punches well above its weight ...
- Magico A3’s + S Pod feet - Vitus RI-101 with the optional dac/streamer module which supports Airplay, Roon, MQA, Tidal, Spotify, etc. - 2nd hand Reimyo CDP-777 as transport (dac out to the Vitus) - PAD Neptune series cables - Shun Mook and Stillpoints iso feet - Taoc ASR Series II racks + upgraded Finite Elemente Cerabase Classic feet - Gigawatt PC-3 SE Evo conditioner
(Add later on, or in lieu of a cdp)...
- Melco N1ZS/2A server transport - Melco D100 optical drive
You could actually start with just the A3’s, Vitus integrated, cables and racks & stream roon, Tidal etc, then add a cd/streamer transport and/or tt later on. I’m told Vitus are working on an optional phono module for the RI-101 which provides an upgrade path. Lol, It’s fun spending other people’s money! 😄
If cost was no object then..time.. would also have to be added to the package.
As I’d have to be involved in the design of all of it, at all levels. The individual resistive materials need a re-design, and capacitors in all complex physics minutiae, and even the wire itself, and the dielectrics would need a complete re-vamp. Every inch of it.
Then we can get to circuit topology and implementation, all new there as well. And...New cone material designs, new speaker motor designs, and so on.
@melbguyone No I didn't but that sounds amazing I'm in the US and never been to Munich. My local dealer Deja Vu Audio builds field coil speakers and amps and preamps from vintage WE parts. Also my friend has a pair of the big Shindo field coils, Lafite's maybe? Field coil horn speakers for me are the most lifelike I've heard overall.
@jond I could see Shindo being a great match with repro WE horns. Though the larger models need a big room and tall ceiling to get the best from them. Hence in most real world home situations, I prefer cones & domes and line arrays which are easier to integrate. In larger rooms, panel speakers like refurbed Apogees and Maggies can also come into their own with ’nuff watts.
@melbguyone; @jond Some of the old WE Horns, as I remember, truly were very large and interesting speakers - that presented a large as life stage. I listened to them in a very large room and it was quite evident they could fill and might require, a huge amount of space to do them justice. In my travels, I also had the opportunity to auditioned a pair of Apogee Divas and the bit smaller Duetta Sigs. and fell in love with both. like the WE Horns, the Divas demanded a very large room and (unlike the WEs) required a serious amount of power. The Duettas Sigs require somewhat less space than the Divas or the WEs and were a bit less demanding of power than the Divas. After a long session of listening to a variety of good music, It seemed the Duetta Sigs did everything right and were very musical and presented a huge and convincing stage. Defiantly still, a speaker very high on my wish list. For now, I am seriously considering (for the listening area I now have - 14’w x 24’d x 10’ cathedral ceiling with a 10’w x 14’d dining are, open to the left) upgrading from my Maggie 1.7s to the Maggie 3.7is. My Rogue, Cronus Mag. II, has no problem driving the 1.7s but may have to make a serious upgrade in power for the 3.7s. Until I can afford the upgrade - I might have to fall back on my trusty old ADCOM....Jim
@melbguyone I am with you there as much as I admire the big horns my 800 sq foot condo would be not be the place to own them! Cones and domes here too in the form of some Audio Note AN-Js. @jhills Yes the WE horns and reproductions can be rather enormous for sure the saving grace being they are usually open baffle. And never heard Apogees myself I've certainly heard Maggie's but it's been some years. And yes I would think you would need more power for 3.7s for sure.
Before I would drop any component into a room, I would focus on the design of the room, getting the acoustics set up correctly for handling an assortment of different speaker systems. And then there is the power requirements. Probably a 100-Amp service of balanced and filtered power at decent-source outlets.
@secretguy I am with you on the Maggie 30.7s. I now have the little 1.7s, that I am very happy with. When finances allow, I am planning an upgrade to the 3.7i, but the 30.7s along with an adequate listening room and some nice gear to run them, is at the top of my dream list...Jim
@1extreme I don’t know if my head and ears could handle the shear volume of a live rock band anymore, but wouldn’t mind trying for a while. light Pop, Classic Chamber and Jazz, I think I could handle.
@schubert Live String Quartets, I could handle for sure. Sometime back, in the area where we lived, was a large, very old, Catholic Cathedral, with some of the most wonderful acoustics I’ve ever heard. About twice a month, the Community and Local Catholic Diocese would invite String Quartets or small Chamber Orchestras, from around the North West and Canada, to come and perform at the Cathedral. Definitely, some of the most memorable and beautiful, small venue, live acoustic performances I’ve heard......Jim