Second audio system in your house?

Hi, just curious how many of you have a second audio system in your house, and, actually use it? I've recently bought some new components and had planned on selling my old amp, but I'm still attached to it, and with a small investment, say $1000, I could get some bookshelf speakers and a CD player. On the fence about the whole idea. There's a whole lot of other things to do with $1000 mind you, so I'm not sure if it's the most sensible thing to get into. I won't even ask the wife what her opinion is, as I already know it.
Second system?  Hell, I have systems in almost every room in my house.  Yes, I do use them, but not as much as my He-Man rig.
Yes. Also considering a third.  A benefit of multiple systems in different rooms allow you to enjoy a somewhat different sound when desired without changing anything.  
I have 3 in the house & 2 in the garage . Also have closet full of addition gear . You can never have enough , lol.
3 systems in a 2 bedroom apartment ... wrong person to ask.  Go for the grand, second systems are the ones you can experiment with and have fun with.


I have a primary one in a dedicated room, a second in the living room for audio/video, a third in a bedroom which I might sell off, an old system in the pole barn, and a suitcase system for the road. I must have a disease.
Three "big" systems--main dedicated two channel system (Avid/BAT/Vandersteen), family room "daily driver" surround system (Marantz/B&W) and a Sony/Meridian-based dedicated home theater.  Then there's my home office rig gets which also gets daily use.  We have a second home office and a garage setup (cast-offs from earlier days).  Daughter has a little Monitor Audio setup in her room and my twin boys stream my iTunes library via their laptops to outboard speakers.  We're a music family.

Wow, I'm a little surprised to hear this type of response. It seems "ultra" luxurious to have more than 1 audiophile system, much less three or more! I thought I might hear a tiny voice of reason. But thanks to you guys I might have to move forward with the idea. I've been secretly planning it in the back of my mind. The great sounding econo system I never built. 
 Uh, that's insane mesch, though it sounds eerily similar to my coffee traveling habits. 
I have my primary system in a dedicated listening room. Like it very much. I have a second small system, Dynaudio Xeo 3 on dynaudio stands in the living room. I also like it but for serious listening I go to the music room. 
Ok, I am timid in admitting it, I am a bit of a collector… been addicted to electronic gear since sometime around my 7th birthday… much unused gear around my house not even mentioned here… Pro audio gear etc…. an artifact of being a musician in the A/V business for many years, at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it… I lost count years ago… I get attached…

Most actively used… I have a great family room system based on some Sonus Faber Olymica II’s with a Musical Fidelity A5 Integrated and A5 CD in rotation with an Audio Research LS17Se driving a Bryston 3B and other misc. amp options along with an M&K Sub… Nak ZX-9 cassette etc, may put a turntable on that one...

Then there is an Adcom system driving some ancient JBL towers in my music room (as in musical instruments room)…

A much used mini Tiivoli system with my bedroom TV, another system with older Sony receiver and CD changer, Nakamichi cassette driving some Canton mini speakers in my lab/workshop..

A Sony A/V Receiver, Mirage speakers and Velodyne Sub with a big screen theater in the lower level… least used of them all… silly to have so much gear when I actually think about it…

Yes, I still enjoy working on an old piece of gear on occasion to get it up and running or sounding better by doing a few mods, cleaning etc…

Love the music, a bit burnt out on the the gear chase… I Like reading what others are doing here reminds me of the culture around Audio… Great people!

My main system is no holds barred for the ultimate serious listening sessions at least for me.  I use that as a reference but my second system costs much less and has some limitations. But still sounds spot on for serious listening at least up to modest listening volumes

My third system will try to match my reference system similarly but do it with a totally different approach i.e. Small tube amp.  

Lots of of flavors of very good sound.  It's fun to sample as many as possible and hear and appreciate the unique strengths and differences. 
Don't even ask how many pair of headphones I have sitting around...😛
I guess I am in the minority here. I basically have one audiophile system.
I do have another system in the basement, but basically older classic gear. Think Pioneer, Akai, JBL, etc.
I haven’t been down there listening to it in years (maybe over a decade now?).
Look we often choose to settle for one mate but why be limited to just one system?   Good sound need not cost a lot these days.   And one system does not care if you also love others. 
Yes. 4 rigs.
Main - turntable/ tube amps
Second - digital /tube amps
PC - T-amp
TV - solid state amps 
Yep, 4. Main rig, workout room, home theater, B&W MM1s for a portable.
At one time I had enough gear to build three or four systems. Sadly now space restraints due to a recent move have put the dreaded kibash on my collection even my main system has been scaled down considerably. However once the new house is finished I will have a few sytems from different era’s up and running. I agree with Mapman on this. Why limit yourself to one sytem? You can assemble a nice rig in a spare room for little money If you purchase the right gear.

