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Major life moment: first true Hifi system

Altair

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Hello lovely Audiophiles, happy to join these forums and finally be in a position to participate in this amazing world!

I am about to purchase my first high end Hifi and home theater systems, this is a big life moment for me and has been in the works for the last 35 years.

A bit about me, I had always been interested in quality audio, my first memories of fascination with Hifi where when I was 14 visiting a stereo store in town, listening to music on the different equiement.

I could not bring myself to invest serious money up to this point in this world, I started working straight out of high school and earned my college and masters degrees while working a full time job, my priority was always family, my 4 children specifically. Them having everything they could want was more important than music and a high end Hifi.

Fast forward to today, kids are out of college and the youngest just got employed, I had decided to retire early at 55, we will be moving to a smaller home in a nicer neighborhood and I will be helping my wife persue her life dream of opening up and operating a small Cafe and bakery. She really does make the best muffins and cookies.

On to the fun part, as part of my retirement plan I had decided to finally reward myself with everything I ever wanted, I will be building a den with a cigar room, hifi, home theater, and attached display garage. A classic Chevy to be restored by me over the coming years. Can't wait.

As for the HT, I had decided on the Bang & Olufsen system, with the Beosound Theater as the center and two Beosound 50s as front sides, Beosound 18s as back surround speakers.

As far as the Hifi, the part that gets me the most excited about my retirement project, I had contemplated a few options. My original budget for both HT and Hifi where about USD 250k, that left about 150 for the Hifi, I could swing the classic combo of Bowers & Wilkins speakers powered by McInosh hardware, something that most audio enthusiasts seem to gravitate towards when they are ready to invest this type of cash, but after reviewing a few more options I am leaning towards Focal Utopia Evos powered by Accuphase hardware. Focal seems to be more of a technology forward company than B&W, and I just like the look of the Accuphase equipment more so than the McInosh.

I have a few questions I was hoping the more experienced in these forums would be able to help out with.

1- I was advised by a number of people in the industry to ditch the separate hifi and upgrade the Beosound 50s to the 90s. The claim here is that the Beosound 90s are far more advanced and deliver a better experience compared to traditional hifi speakers, even those several times more expensive. A disruptive product in the audio industry as it where. I would like to hear responses from experienced Audiophiles regarding that claim.

2- If I do go with my original plan of second to top B&O home theater plus Hifi, I would appreciate confirmation that the equiepment I had selected for the Hifi are optimal in terms of synergy and desired experience.

I hope I can explain this right. What I am looking for is a home music experience that takes my breath away, an audio system that transports me to the stage by being accurate and realistic, that gives me a high level of insight on the music by reflecting every detail, if the conducted turns a page I want to hear it, I would like to hear the reverberations of the strings well after the note has been played, I want the vocals to be so detailed it feels the musician is singing in front of me. Bass or effect itself is not important in it's self, as much as it is about adding accuracy to the projection.

With that in mind:

Focal Maestro Utopia Evo ( I could upgrade to the Stella's if the difference is substantial, no chance of affording the Grande Utopias)

Accuphase A300 amplifiers ( I assume I will need 2? ). The reason I chose the A300 is that I was told class A provides a more musical detailed experience, while class AB (P7500) would be more powerfull. So two A 300s would be the best choice?

C3900 Pre Amp. I did not have a chance to do A/B testing of many systems, but what I was able to do included a comparison with this and other premium preamps. I am convinced this is the finest preamp ever built. I wonder if in combination with the rest of this proposed system it will deliver the experience I am looking for.

DC1000 DAC. Did not have a chance to demo this, but I understand it is one of the finest DACs ever made. I will mostely be listening to records and streaming lossless through a wired connection, this is for the latter.

DG 68 Equalizer.

Power supply had not been finalized yet. Most likely the PS1250.

Brinkmann Oasis turntable ( most likely)

Cables and rack not decided on yet.

3- Room layout and design for the HT and Hifi. I am starting with a green field, can do any shape rooms and finish to whatever is best. Overall size is about 9x10 meters. I was thinking of having a couch facing the 85inch TV on one side with a listening and reading chair to its back facing the Hifi. Or I could go for two smaller rooms. This might need a dedicated thread to get input before moving forward?

I do apologize for the lengthy post. Once more, huge life moment here, thank you for being part of it and contributing to my retirement project.
 

