System forclassical music


Some friends are looking to upgrade their home stereo system from something that is probably 30 years old with in-wall speakers wired throughout their house.  They are classical music buffs, which makes me leery of giving them much advice (I prefer rock, female jazz vocalists and Argentine tango).  They are discerning listeners, but probably because of their current system their expectations were low - they really didn't think that a home system could come anywhere close to a concert hall experience until I streamed Chapotier's Te Deum from Qobuz on my (modest) system and their eyebrows went up.  I told them that they could reasonably do even better, but I really wouldn't know what to advise them.  I realized that I actually don't know a dealer I would trust sending them to!  Sad, but true.

So let's say a budget of $5 to $10K for a core system (streamer, DAC, amps, sub, speakers - TT and CD transport to be added later).  Integrated is fine.  Assume a 15x20 multi-purpose room (I alerted them to room correction, but first things first).  Any suggestions as to what might be a good fit for them?  Thanks.
Ag insider logo xs@2xtreepmeyer
Hello,
First- it’s all about the subwoofers when it comes to classical music.  The reason is to listen at lower levels you need a good sub so you don’t need a lot of volume from the integrated amp to get full dynamic range. Classical music gets very big very fast. So at higher volumes it can be a bit overwhelming. 2 Rel T5 or better for $2k, Or 2JL Audio E110 for $2k each the E112 for $2500 each gets you to 20hz, or last but not least is the KEF KF92 for $2k each that gets you to 11hz. I know two are better so you might be spending 4K. Skip the smaller KC62 due to the room size. As I said it’s all about the subs. I say buy one sub now and add the second later. 
Second- the Rogue Sphinx v2 if you don’t care about the phono for $1100 used. If you do care about the phono get the v3 for $1500 new. This thing is awesome. It has pre outs so it is ready for subs. It is tube/ class D hybrid. If you want full solid state NAD has integrated amps that have pre out for subs and you can get the BlueSound integrated or built in for $400. So $1600 will get you there or more if you want more features. I say save as much the money for the subs and speakers. You can buy the NAD 316bee for $500 but you can’t integrate the BlueSound. Probably under $1000 for amp and streaming. 
Next is a BlueSound NODE for $550 or $450 for the previous version while they last. The DACs in this thing is really good. The app is so good and easy to use. 
The speakers are really up to the listener and their room. I like KEFs R line. I would say just bookshelf speakers but then we need to add stands and those can cost a lot depending on the brand. If you stick with 7” or smaller drivers you get better imaging. Sometimes is hard for the speakers to disappear when they get too wide. I would prefer a three way but another brand that is awesome is the Revel line. Their wave guides on the tweeter almost makes room treatments unnecessary. For $2500 you can have the Revel Performa B106 bookshelf and matching stands. If you can swing it go to the M126be version with the beryllium tweeter with the latest wave guide. These were made for classical music. They will cost you an extra $2k. So $4500.
Final note- Any thing can play loud with full range of sound 20hz to 20khz. You need good gear to play softly and still get 20hz to 20khz. I have tested all of these products and theories at my house. I am fortunate that this local Hifi store In the Chicagoland area lets me try gear out in my home: 
https://holmaudio.com/
They do have all of this in the store. I own JL Audio and REL subwoofers. They also have an upgrade program to future proof your system and choices. If you are a turntable guru they had a cool TT called a working Transcriptor Skeleton on display. This thing was so cool. I hope this helped. 



With that budget to replace an in-wall system?  You've got to be kidding!
Mahler123 - Rouge Audio on Milwaukee?  Do you mean Decibel Audio?  Or is there a new dealer in town?  That would be refreshing as the trend is going the other way!  Decibel is a good source for Rogue gear.  Maybe that's what you meant.

Nice guys at Simply Stereo, hopefully they have their showroom sorted out now after the move.  Haven't been there in about 6 mos.  Saturday Audio is a good no-nonsense place with mostly mainstream gear. 

Try and get them to visit as many as they can to get a good feel.  Luckily, Chicago and northern suburbs still have a decent number left.  Then there is Axpona in October.  Another way to get a good feel for what they might want.  Really hoping it doesn't get shut down again!
If they attend the symphony regularly, then they are sophisticated listeners.

This would make a sub or two an important addition. Rogue Sphinx V3 is a good recommendation, hybrid so it will have solid state low-end slam. And the price is right.


I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I can't help myself...
Marc-Antione Charpentier. Pronounced Shar-pon-tee-yay.

Aside from me being a pedant, there were a lot good answers.
They definitely should listen first and with in-walls... they can't.

Enjoy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxZQ1ODN1iU