Good one Mapman.  I have my idea of the super system without losing my mind--read that as a low to middle cost car cost wise.  The other is our home theater system in the family room with AV receiver and all small Paradigm speakers and an Oppo blu-ray player.  Good enough for movies and I let my wife control its use most of the time.  My good system is in the basement and I have a dedicated room which was my wife's idea.   The only problem with that system is going to bed or just leaving that room after a reasonable time.  I have to put a limit on it.
I went the other route and from the start never really intended to have more than one system - and it would be a single-sourced system at that. Never really had the extra home space or the extra cash for another rig and didn't feel I could afford a two-front war with my sources. All of that made me feel like I was taking away from my ability to get just one system to sound great. And I knew it would have to do well at that, if I had just the one rig...handle every genre/disc/track equally well, not dictate at all to me what kind of music I might prefer to listen to, do well at all volumes, and all that. So it took me longer to build (roughly 26 yrs) and more money than I planned, but is finally coming into shape as satisfying all those requirements for me, so I feel more than vindicated with this result...even if I didn't always know exactly how I'd get there, I did manage to stay that course as it turned out. It wasn't easy in my case, but it was worth it.

But, overall, if I were ever to think in terms of having a second system, it would be in my car, not my home, but I'm just not in my car often enough to consider it worthwhile these days, really.
3 for me also. Main system by far the best of them, but bedroom system is only one I use every day. 3rd system is fun for near field listening. I use it least often, but quite extensively for a few days when I do use it. 
above does not include various vintage gear...

I have three also and they are pretty decent.

In my upstairs office I have a MAC MA6500 fed by a Sony Xa5400es

and  a Rega P25 driving Revel M22s.

In my main floor living room I have a Rotel RCd1072 and Sonos Zone player feeding a Rotel RX1052 receiver driving B&W 685s.

In the basement I have a Marantz Sa8005 feeding a Simaudio I5 feeding Paradigm Studio 100v2s.

I am a pretty happy camper with a very cool wife.

Secondary systems are fun, need not cost much, built on the used market, and components can be swapped out for change. I often set one up on my deck in the summer. Love being outdoors in the country. Using a laptop computer as a server serves as the front end of several of my systems. Also my headphone system which I failed to mention in my 1st post. 
Oh Lord, won't you buy me, a color TV....
I have three systems, a Main System with BIG speakers, a second (still high-end) system with small monitors (Sonus Faber's), and a third for rock&roll in the bedroom (JBL's and Teac mini-components).
I love all three, but i only have so many hours in the day, etc. Each one does serve different purposes, Re: system#3, listening to most R&R on great (read-revealing) electronics and speakers is IMO a total waste of time, so the mid-fi of the 60's and 70's sounded (again, IMO) much better on the vinyl in the stores back then.
P.S.- Oh, i ALSO
have about 10 reel to reels- Teac, Tascam, Otari, Studer, Sony, etc.
This is NOT healthy, not healthy at all.  But if there's a pill i need to take,
they haven't invented it yet.  
P.S.S.- i have been acquiring stereo "stuff" for a very long time.
Oh, one more thing comes to mind- guitar players coin a phrase called "GAS" - or Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.  This can result in something quite similar to too many audio components.  A doctor i knew had over 40 Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters. Along with over 40 guitar cases, and innumerable sets of strings, stands, cables, amps, sound processors, and other accessories.  So we're not "entirely" alone in taking a hobby too far.
(as long as we don't forget about the millions of people who don't get enough to eat... here in the U.S.A....)
3 systems.  A Fi Audio of NY-based one in the family room; a Kondo-based one, and a Concert Fidelity-based one.  They give me pleasure, and I have an understanding (read: great) wife of almost 28 years.  I keep the Fi Audio and Kondo equipment for many reasons, one of which they represent the crucial efforts of the designers that brought them to life.  I keep the CF equipment because of the performance excellence (to my ears).  Most components were purchased at good pre-loved or demo prices, so, substantial dollars invested but not totally whacked-out - all things considered.
 Oh man french_fries, you hit the nail on the head, I seem to take all my hobbies too far. Hifi in and of itself is a bit over the top for the general masses. For example, somehow I've aquired over a dozen fine tobacco pipes in the past 6 months. I suppose it's a bit of a personality disorder. 
 Well after reading all this it appears the magic number is 3, so I'm still clinically sane (if you don't count my car) and within reason. Hell I'm basically obligated to build another at this point. The problem is, I've always wanted to try out an all tube system, and maybe a killer headphone set-up, so I can see other systems off in the horizon. 
I'm another one with two systems.  I have a dedicated 2 channel system exclusively for vinyl.  VPI turntable, PrimaLuna tube pre-amp and a Cary c280 V12 power amp.  ....all second-hand gear!

