First I would build a house with a large room dedicated as a music room - then I would build a system based on large Electrostats such as Sound labs - then I would obtain the components which best matched the Sound Labs and produced a very neutral tone. SOTA is a moving target - too ellusive for me - if any components happen to be SOTA thats fine.
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I'd put a bunch of money into a very good room - possibly custom built as part of a custom built house. Then I'd put a max of $150K or so into the gear and another hundred thousand into music.
I think pursuing SOTA is a mugs game, because preferences and synergy are at least as important as the gear itself. I'd want to have enough cash in reserve to try out stuff I thought might work, without worrying that I'd spent all my money and didn't get where I wanted to go.
That said, I know at least some of the gear that would end up in such a system: an Audio Note DAC5 Signature, a pair of Josh Stippich's amazing amps, and a Blowtorch.
Yup, I am with Mejames.
Tubes and Stats-High end CJ and Logans or Sound Labs-acoustic and signer-songwriter type stuff
Classic - Marantz receiver or McIntosh seps with big ole JBL's to relive part of my youth. Loud Zep and Stones rock
Refined/Show off- with higer priced spread to impress audio elite types. I might even play it once in awhile.
SET setup with efficient stuff like coincident speakers to compare with push pull and triode tube amps.
fun question onhwy61
I'd hire the worlds best acoustic engineer and pay him to personally design and oversee the construction of the best room he can imagine. Unless I hear something better, I'll stick with my current speakers but add three more for center and surrounds. Then maybe Halcro amps for each speaker together with the best front end money could buy. Maybe purchase the top 5 in each category of component and then experiment with various permutations and combinations till the best combination is found. I won't have a job so I'll have lots of time on my hands. If the system has any shortcomings after that, I'd consider personally funding the best designers for research in product development. Then I'll pray to God he can forgive me for such excess.
I would buy a DBX Preamp, a Denon POA-2800 amp, some monester cable, and Panasonic DV-A7 DVD-A player, and somne monester cable.
I would then realize i was filthy rich and wonder why the hell i was at home listening to a stereo when i could be out scuba diving in the Bahama's or climbing Mt. Fuji.
I would then buy a lear jet, and never come home.
More to life than audio! :)
Ditto on the acoustical room as the first priority. Add separate transformers and dedicated lines with the works -- e.g., star grounding, high quality outlets, ceramic fuses. One large room that allows me to listen to the music while in the kitchen, at the PC, etc (luckily, I can do that today so I know it's possible).
Here's the kicker. I would get an elevator system that allows me that would lift the speaker of my choice (say top-of-line Soundlabs and Montana WAS). High end analog and digital with ability to switch tube or ss preamp. Hoo boy!
Slappy, the question was regarding the $1,000,000 to spend on audio, not that you had only a mere $1,000,000!
I would build an amazing room in which to keep the system. Then I would buy a pair of Kharma Exquisites (I think is the name, there's $130,000 down the tubes). I would have Stan Klyne build me a cost no object pre-amp (there goes another couple of hundred dollars) I would get the Halcro monoblocks. A Sota Millenium TT with an SME 5 arm and a SHelter 901 cartridge. I would have modwright upgrade my Sony SCD-777es with all the whistles and bells (digital really isn't that important to me). All my cable would be Purist Dominus, unless they make a better cable before this windfall.
Then I would have an opening night concert for my friends and have a few of my favorite bands play my favorite song.
I'm glad to see that people are factoring in the room acoustics. Of course you'd have professionally designed custom sound room(s)!
I'd go with the multiple systems. Actually, an all out assault on the SOTA would intimidate me. I'd probably sit, start listening and I'm sure I'd start thinking - "So this is SOTA? Hummmm..." Getting something you've wanted has its own set of built in disappointments, so at least with multi systems you could go to another room when the inevitable doubts start to arise.