BDWoody

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I do apologize for the lengthy post. Once more, huge life moment here, thank you for being part of it and contributing to my retirement project.

Welcome, and congratulations!!

Sounds like an amazing way to reward yourself. The Chevy resto project might be a fun one for our 'show us you cars' thread.

Unfortunately, I have zero direct experience with a system with that many digits in the price, but we've got a few who I'm sure will happily chime in.

You shouldn't have to make very many compromises with your budget, and with some careful planning it should be pretty damn stunning.

IMHO, the more of your budget that goes into the speakers and room (treatment), the higher the likelihood you are maximizing your investment if you are primarily interested in the actual sound. Electronics are so good, generally speaking, that differences heard between one and another good preamp for example will disappear once a level matched blind test is undertaken.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing how it moves forward!
 

nerdemoji

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You are going to get a very different answer here than on other forums. I suggest you place focus on 3 goals:

High SPL capability.
In room Linearity (or at least the ability to change the in room response to your liking).
Controlled low end

Given that you have an absolutely unbelievably large budget, I would suggest you go for Dirac ART, which is supported by Storm Audio AV systems, which would allow you to get bass linearity and incredible bass response. Second, you can get some some controlled directivity bookshelf speakers such as the Dutch & Dutch 8C. Cross sub array over with the D&D around 100hz where they lose their cardioid response and you will have a cutting edge system with money to spare on a luxury car. Edit: if you are fine with the look of the Genelec 8381A, then this would be an even better option than the D&D.
 
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Altair

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Welcome, and congratulations!!

Sounds like an amazing way to reward yourself. The Chevy resto project might be a fun one for our 'show us you cars' thread.

Unfortunately, I have zero direct experience with a system with that many digits in the price, but we've got a few who I'm sure will happily chime in.

You shouldn't have to make very many compromises with your budget, and with some careful planning it should be pretty damn stunning.

IMHO, the more of your budget that goes into the speakers and room (treatment), the higher the likelihood you are maximizing your investment if you are primarily interested in the actual sound. Electronics are so good, generally speaking, that differences heard between one and another good preamp for example will disappear once a level matched blind test is undertaken.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing how it moves forward!
Thank you, will definitely post pictures of the project as it goes along.
 
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Altair

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You are going to get a very different answer here than on other forums. I suggest you place focus on 3 goals:

High SPL capability.
In room Linearity (or at least the ability to change the in room response to your liking).
Controlled low end

Given that you have an absolutely unbelievably large budget, I would suggest you go for Dirac ART, which is supported by Storm Audio AV systems, which would allow you to get bass linearity and incredible bass response. Second, you can get some some controlled directivity bookshelf speakers such as the Dutch & Dutch 8C. Cross sub array over with the D&D around 100hz where they lose their cardioid response and you will have a cutting edge system with money to spare on a luxury car. Edit: if you are fine with the look of the Genelec 8381A, then this would be an even better option than the D&D.
I have no idea what you just said.
 

pogo

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For the Focals, I would use a NAD M66 with two or four M23 (in bridge mode). The NAD M66 will soon be updated to Dirac Live Active Room Treatment, which also achieves good results with a 2.0 setup.
 

Keith_W

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I have no idea what you just said.

Welcome to ASR! Sorry, I will try to explain what he said. And congrats on your retirement and all the fun projects you have planned BTW. Exciting times ahead!

Firstly, this place is different to other audio forums. This is Audio Science Review. Other forums believe in "synergy", that cables sound different, and all sorts of tweaks to improve the sound. The focus here is on evaluating equipment and claims objectively and getting the most for your money. Expensive products do not necessarily perform better or sound better, in fact many of these "high end" products have misguided notions about design that objectively worsens performance. So a lot of advice given here will conflict with what you will hear in other forums and conventional hi-fi wisdom, which is why many people are antagonistic towards ASR. I hope we can demonstrate that we are a friendly bunch and our mission is to educate.

"High SPL ability" means the ability for your system to go loud, and do it cleanly (SPL = Sound Pressure Level). This means selecting speakers which are appropriately sized for your room, and providing enough amplification to hit those SPL's without clipping. I agree that this is a good goal.

