With that kind of budget, I'd get me some big Wilsons!
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If you're spending that amount of money, I advise you to go to as many dealers and friends homes as possible and experience the wide variety of sounds that people consider high end.
Another possibility are one or more high end audio shows that occur during the year. Just one of those and you'll see and hear tens of dozens of pieces of equipment that will never be found at just one dealer.
Coming up in April.
Stereophile is partnering with the Festival Son & Image, to be held in Montreal, Canada, Thursday April 3 through Sunday, April 6. (The first day is for trade and press only.)
In October, there's The Denver AudioFest.
There are at least six high end shows in Europe and Asia (if you travel) and the big USA show (CES) in Vegas in January.
Your comments indicate you're spending a lot of money. Wouldn't it would be great if every time you sat down and listened, you were overjoyed?
If your listening leads to questions or complaints (posted here), then at least we would have a clue what you like and don't like. With that, many of us at Audiogon would be able to offer advice.
Bruce, think about the system as a whole. Synergy between your speakers, amps, and CD/TT/cables,etc is the key.
Thre must be some good HiFi stores in S Cal. that can demo some top quality systems, also, there are probably audio clubs in your area where you can hear others' systems and opinions, sood good some not! Trust your ears. Listen to your music when demoing stuff. Everyone has their favorites, and different ears. When you connect emotionally with the music, and it draws you in, you are probably getting an idea what you like, dislike, and why.
Have fun, with a buget like that, you could travel to hear exotic stuff not easily found, audio shows too can be helpful for the same reasons and also to make new connections.
Don't forget live performances, imagine the concerts you could travel to. MUSIC IS the reference!
Welcome, and I hope you enjoy your interaction with us audio loonies here. As you probably guessed, there are some very very nice speaker systems in your price range. I'm a dealer and a speaker manufacturer, but what I'm going to suggest here is not something that I build or sell.
There's a small speaker company called Sonicweld that builds unorthodox loudspeakers of incredible sound quality. They do not advertise so you are unlikely to encounter them unless you go to their room at an audio show. The two most recent audio shows I attended were the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver, and at both shows my favorite speaker was the Sonicweld "Pulserod" system (actually, the system includes amplification and preamplification, so all you'd need would be a source).
At first glance the Sonicweld system looks like it's all about eye candy, but that wouldn't impress me much. In fact, I had to get past my prejudice against audio jewelry to appreciate how natural they sound. But on recording after recording, these darn things dropped my jaw. They aren't a reach-out-and-grab-you initially impressive speaker; they are an incredibly refined, naturalness-and-nuance speaker that is enjoyable to listen to for hours on end. They have become my wife's favorite speaker; they're what she wants once I start making some serious money from my own designs (which fortunately do not compete in the same price range as the Sonicweld system).
High-end cars aren't my thing, but presumably there's the flashy, high-profile, impress-the-inexperienced type of car. And then there's the low-profile, supremely refined, utterly enjoyable, appreciated-by-the-select-few kind of car, of which maybe less than a dozen a year are built. The Sonicweld system would be analogous to the latter, in my opinion.
Now I don't know for sure that the Sonicweld system is necessarily the right choice for you - that depends on what your requirements are. But imho Sonicweld is the undiscovered masterpiece among ultra-high-end uberspeakers in your price range.
Best of luck in your quest.
Isnt that alot of money to throw at what you call "A new hobby"? You can have really great sound for far less than that and being it is a new hobby and the fact audio gear has huge losses as soon as you buy then wouldnt it be wise to think smaller expenditure?
I am just suggesting that throwing that amount of money into something you may or may not really enjoy or submerse yourself in is at this point potentially foolish.
WOW! Is it necessary that you spend $50-$100K for this system, or are you looking for really great sound? I ask because you can get incredible quality for significantly less. Of course, when numbers as those are used dealers water at the mouth and you will find many offers to take your money. My advise: Do your homework and learn about great brands. Listen to lots of systems, then make your choice. Otherwise, you will be severly ripped off.
03-27-08: Audiomax said:
"Assuming that you don't use car electronics to drive your new speakers..."
Don't worry about this remark. Some of us think that the very best sounding amps and preamps are what Audiomax calls "car electronics". He's referring to a technology that's been around a long time and has recently received deserved attention as a true high fidelity option.
B&W Nautilus.... this is the speaker that I would buy if that kind of budget were mine. You need a lot of power to push though. I think you need 8 mono blocks of very good quality and power to drive them. If you're really serious though, look at them and ask the B&W people on there site, they can tell you more, I just know it is my dream speaker, dream is the key word here, maybe some day.