Busic, one of my rooms would contain a recording studio. I'd have my favorite artists come over and we'd make some recordings. Also by having a business link all the systems become tax deductible. Hey, I'm rich and in America the rich don't pay taxes.
If money were not an object to me (and unless you are already fifthy rich.......... when has it become an object (???)), I would first buy me some prime real estate (meaning land) in an exclusive area of my town (and in my case, being that I am a "Washingtonian", it would be in in Georgetown (D. C.), Chevy Chase (Montgomery County in Maryland) or Bethesda (also in Montgomery County Maryland)), and spend about $400,000.00 and have the house of my dreams built. It would have a marble foyer, a circular staircase, a gourmet kitchen with cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances, and etc. You know........ the works.
With the money left over after furnishing my dream home, then I would outfit four rooms with audio and video gear.
(01). My den (which would be my "everyday" room) would have most of my existing system. But I would update my turntable system from the Thorens TD-165/Grado Prestige Gold combination that I have now and go for a Clearaudio Champion II and combine it with a Grado Reference Statement, and then I would upgrade my existing subwoofer from the used REL Strata II that I have recently bought to an REL Storm III. It would be stratigically arranged and placed to get the best sound possible from it.
(02). I would also have a dedicated home theater room (that is acoustically dampened, so that its sounds do not seep out and leak into the other rooms of the house) that would feature the following equipment:
(a). Seleco Grand Cinema HT300 Front Projector with an internal Faroudja Line Doubler.
(b). Retractable Stewart Filmscreens 100" Greyhawk Screen (concealed by heavy designer draparies).
(c). Denon DVD-5900 Progressive Scan DVD/SACD/CD Player.
(d). Krell Home Theater Standard 7.1 Surround Processor.
(e). Krell Theater Standard Power Amplifier (Fronts and Sides).
(f). Krell KAV-2250 Power Amplifier (Surrounds).
(g). Martin Logan Odyssey (Fronts).
(h). Martin Logan Theater i (Center).
(i). Martin Logan Fresco (Sides and Surrounds).
(j). Velodyne DD-15 Powered Subwoofer(s) x 2.
(k). Equi=Tech Model 5Q Power Conditioner (Power Amplifiers would be plugged directly into wall outlets*).
(l). Leather Reclining Home Theater Seats.
And it would be all tied together with high-end AudioQuest/CinemaQuest Cables, and all equipment would be hidden in an isolated but adjoining air conditioned room. This room would ONLY be used for watching movies, and listening to music in surround sound. Otherwise, it would be off limits.
AND THEN (!!!!!!)............
(03). I would have a room that would be dedicated JUST for an "over the top high-end" audio only system. It would be thoroughly acoustically treated, and (ABSOLUTELY) isolated from any other room ANYWHERE ELSE in the house. And it would also acoustically dead, and designed just like a concert hall. And that would include plush wall-to-wall carpeting, comfortable and heavy upholstery, and heavy draparies. It would have an isolated and a MUCH upgraded electrical system for all of my most expensive components (with separate filtered 20A circuits and circuit breakers just for the power amplifiers). And speaking of the components........ here is what my "SOTA" system would comprise of:
(a). Speaker System -- JM Labs Grand Utopia BE (Signature).
(b). Power Amplifier(s) -- Classe Audio Omega Omicron Monoblocks.
(c). Preamplifier -- Classe Audio Omega.
(d). FM Tuner -- Yamaha T-2.
(e). Phono Stage -- Herron Audio VTPH-1 Tubed Phono Stage (For Moving Coil Cartridges Only).
(f). Turntable/Arm System -- VPI TNT Hot Rod (w/JMW 12.5 Pick-Up Arm).
(g). Phono Cartridge -- Clearaudio Discovery (Low Output Moving Coil).
(h). SACD Player -- Sony SCD-1.
(i). Compact Disc Player System -- Wadia 270se Compact Disc Transport + Wadia 27ix Decoding Computer.
(j). Cables -- Cardas Golden Reference (Interconnects and Speaker Cables).
