New Buyer Paralyzed with Indecision and $5k…

Hi there,

Looking for some advice.

Currently streaming from my computer to AudioEngine 5’s and an 8” Definitive Technology sub.  Enjoy Rock, acoustic, female vocals and some pop.  Room will be about 30’x16’ with high arching ceiling (20’).  

Looking for something that hits hard...that I can feel when I’m home alone and will also fill the house with quality background music when I’m not.  While I am far from a critical listener and do not have any type of trained ear, I can get into comparing and looking for the differences in songs from different sources and such.   I would probably favor something that rocks over accuracy though.  Hoping that with this budget I can come close to getting both.


I thought I was set on some entry level Zu speakers.  I liked the feel of company, reviews, return policy, price ($1k) and that they are made in Utah.

Zu recommended the Rogue Sphinx and I liked that they too were US made and seem to get solid reviews.

A shop in Seattle carried the Sphinx but wasn’t able to demo it for me and pushed the Cronus instead.  They also were not a fan of the Zu’s and pushed their Monitor Audio Silver 200’s which I thought sounded decent for streaming from my phone.  The experience knocked down my enthusiasm for what I thought I wanted and I walked out empty handed.

The same day I went to a much more “posh” audio store and I was shown the Do-it-All Linn DSM Majik, for $3k.  While I am not generally a fan of Do-it-All products, I have to admit I liked the simplicity and overall operability for whatever that’s worth.  They streamed tidal through some Linn speakers bu they didn’t WOW me. 

With the sales pitch and frustration of just wanting to get some music going in my home I was close to pulling the trigger on it.  Again, I walked out empty handed though, unsure what to go with.  

My needs:

I will be steaming for the time being.  

I have no interest in Records at this time.

I want to be able to connect my TV to this system.

Possibly interested in adding subs to the system later on.

Any quick thoughts?

Thanks for reading!

Lot’s of good choices out there so confusing at first for sure.

Rogue Sphinx is a very good choice.

If it were me I’d be looking at OHM Walsh speakers again in your case.

I’d advise anyone already nervous to steer clear of tube amps, which have many special considerations, but if tubes are what float your boat then go for it.

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Rather than point you towards specific gear, hear are some shops I suggest in the Seattle area (I'm sure there are some other good ones I've missed).

Hawthorne Stereo - nice guys, used and new equipment, not pushy at all.
Gig Harbor Stereo - knowledgeable guys, used and new equipment, pretty sure they carry Rogue Audio
Desco Audio (Olympia) - mostly new gear, they have the Anthem STR integrated
Echo HiFi (Portland) - my favorite place, lots of used high end gear, super ethical.  You can see everything they have on their website and they'll ship most things.
Op you got the process wrong the first thing is too get the speakers,

we never liked the ZU heard a recent set at Cap and they were very good. 

Once you have seattled on the speakers try the electronics.

The Sphinx is okay the Cronus is much better. Tube and horns do work very well. Although the Rouge gear has always sounded a bit tubby to our ears. 

Also considering the size of your room you should get a bigger set of speakers, 

We just found a rather incredible pairing of the NAD C 658 with the Nuprime STA 9 which is a very tube like Class A/D hybrid amplifier.

This combo bested a $3,500.00 amp dac combo yet cost way less.

The NAD C658 also has built in the Blue Sound operating system, and has room correction which would work wonders in a big room.

In 30 years of professional audio sales haven't been this excited by such an affordable package who would have thought NAD and Nuprime would have made such a superb sounding pairing.

You should try to hear this combo we can provide it so can Audio Advisor.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ NAD and Nuprime dealers
you stated:
"Looking for something that hits hard...."
you have a large room; 480sf x20 or about 7200-9600 Qf (depending on the pitch of your ceiling)
I’d imagine you’d need speakers with at least a couple of large woofers (8-12"), the larger the better, in order for them to hit you hard...
Unless you’r sitting position is close by, or else you use a couple of larger subs...
just my .02 cents
Thanks all for taking that time to offer some advice!