I have just assembled a $20k second system, purchasing all the components in one go. Here is the story. After 33 years I have corrected a terrible mistake I made when I sold my turntable and vinyl record collection; I am back into analog! Turntable is a Michell Engineering GyroDec (full plinth, not the SE version) with an SME IV tonearm and Clear Audio Maestro V2 Ebony cartridge. Preamp is a McIntosh C50 with a McIntosh MC275-MK VI tube power amp. And now for the really interesting bit; speakers are a pair of fully refurbished Gale GS401A's. For those of you not familiar with Gale speakers here is a link:http://www.vintagegale.com/index.php
The whole system sits on a custom made Core Audio plyKraft 3L stand. Not only does this system look beautiful (IMHO) it also sounds spectacular. Interestingly, my main system is a Krell/B&W set that cost about twice as much. The new Michell/Gale/McIntosh system sounds just as good, if not better.
Last night my wife and I listened to the new MFSL Bill Evans Sunday at The Village Vanguard UltraDisc One-Step LP (LMFUD1S002). This the second MFSL One Step, very limited edition, LP that cost $100. The first One Step LP, Santana Abraxas, is now selling for 5 times this price on eBay. We honestly thought we were listening to live music. I could not believe this recording is 56 years old. Background noise was non existent. Dynamic range, frequency response etc. was as good as anything I have ever heard.
I also use the new system to listen to computer audio via a MacBook Air and Audirvana Plus with the McIntosh C50 acting as the DAC. Again overall sound quality is as good as it gets IMHO. If you want to hear how good computer audio can sound, listen to the HD Tracks 24/96 Diana Krall Turn Up The Volume recording.
In conclusion, after 50+ years of being an Audiophile I have assemble the perfect system and could not be happier with the sound. Furthermore, I have what I consider beautiful HiFi art in my listening room.