Sound System on $10K Budget

All, sorry if this has been asked a million times before. I am looking to build a home audio system from scratch and want to keep it under $10K. I have no idea where to start, and scrolling through this forum has just made me more overwhelmed. For context, I have a headphone setup (Meze Empyrean and HD 800S and a Vioelectric V280/1). Unfortunately, I haven't used the system in over a year--I find it too difficult given all the wires, turning my desktop on, etc. As such, I am looking to put in a home audio system that I can more casually listen to as I work, cook, etc.

The room I am putting the system in is 34 x 20 with 12 foot ceilings. I am looking for a system that is just all around good (jack of all trades master of none) given the budget. I will not be doing any room treatments, etc (not worth the marginal benefit and I am not looking for perfection here). The system will be used daily for TV and for music. As far as genres, I really like everything, but skew towards alternative/indie/pop/rock. I am guessing I will want a sub, but I have no idea and am flexible. I was thinking two loudspeakers, but I am flexible.

FWIW, I don't really believe in expensive cables and think it is a waste of the budget at this price point, but I am open to other opinions. I am open to buying used equipment (I actually prefer used equipment--I believe quality audio equipment should last forever). Overall goal is simplicity + all around good. 


As stated by others, 1st find a pair of floor standing speakers that can play into your large space at the volume level you desire. Stay away from those having low sensitivity and impedance. 

Look into the purchase of a 2 channel integrated amplifier that has subwoofer output and a power rating that will easily drive the speaker of choice.

You will need a DAC to take digital signal from TV and iphone. I prefer a stand alone one. That said, many integrated amplifiers have built in DACs. Make sure DAC has the required inputs. 

Blue Jean cables make for a good start at modest price. 

I believe 10K is more than enough budget to get to where you want to go. Buying almost new but used saves. 






Thank you everyone for all the help here! Much appreciated. There are so many factors to consider when putting a system together, so every post has been enlightening. Putting together a headphone setup is a walk in the park compared to this. 
I will keep looking up loudspeakers as a starting point, and will come back with updates.

1. I think 10K is the perfect budget, easy to find components that pair well

2. the 5K budget for speakers has the widest selection - in the standmount/bookshelf category

3. I would buy new speakers, used amp and a new source

4. I would stay away from the Ferraris of any component such as SF speakers and Mark Levinson amps, you pay a lot for the brand/image when you go high end

5. Don't buy the cheapest cables, a few 100 bucks will serve you well

6. When you audition systems, start with the cheapest combination and check out better speakers gradually

Good size room. Bookshelfs will work not just floor stand speakers.  Stay with my rule:

40% = speakers

30% = amp

20% = source

10% = preamp

Cables mean nothing.  Those people paying 1k on wires and stuff is silly.

My favorite system is the NAD2200 wth 1155 using Elac Unifi UB5.1, total.cost me $600 bucks.

The sound difference between 1k and 5k is barely noticeable. To 10k. Some differences, but small. I have vintage and new stuff to compare.


Before you go and spend $6000 on a pair or speakers, I suggest you buy something like a Hegel and get a midrange pair of speakers and see how you like it. If the speakers are such a big deal, you don't want the limiting factor to be the amp.