I have a second rig in my home office for headphones.  I have a dedicated Oppo HA-1 DAC/headphone amp and a LCD-3 headphones.  ....lossless digital bliss.  
Look for some used equipment, however, buy something you like vs. a good deal.  You will end up changing equipment out to get what you really want.  I have a McIntosh 6600 integrated amp and ProAc speakers for the main listening room, a great sounding system.  If you can't spend more than $1,000, look for the used equipment.  I ended up with a third system in my office and spent too much $ 7,000, but I love it.  As mentioned from some of the other equipment lovers, you can't have too much gear.  The wife doesn't get it, that's ok.  Have fun, owing the equipment is the fun of it, especially, if it's great gear.  I call the audiophile experience the black hole for spending money, you can't take it with you so enjoy it.  

4 different dedicated systems excluding Home Theater and smaller systems in bedrooms, outside, poolroom, kitchen.  Part of life and agree the opportunity to experience different nuances without changing when you have a single system.
One thing about spending $1000 on a second system is that you might find out how good one can sound with such an expenditure. I have friends who think nothing about spending $1000 on a TV and won’t spend $500 on audio to augment the experience. Oh well, not my problem.

I have a beautiful-sounding main system in a generous living room space. It is a holographic mind travel machine (think: "musical Tardis"; Avalon, Ayon). I listen to that when ever I can... lately, I have been discovering Charles Mingus in detail in that room, while reading or with eyes shut.

My home office is where I play with gear, I have too much in here right now but it is fun!

The family room is where we have our 5.1 Parasound Halo and Emotiva HT experience (sometimes ruined by watching would-be Presidential debates ;-) 

Here is what I really want to do: Have a space big enough and with enough power to have several different systems for shoot-offs. That would be the bomb. What's that? You say I should start an audio store? That's the idea, except this is not going to be a money-making experience...
Bose radio in the kitchen for cd playback.
@mesch you said: "One thing about spending $1000 on a second system is that you might find out how good one can sound with such an expenditure."

I could not agree with you more. A "reasonably priced" second system that sounds great can moderate your compulsive tweaking on a more expensive primary system.  (Yeah, right.) (...Well, at least it will whisper to you that you are chasing shadows when you A/B the same media on it.)

Yeah, I have a second system (bedroom) that gets regular use. After being unable to sell a modified Oppo 983, I took that and an old Outlaw subwoofer to build around. Added a low-cost (< $300) Yaqin Chinese tube integrated and small speakers, with Blue Jeans cabling throughout. Volex and Pangea cords provide power. With upgraded tubes, this budget system sounds pretty darn good. What makes it really useful is the Audioengine W3 wireless adapter with add-on receiver. Using my laptop as source, I can listen to iTunes library, Pandora, or internet radio played stand-alone or simultaneously on the main rig and bedroom system. Like this morning when the Mrs. left to go shopping, I had both systems playing - upstairs and downstairs - while I was busy doing a few things around the house.  
Forgot to mention the Audioquest Jitterbug USB filter in front of W3 adapter. Definitely improves streaming sound IMHO.
Vicweast, yea, gives one something to play with/spend on without breaking the bank, and with the exception of minor tweeks I tend to leave my primary system alone.  

@strateahed That second system sounds like it's "tasty"!
I should have said unchanged, not alone.

Thanks @vicweast ... much appreciated!
TV 5.1 system in one room....big high end 2 channel stereo in another.
@strateahed I should have asked what tubes you rolled in the amp?

I have two tube amps: Rogue w/KT120s and Ayon w/KT88s. The 120’s are Tung Sol, the 88’s are either Ayon high-end (China) or Genalex Gold Lions (Russia). I got the Gold Lions (3 matched quad sets via bay’s NewQuestInc (California-based).

I am relatively new to the tube game (Rogue entered my home slightly over a year ago), yet have fallen head-over-heels. My inclination was to buy tubes from a US source, just to limit unknowns and travel "shake" distance. As a noob, this seemed like a path that hewed to both caution and "adventure".

