Recommendations for HiFi Listening Room

Newbie here.  Wife and I are looking to turn our Great Room into a listening room.  It’s roughly 21’X’19 and has a cathedral ceiling that is 11’ tall at the wall and 20’ tall at the apex.  Spoke to a good hifi dealer in the area who made the following recommendations/proposal and I’m curious if this group may have any input for getting maximum bang for my buck.  Basically, with a budget around 35k (or thereabouts) would you buy something similar or are there any components you’d add or swap out?

Paradigm Persona 3F

McIntosh MA8950

Pro-Ject Xtension 9 w/ Ortofon Black Cartridge 

Sony ES DSD Music Server (this one concerns me a touch in that it appears to be an 8 yr old product line).

Thanks so much in advance for your collective expertise.  My wife isn’t going to let me drop money into this for another 15 years so I need to get it right the first time. 

If it matters, our musical taste is quite varied: classical, jazz, classic rock, alternative, hip hop.  My mother complained in my youth that if i had 10 bucks I would just buy a CD with it.  She is still right. 


Rockport speakers would do well in your room. Would be worth adding to your audition list. Good luck and have fun!

Some have mentioned that the room acoustics are important, in fact treatment is paramount. I know a few who believe that if amps and speakers are properly designed they will work in any room, well sure they will 'work' but not in a satisfying way.

The type of treatment depends on the size of the room and your room, domestically speaking, is large and needs a mixture of diffusion and absorption. GIK can supply the panels etc. but a word of caution.

Some have complained of being over-damped with the sound being a little lifeless. You can if you are handy make your own bass traps, absorption panels and diffusers. It's not difficult and there is plenty info online to help. Also the forum gearslutz has a dedicated section on acoustics including how to measure your existing room. This you can do for the cost of a microphone and free download of REW. Strongly recommended.


Some good ideas for speakers, I suggest the Volti Razz. It has an unusually high sensitivity which is a good thing and permits the use of lower powered amps including tubes. This type of speaker is able to fill a large room with ease. Their next model up is also worth consideration.

Best not to rush into buying something and heed the advice here, audition,audition,audition.

What has not been discussed is how multi-subwoofers help with room acoustics. The idea here is not to produce thunderous bass, which they can, but to smooth out all the peaks and nulls which ruins the sound. You have the space 😎  Plenty of info online, try looking up Audiokinesis and SWARM or DEBRA. The multi-subs will smooth the response but without some acoustic absorption the sound will still take too long to decay. This all may seem a little daunting at first but once you start it will all make sense.  Combining room treatment with multi-subs is optimal and even a modest system will provide immense satisfaction, outperforming something much more expensive which is simply just placed in the room without taking cognisance of the rooms effect.  Have fun.

Lastly, as a self-proclaimed Newbie, perhaps instead of considering analogue and digital just initially go digital. Streaming opens up a new world of almost unlimited music and you will find many enthusiasts claiming they haven't used their turntables for years or sold off all their vinyl. Digital has come of age and unless you own a huge collection of records, why bother? Vinyl has for a long time been considered superior, not so much anymore. 

Thanks for the many responses, I’ve been hard at work researching the many options you have all provided. I’ve had an opportunity to audition MartinLogan, KEF, Vandersteen, and B&W.  I’m lined up this weekend to listen to the Personas again as well as an A/B trial of Vandersteen Treo, Quatro and Sonus Faber Olympica Nova 3 (and possibly the Vs if they also have them in stock).  Then we’ll see what next weekend brings :)

One follow-up question: I have twenty years worth of iTunes purchases and an Apple Music subscription composing a library around 16,000 tracks. I recognize it’’s not Tidal, Quboz etc.. but they have a growing collection of hi res lossless.  I’m looking to maintain my ability to use Apple Music for the time-being/ maybe forever.  Rather than auditioning 50 music streamers/ servers, can I initially get a good sound by a direct USB-C to USB-B connection from my iPad Air to a high quality amp with built-in DAC like, for instance, Anthem STR?  If so, i can probably dump more money into the speakers and take my time to get the streaming right.

Sorry, no.

Think of your investment in tracks as a sunk cost.

Qobuz will give you access to probably every tune you bought and millions more… for $14.99 a month.

You can assess through an air… I did for years… sounded terrible… ok, not High Fi

My experience with streamers says you can close your eyes and buy the Aurender that is in your price range and be satisfied it has a really really high probability of being the best possible choice… and will be better than any PC or MAC.

Hmm, Anthem doesn’t sound like it is likely a audiophile DAC… but a good place to start. I would think the Qobuz / Aurender would be so eye opening that the DAC upgrade would then be obvious and net you a really significant improvement.


I would recommend giving up on Apple except for your EarPods and flying around with your Bose Quality Comfort headphones. High quality sound will come by a switch to Qobuz / Aurender (there are others, no doubt… but then you are on the auditioning route). I think the step up would likely take care of any issues with the past (allow you to let go).



Thanks for response ghdprentice. I’m not very familiar with the various music streaming services.  I believe Qobuz and Apple’s hi res lossless are both 24-bit/192 kHz.  Is there something else that makes Quboz so much more desirable amongst the knowledgeable audiophiles?