One Less Bose Wave Radio in the World

I was pleased when a reasonably rich friend of mine who studied physics, likes good things and is generally well educated on most matters told me that he wanted my help buying a "stereo".

The conversation got a little less interesting when he told me he wanted to "spend no more than $2K" given that $2k is certainly less than his monthly, if not weekly, dinner allowance. But things took a real turn for the worse when he told me that a) he wants it to dock with his iPod and b) preferably have the whole thing in one piece?!

So if I can get him to be flexible on the one piece requirement, could we build an iPod based, Bose Wave radio killing system along the following lines:

* Wadia iPod docking station?
* Cheap as dirt external DAC?
* Cables by Signal Cable?
* Berhinger A500 amplifier(s)(has volume controls)
* Epos or other competent mini monitor?

Hard to believe even that would add up to about $1500 bucks or so and his wife might not approve of more than one box....but wondering how a normal person might react to such a system, when used with their iPod.

What would you suggest in this case?
Isn't Meridian closing out their "Ferrari" one box unit at about that price?
Also how about the Arcam Solo Music w some decent mini-monitors? I think that Arcam also has some kind of i-pod dock.
However, none of this may be of any significance if he's mostly going to play highly compressed mp3 files.
Yes, part of my deal to assist will be to at least change the settings in his iTunes to Apple lossless!
Peachtree has a one box unit with iPod dock. No first hand familiarity, but people seem to like it.

How about the new Wadia 151 ($1200) and iTransport 170 ($379)? I haven't heard the 151, but it sure looks cool! That's two pieces, but they're matched. You'd have $400 for (used) mini monitors and cables. Lots of good speaker options: Epos ESL3 are nice; Silverline Minuets are excellent, too.
"The conversation got a little less interesting when he told me he wanted to "spend no more than $2K" given that $2k is certainly less than his monthly, if not weekly, dinner allowance." and "What would you suggest in this case?"
My suggestion, spend half the dinner allowance for 9 months and use half of that to purchase a real stereo and give the other half to the hungry. Food for thought.
jdoris has it down--the idecco by peachtree has an 40w amp, preamp, ipod dock and dac all in one little box; you could also connect an fm tuner, another digital source, etc. $999 new; sounds real purty and leaves him a grand for a couple of suitable speakers.

Let me guess: you don't have many friends in New York?

Otherwise, your idea is a very good one!

Afranta, ESL3 is exactly what I had in mind....
Be sure to have your friend watch this, esp since he sounds at least a little tech literate having studied physics:
We can't assume everyone is an audiophile. Non audiophile most likely has a different priority than we do in terms of audio equipment. There is nothing wrong with the Bose wave radio. My uncle has one and he enjoys it very much.
I think the Naim Uniti systems are amazing. I also like the new computer speakers by B & W that simply plug into a iPod.
My bedroom system is a Polk i-Sonic, with a PSB Sub. A Bose killer!
Though it would be a 2-box solution (plus speakers) I would get a Wadia i170 and a Tact M2150 or S2150.

On the used market that would still leave $600 to $700 for speakers and the Tact will drive most anything on the market ...

If he can stretch the budget by @ $200, the Snell CV is an excellent all around speaker, though large. If mini-monitors are the only option, Aerial 5's are very nice with the Tact amp

As Bong of fury mentioned, the Naim Uniti spunds phenominal. It's more than twice his budget though.

The Naim UnitiQute is due out soon. A little less power than the Uniti, but it may sound just as good. It has a built in streamer, iPod digital input, FM and internet tuner, and a few other things I'm sure. It's supposed to be about $2k. Its built into Naim's half width chassis (like some of their power supplies).

I haven't heard the Peachtree iDecco either, but the price and functionallity definitely seems to fit.
UnitiQute is what I was referencing. Priced at 1,700.
Has2be's suggestion has some merit, I think. While the size of New York kitchens (and social obligations) may mean that a pretty high monthly restaurant outlay can be hard to avoid (for some lifestyles), it might be worth pointing out that upping the outlay a bit could really extend the possibilities, give years of pleasure, and might not require that much sacrifice for your "reasonably rich" friend .

For instance, moving from 2k to 4-5k could make a really substantial difference: speakers for 2-3k instead of the whole thing for 2k. I do realize this is hard to explain to non-audiophiles, but the cost of one dinner at a destination retaurant (Le Bernardin, say) could generate audible audio improvements to be enjoyed long after the $24 glass of wine is forgotten.

JUst my 2c, of course. John
Wadia 170 ($379 new) and NAD L54 Receiver ($699 list, sale price $499 or $369 refurbished). The NAD is a 2 channel receiver (50 watts per channel) with FM/AM tuner, has S/PDIF input and contains a DVD/CD player. This gives the option for DVD or TV input video, if desired. It is a two box system but is very flexible. The NAD has a learning remote and you could probably learn the Wadia commands with it. You know about the Wadia. NAD also has a iPod dock that does digital out for about half the price of the Wadia. It also has a smaller footprint. Add your speakers of choice - there are lots of options. Sonus Faber Toy monitors for $600 here on Audiogon would be nice, although I have not heard them with the NAD.
For speakers, used Totem Arros are also an option if you want some small floorstanders. They are small but sound great.
CW, has your friend and his wife had a chance to listen closely to your system? Doing so would give them (and you) a metric against which to measure their real wants.

As someone already mentioned, not everyone is an audiophile and even we exist at varying levels of involvement and investment. Determining where your friends interests reside in the continuum might be a good place to start.
Tell him about the Krell Papa dock and KID. That'll fit the bill.
OP - Have you visited his house and had him point out where the new system will be going?

I am somewhat entertained at the level of discussion just to find something that's a Bose "killer." If the Bose product is a bad as many believe a Bose "killer" would be just about anything that doesn't carry the Bose name and certainly any product from an audiophile respected company.

It shouldn't be this hard to best junk. I'll post again with a recommendation.
I would suspect that if your friend was left to himself he would end up purchasing a Bose Wave® music system with connect kit for iPod that retails for $599.

I'd suggest giving him some options to choose from that would be as close to this product as possible along with some higher quality options. Here are three suggestions for "similar" products:

(1) Peachtree Audio MusicBox DS4.5 System that retails for $799. The price is very similar, but doesn't include a CD player. The speaker can easily be place next to the main unit to minimize space constraints.

(2) Bowers & Wilkens Zeppelin that retails for $599. Same price.

(3) Bowers & Wilkens Zeppelin Mini that retails for $299. He'll never expect an option of a better sounding product that actually costs less.

He may have plenty of money, but that doesn't mean he want's to spend it on audio. It's likely that the budget he gave you was that he assumed that you couldn't help him for less.

My brother-in-law thinks of dining out as a hobby in much the same way that audiophiles think about their systems. He took the family to dinner one night where the cost was probably over $1,000 for a table of six. It was crazy to me, but for him it was well worth it to share the expereice of true 5 star dining.