(k). Power Conditioning -- PS Audio P1000 (for source components).
(l). Accessories -- Precision Audio Cable Elevators Plus and a roof mounted FM Antenna for the Tuner.
(m). Cabinetry -- Custom Made Out Of Mahogany With Marble On Top.
And like my dedicated home theater room, this room would TOO DEFINITELY be off limits to guests (and especially family). It would be my personal oasis for me to go to after I have came home from a hard day at the office. It would only be used to play back all of my finest recordings and to show off to my audiophile buddies when they are visiting me from out of town.
THEN STILL (!!!!!)........
(04). My bedroom would be a more less formal and more simplified version of what I would have in my dedicated home theater. Since this is going to be a place in which I would retire at night to put an end to a very productive day, I would not go through the extreme measures that I have gone through when I have designed the "high-end" rooms of the house. But anyway, here is what this system would consist of:
(a). Television/Monitor -- Panasonic PT-53TW53.
(b). DVD Player -- Arcam DV78.
(c). DVD Recorder -- Panasonic DMR-E80H.
(d). Audio/Video Receiver -- Harman/Kardon AVR-430.
(f). Speaker System -- Definitive Technology (PM700 -- Fronts + C/L/R1000B -- Center + BP1.2x -- Surrounds + SuperCube II -- Subwoofer).
(g). Cables -- Monster Cable "M" Series (Interconnects, Digital and Speaker Cables).
(h). Power Conditioner -- Monster Cable HTS1000.
And this is right along with a mini fridge to store snacks, soft drinks and (on a good night.......) brews.
AND THEN (!!!!!!)..........
(05). My kitchen would feature only a Bose "Wave" Radio/CD Player.
AND THEN FINALLY (!!!!!)...........
(06). I would have an Audi A8 Luxury Sedan outfitted with the "top-of-the-line" Bose Sound System with a DVD Theater System for rear seat occupants.
This all I would do if I was rich. And "Onhwy61", you're are ever "SO" right................ the rich do not pay taxes in America.
Only in America............
P.S.: "*" means that the power outlets in my dedicated home theater room will be filtered 20A circuits just like the ones that are featured in my "high-end" audio room, and thus, the power amplifiers in my dedicated home theater room will be plugged into THESE outlets.
1. Build a spiff room.
2. Try out lots of components in it/(build a great system).
3. Go to Bimhuis, Vortex, Tonic, Knitting Factory...
to get as much real musical opiate as possible.
(sorta like Buscis except i'd go to the shows instead
of having them come to me).
4. Build a good rock playback (2nd) system
It would be pretty easy to do 3 first, run out of money and go back to spending way too much time on this site
It would be a bunch of plain tickets all over the world to hunt the conserts of my favourite artists like David Sylvian, Laurie Anderson, King Crimson, Residents...
Than It would probably a studio that would probably bring to me some dividents plus again auditioning musicians live live live live live live......
I'd definitiely go with at least two rooms/systems. I think one of the reasons I buy and sell a lot of equipment is because of my varied musical tastes. I've found that there is no one single component that plays ALL music the best. They all seem to sacrifice dynamics for smoothness, or vice versa, to some extent. I'd love to have a SET tube monoblocks driving my Avantgarde speakers for my relaxing, smooth mostly vocal arrangements.
Feel like rocking? Go down the hall to the room with the big ass SS monoblocks driving large dynamic speakers.
Ahhhhh....what a life that would be....
Well, since I still get to run sound on a part time basis I would just buy a new rig & load it up with gear & go tour with somebody. I look at running sound like having a giant stereo to play with but I do take it seriously enough to do the best I can.
Since I'm so rich I'll buy a brand new Western Star & a custom made Kentucky trailer then spend 1 mil on gear for touring. That should hold me for a while.
I would buy May 04 unlead gas calls. 1 contract runs about $1300 and you control 44000 gallons of unleaded gas. With $1,000,000 you could control about 770 contacts. So what can you make.
