Really expensive systems that sounded great?

I often laugh at megabucks systems ($100K and above) I hear because so often they are just OK, or the presentation is so off in one dimension or another I can barely listen to them for long.

What I’d like to ask now is what megabucks systems have you heard which you felt actually were worth the asking price? I don’t mean incrementally better than your $20k system. I mean leaps and bounds. Anyone?

The best system close to that I ever heard was the top of the line Vandersteen speakers and Vandersteen monoblock amps driven by VTL preamp (I believe) at a show in Oakland. Nothing else I heard in that price range or above sounded worth it to my poor ears.

Lets try to stay wealth-positive here and stick to things we actually LIKED. 😁


Best system I’ve heard to date...

  • Avangarde Speakers
  • Audio Research amps

But then - I do like a very fast dynamic presentation together with exceptional imaging.

Some people find horns too analytical, but the Avangarde’s were just the right mix of dynamic speed and musicality i.e. to my ears.

I did hear the Audio Research with the TOTL Focal speakers, but I prefered the Avantgarde’s

Other than that I do like Gershman Acoustics very much - much more affordable than many speakers out there and they sound great with pretty much any quality amp

Regards - Steve


They have horrible measurements look at all those peaks and dips. you couldn't get any more ragged. 

MBL Master Reference System.

I have never heard anything better. Close to 3/4 of million dollars, but WOW!!




I have heard a number of really expensive systems over the years. One thing I have found is that seldom will you hear the potential at conferences or small dealerships. They get stuck with horrible compromised rooms with no time to fiddle.


There are some places that have a listening room and expertise to make their components sound good: Overture in Delaware comes to mind. I flew out there to audition some equipment… they did a great job in setup.


The best system I have heard was about $750K. It was Wilson based. It had a permanent room set up (large). I was just blown away. The best system I have heard… however, I also said, “I don’t want that”. Ok, if I could have two systems… sure.

But, there are a lot of “kinds” of systems. Flashy… Liberace like, modest more balanced, really musical… sounds like the real thing. so, it also depends really strongly on what you want.


If you are careful and meticulous you can put together a great sounding system on a modest budget. But assuming the same care and effort a $50K system will sound much better than a $25K system… and a $100K system will sound much better than a $50K system.

I own a $150K system… after pursuing high end audio for fifty years. In that time my understanding of what constitutes a great sounding system has evolved considerably… as well as my systems costing more. I have heard many system in the same price range or higher, I own the best sounding system I have ever heard.

My values are strongly influenced by spending the last 25 years listening to acoustic instruments as much as possible as well as attending hundreds of symphony performances.

If I could afford a $300K system, I am sure I could put together a better sounding system. But in the mean time I love the system I have. It is not a megabuck system in the high end audio world but is carefully tailored to my tastes. You can see my systems under my usedID.

The MBLS put out sound allover which is a waste of power from the amp. What you are listening to is echo coming off the walls and glass windows. Also the speakers are too big. You are never gonnna get speakers as big as that to disappear from the soundstage!