I wanted the Canada Fuller KT88’s but they would have come from Hanshire Electronics, cost 2x the Gold Lions and I just wasn’t ready to "roll" with that double-dose of delicate glass object d’art adventure ...just yet.

I wrote all this to solicit advice on tube sourcing and brand/model...


So, you're  not sure it's a the sensible thing to do, but, "I won't even ask the wife what her opinion is, as I already know it." I take it that means you doubt she would be in favor of it. 

Uh, oh.  See the thread on Audio - Post Divorce...  ;)

@vicweast I should have been more specific. The integrated is really a hybrid. Tubes in front of Class AB … versus all tube design. The tubes I rolled are small input tubes, unlike your power valves. At any rate, I replaced the stock Chinese 6N1’s with a matched quad of 1960’s Amperex Orange Globe 6DJ8’s. I prefer the sound of these more than anything in that class - except maybe Amperex PQ (6922).

The unit was purchased direct from China via eBay. One last thing: Lots of folks like to trash Chinese gear, but I found this unit to be fairly well-built and definitely up to “second system” task. To that end, it sounds great to me and that’s really all that counts. The only annoyance was it gave off kind of a funny electrical smell when it was new. It took a little time, but that finally disappeared after it was broken in

So, you're not sure it's a the sensible thing to do, but, "I won't even ask the wife what her opinion is, as I already know it." I take it that means you doubt she would be in favor of it.

Uh, oh. See the thread on Audio - Post Divorce... ;)
Yeah I've learned not to ask. When it has to do with toys I pretty much go with the "buy it anyway and tell her later strategy". I'm not sure how good of a strategy it is for marriage, but it's pretty effective as I get to keep most things that show up. 

Actually the the budget doesn't have to be $1000, just a nice goal. I figured maybe a $700 pair of speakers (new/used) and a nice, used NAD/Parasound/Marantz/Emotiva/any audiophile grade CD player would compliment my old amp (Bryston B60). Actually I love some of stratehed's ideas with the wireless adapter, tubes, BJ cables. 

I think this thread was a bit of a surprise and figured it would convince me to just sell the old amp and move on, but I'm pretty much feeling convinced otherwise, as in, I'm already researching other components. It's a black money hole as tgmitchell mentioned above, but at least I plan on this hole being considerably smaller. 

Hey vicweast, I have a new Rogue too, it's the base hybrid model, Sphinx. I read so many positive reviews I decided to go for it. First piece of gear I didn't audition first. Tubes rolled with RCA NOS. I'm really enjoying it so far, non fatiguing too. I'm debating if my second system should be 100% tubes - but not starting any debates! 

That Oppo headphone amp sure looks interesting t-bon3, but that's getting into a third system!

A thought which might keep the peace in the household; get a cheap music making machine, i.e. countertop radio of sorts for the other room if the wife likes music, and circulate in other gear into your main rig. The "second" system will sound better if it's a variety of the main system. 

I would focus on a second set of speakers if you have the space. Perhaps save up a bit more or sell the amp, and seek variety of technology in selection of the second pair. 


I love tube gear now, but I also like the reliability of my car stereo which will never need to be biased or have it's tubes replaced. 

I think tube gear makes the most sense for me in a critical listening system, not in a system you keep on for hours in the background.

Yes I agree completely. I wouldn't put together a tube based system to just leave on in the background. I think there's plenty of other options for that. I'm planning on another system now for a room we have dedicated as an office, guest room and a bit of entertainment - as that's where the old flatscreen, Xbox, Wii etc has ended up. So I'd like something smaller scale but still good enough to sit down in the sweet spot and enjoy some good quality tunes. 
 I'm thinking either ultra efficient floor standers, or some small bookshelves to match up with the 60w I have. 
Another option is headphones, and it's a good alternative. Some very impressive cans nowadays. 

I'm super interested in the headphone area! I can see a set up in the house in the very near future. There's so many options/combinations it's almost overwhelming. I've been curious about the new Oppo stuff, Sennheiser, AKG, Shure, the list goes on, without even mentioning the gazillion options for a headphone amp. I suppose that's another thread. 
 For the second system I'm toying with throwing a tube buffer (I know, people will up their nose at the idea) on my SS amp, or just trade all together for tubes. 
wetfeet, when you do the phones be sure to spring for a tube headphone amp.  You needn't spend that much to get amazing sound.