Unleaded gas always goes up in price in the summer so a 2 cent tick up in the price should yield 44000gals x 770 contracts x .02 tick up in price = $677600
A 5 cent (.05) tick up would net $2,778,160
So what do you do with your 2.75 million. Buy Aug/Sept heating oil calls. Heating oil prices peak in the summer not in the winter, unless there is some near term distoration involved.
If you can say Straddle, Butterfly or Stranghold you can make money. Forget about hawkin your used equipment on A/Gon for pennies on a dollar.
Disclaimer Past performance does not guarantee future success......... bet with your head not over it!!!
Hope this helped
I'd throw a HUGE toga party and have the Bare Naked Ladies play at it, cuz they're musically talented and pretty damned funny guys. Opening band? George Thoroughgood, can't beat good old George for party music! The invite list would be all my friends on AudioGon and the Hawaiian Tropic girls. The Tropic girls would not be in togas for obvious reasons.
At the end of the party everyone would get a fully tricked out Bose system and a sledgehammer, we'd all have a wonderful time "modifying" the fine gear Bose markets. Hmmmm, wonder if there would be enough Tropic girls to go around so everyone left with a momento on their arm?
Oh yeah, I'd buy every vinyl record on earth and wonder where the hell the $1 million went to?
--An acoustically correct room designed by a good architect.
--A Steinway grand.
--Van Alstine fet/valve amp,preamp,dac. Magnum Dynalab Tuner.Good disk transport. Maggie 20's.
--An extensive collection of classical and jazz software.
--balance,50% Benjamin Graham enterprising investor screen common stock portfolio.50% investment grade,intermediate term corporate bonds.
As a point of reference, when I refer to SOTA products I mean all out assaults on sonic excellence with little regard to practicality. Almost by definition these products will be costly, although I'm not sure they have to be hideously expensive. The Rockport turntable/arm and the Wisdom loudspeakers are examples of the type of products I have in mind.
Conversion of a project by Keith Yates:
This audiophile project, a three-year effort completed in 1997, consists of four purpose-built rooms: A control room housing source components and software; a technical room housing amplifiers and electrical power equipment; an isolated chamber for the light-valve projector; and the auditorium itself. Floating concrete floors, double concrete walls, custom acoustical devices and other aggressive measures ensure unprecedentedly low noise levelsapproaching NC-0and extremely high sonic realism.
Seating in the 35 ft. long, 23 ft. wide auditorium is on three levels. The sprung (floating) stage and first seating tier utilize an innovative construction developed for the project by Keith Yates Design Group that affords nearly complete absorption of early reflections; the subjective result is significantly improved tonal and spatial precision.
AV System would be:
3 Wilson Audio Alexandria X2 Front Left/Center/Right
3 Pairs of Wilson Audio Watt puppy 7 for Surrounds
2 Wilson Audio XS Subwoofers
5 Boulder 1000W Monoblocks for Fronts and Subs
3 Boulder 300W Stereo Amps for Surrounds
Meridian 861 Surround Preamp
Meridian 800 DVD Player
Nordost Valhalla Cable All round
JVC QX1A Projector
16 Foot by 9 Foot screen
This would cost about $2,000,000
With $1,000,000 I'd dream up and purchase the best components $100k could buy and spend another $50k on software. Obviously this would mean the "budget" SOTA gear for me. Then I would build a modest home around a state of the art dedicated audio only room. If there is anything left for a BMW M3 or the bank account that's the cherry on top.
I once read about someone's impression of the best system ever put together.It was put together by a guy in Queens,LIC,NY years ago.
With changing techs along with room dimensions and everything else involved I think it would be a never ending challenge.Then there is the differemt formats and HT considerations to consider. Wish I had the checkbook George Lucas Has and the land to build it on.
Good luck Mr.Yates I bet your system will be amongst the best ever assembled.
Giant OTL's and large electrostats in a dedicated room connect via AC cleaned power, phase corrected, and with it's own switching terminal. That and carbon fiber, ceramic driver speakers to switch between. Oh yeah - and half a dozen different tonearms to try out on the turntable. Again the ability to swap between carbon and ceramic and titanium arms on the fly, along with enough cartridges to make life interesting. I wonder what a room with ebony room shaping sounds like, to go with that Koetsu? Or maybe I should get several removable walls to match the cartridge or play against it - made of Jade, Plastic, Rosewood... A daylight only room, no interference from light sources allowed, and it would have to be in Antarctica during the summer so I could have 18 hours to play records and I would still have no sound seepage. Did I mention the floor should be direct poured and suspended? I have heard this story that Pink Floyd bought a boat and has it on the Thames so they could build on a suspended stage to play - used every tweak - tube dampers, connection dampers, suspension racks, silver wire, and power from lightning bolts thrown from Mount Olympus - serious phase alignment, totally clean, etc. Someone said they had seen pictures and it looked amazing. Engineers have commented on it's sound or lack there of...
Kharma Grand Enigma loudspeakers with the requisite subterranean listen room (cavern?). http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?cspkr&974265178&openusid&zzTacs&4&5. Dealers and manufacturers would then be flown in to allow me to properly audition source equipment and linestage amplification (if required). A harem of 25 beautiful women would be used to change vinyl (which would be thrown out after no more than 3 plays). I would then outbid everyone on eBay to fund my over-indugent vinyl consumption. I'd lao buy rare NOS tubes and smash them with hammers to satisfy my morbid amusement.
*poof* then I'd wake up and do the following:
*Another EVS Millennium DAC for my bedroom headphone system, and another for my den (where I do my college homework - yes I am back in school again).
*Dedicated lines for my bedroom and den stereos.
*200amp service for my 1300sq ft house (why not?), with my own dedicated transformer at the utility pole. Cryo'ed wire from the utility pole, and all throughout the power distrubution to my system
*a truckload of Mapleshade heavyfoot cone footers for everything
*Walker Extreme SST treatment
*custom shelving build by an accomplished cabinet maker to house the following: books, vinyl, laserdiscs, DVDs, VHS, audiocassettes, CDs, SACDs.
*some nice listening room art. (a must!)
*Keg'erator with Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold on tap. Pop vending machine for my wife. (she's always wanted one of those)
*two turntables, a Teres and a Michell GryoSE for the main system, couple Schrõder tonearms, a Expressimo RB250, couple dynavector carts, a ZYX cart, and a Hagtech Trumpet phono. I can't just have one TT!!
*new projector screen
*Pioneer Elite CLD-95 laserdisc player
*rebuild fees for my Maggies.
*active XO rebuild for the maggies.
*two more pairs of quicksilver silver mono amps (to actively biamp my mains, and the other pair for the rears [ passive XO])
*multichannel linestage for SACD and DVD-V, but one that will fold 5.1 back down into 4.0.
*level 1 Rives consultation to help with the set up.
*some more Straight Wire interconnects. (most synergetic match thus far!)
Oh yeah, and an iRiver portable music player for my wife.
Nrchy: Since cost is no object here, I have decided that the proper decision is to buy the Walker turntable WITH the Walker tonearm AND also buy the Shroeder tonearm and then A/B the two arms and select the "BEST" tonearm of the two top contenders. I suspect that the Shroeder model 1 will sound superior. On second thought I have decided to buy the Rockport Sirius 111 INSTEAD.
Aroc: I bought one of your tonearms on E-Bay 3 years ago. It was a 16" Shure Dynetic with built in cartridge(the worlds first stereo magnetic cartridge circa 1957). Since (IMHO)it is still the best tonearm AND cartridge ever made I'll mount that onto the Walker and thro out the Walker arm .Its hard work trying to spend One Million dollars on stereo equipment.If I find out that a Lenco ($99 new) sounds better than a Walker and the $20 Shure M3D dynetic sounds better than a ZYX Universe have I defeated the purpose of answerning this thread question?
"Aroc: I bought one of your tonearms on E-Bay 3 years ago. It was a 16" Shure Dynetic with built in cartridge(the worlds first stereo magnetic cartridge circa 1957). Since (IMHO)it is still the best tonearm AND cartridge ever made I'll mount that onto the Walker and thro out the Walker arm."
I'm surprised a cult hasn't developed around this arm/cartridge combo. I have two of these arms, including one with the original factory packaging which includes a transparent plastic cover for display purposes.
The original arm came with a mono cartridge and was called the STUDIO DYNETIC. When it was upgraded to stereo it became the STEREO DYNETIC arm and cartridge. I remember sending it back to Shure for new cabling.
Shure's own website has barely a mention of these arms, which was designed to play 16" ET's (33 rpm LPs for radio programs). I even have the original mono M-1 cartridge in its transit case (uses the N-1 stylus) which plugs into the same socket at the end of the arm, like the M-21. The M-1 were custom made, and again in very limited quantities (I'm told only 50 to 75 total). But it was the first quality tone arm of the LP era that could track at 1 gram. The vertical shaft to which the arm was attached rode on a ruby bearing. It is truly a futuristic design and looks modern even today 50 years later.
Less than a thousand M-216 arms were made, and I'm told they were designed by Raymond Loewy who also designed the futuristic "bullet train" locomotive of the 40s, and also is credited with the design of Leisurama Homes, a planned community in Montauk, NY. You might also remember the Nixon-Krushchev "kitchen debate" in Moscow, which took place in a Leisurama home built at the world's fair. Loewy also designed a few Packard automobile models.
I am looking for a Shure N-1 stylus, BTW.
One final note: if you use the stereo catridge be sure that the stylus replacement is the N-21D original Shure with the very fine tubular stylus shank which tracks at 1 gram. Almost every marketer of stylii says the replacement for the n21 is the same as the M-3 replacement. NO! The N-3 stylus (which is not tubular, but a "V" shape, is designed to track at 3 grams, which the M-216 (and the shorter M-212 can't handle).
Mint604 I have heard the Schroeder arm briefly, but have spoken with people who have a lot more experience than I, and the difference between great arms like the Walker and the Schroeder is a matter taste. Some people prefer butter pecan to chocolate chip cookie dough. I know two people have one on order and will probably keep their existing arm and the Schroeder on the same table.
Buy both arms and use them for specific LPs.
just as there are houses in town with 10 or 20 bedrooms, marble foyers, crystal chandeliers, and so on, etc., i already have a 14 x 20 living room, with a nice assemblige of components and cd's and records that i have enjoyed collecting over a period of 40 yrs or more. how could i have it any other way?- my stereo and my music is a reflection of my tastes as much as it is my past or present budget. for example , i have eggleston andra-2 speakers. i was considering selling them awhile ago to get "the absolute sota in their size catagory", but i upgraded my cables (transparent) instead, and now the egg's sound like a whole new set of speakers. is there something way better out there, putting aside the issue of more spl's? IMHO, it would be really difficult without getting into something MUCH LARGER IN SIZE, which is NOT what i want or need. sooo, the TWO things i dream about now are- 1.a reel to reel tape recorder with high-end electronics that is not a 400lb. console- something that was never made (so i continue to enjoy my teac x-2000r to copy vinyl or cds, which it does remarkably well anyway). 2.my other dream is finding lots of neighbors and friends that enjoy (classical and jazz) music as much as i do, and come over here on a regular basis, and freqently invite me over to their houses as well (where i get to hear their version of audio nirvana). until that blessed day comes, i like to read the audiogon forums and send in a comment now and then.
as for the million dollars- a lot of that would go towards a cleaner and healthier environment...