"In room linearity" means that the frequency response of your loudspeaker in your room is as even as possible. The two most important factors for good sound are (1) room and (2) speakers. The moment you place speakers in any room, the room will have a major influence on the behaviour of the speaker. There are various strategies to deal with this, which we can discuss, but the first principle is select the correct and appropriate speaker, and spend a lot of thought in placing it properly in your room.

"Controlled low end" refers to the bass. The room has a major effect on bass performance, and WILL produce huge peaks and dips. My sound system is no exception, and this is a before and after measurement of my sound system:

1703099243943.png


Red = before. You can see that the curve is all over the place. Green = after room correction (I use DSP - Digital Signal Processing). The red curve is the typical performance of any speaker in any room.

A "controlled directivity" speaker is a bit more difficult to explain. You can have a stab at reading this article by Geddes or this article by Linkwitz. Basically, when your speaker is facing you directly, the entire audio spectrum is at its loudest (not strictly true, but I am ignoring all the other variables for the sake of simplicity). As you move off to the side, it will get softer, and parts of the audio band will drop off faster than others. Usually, higher frequencies are more "directional" (more like a flashlight that directs light into a beam), and lower frequencies are more "omnidirectional" (more like a lamp that throws light everywhere). You want the entire audio band to IDEALLY drop off at the same rate and do it smoothly, because the reflections from the side walls will reflect any unevenness back to you and colour the sound. There are various strategies to deal with this, and this has resulted in many different speaker designs.

The B&O Beosound 90 you mentioned is an omnidirectional speaker. If you remove the cover, you will see that there are speaker drivers pointing in every direction. By manipulating the output of the speakers using DSP, the Beosound 90 is able to change its radiation pattern to something more suitable for your room and listening preferences. Other speakers, like the Dutch & Dutch 8C that was mentioned, are not omnidirectional but "controlled directivity". It uses clever design of the shape of the speaker to create a close to ideal radiation pattern.

I realize that there is a lot to digest, and all I am doing is explaining his post. Thoughts of my own:

- DON'T get those McIntosh amps because they don't perform very well objectively. Of course, getting them for their aesthetics, build quality, sexy glowing tubes, and pride of ownership is a valid reason to get them, but most people on ASR are dispassionate about things like looks and only focus on performance. You can get better performance by spending less, for example getting an amp like the Benchmark AHB2.

- DON'T get a PS1250 power supply. It will not do anything to improve the sound, and it is astoundingly expensive.

- DON'T buy expensive audiophile cable. It does not perform any better than cheap cable.

- Class A amps sounding "musical" is a myth. Amplifiers can be evaluated objectively.

And lastly, speaker choice is very personal. We can suggest speakers that are known for good performance, but ultimately, nobody here can tell you which speaker to get. We can only tell you which speakers not to get, i.e. those with misguided designs, are overpriced, etc. Only you know your preferences, your room, your personal situation, whether your speaker has to fit in with your decor or not, and so on. Sometimes speaker choice is limited by what the wife will allow! All these are valid considerations above and beyond the actual performance of the speaker.
 
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GXAlan

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Welcome and congrats.

First of, I do not know where you live, so I'll assume you live in the USA and this is important for my recommendations.

1) You are building a dedicated den. This means you have an opportunity to design the acoustics around your room and optimize things in a way you normally couldn't. It's well established that the room matters a lot, and you have full control.

2) You've identified the B&O line as something you like, and Accuphase look over McIntosh look. I've owned B&O, Accuphase, and McIntosh gear myself. We get that visuals are important.

Reach out to @amirm and have his company Madrona Digital work with you to do the acoustic design. Since Amir's measurement focused, you can really enhance the experience.

You're looking to do Hi-Fi and Home Theater.

As for the HT, I had decided on the Bang & Olufsen system, with the Beosound Theater as the center and two Beosound 50s as front sides, Beosound 18s as back surround speakers.

If you want attractive speakers, it's hard to beat B&O look and feel. The Steinway Lyngdorf line may be equally as attractive but have a more tunable EQ.

That said, with the B&O level of budget, I think you should go for Meyer Sound Bluehorns where you get Meyer Sound engineers coming to your home and calibrating. That's actually a level above the DGA theater, and if you do a bit of research, it seems like a lot of screening room and mixing rooms are moving toward Meyer Sound.

The Bluehorn's meet both the "measures well" and "impresses the golden ears" perspective.


With that in mind:

Focal Maestro Utopia Evo ( I could upgrade to the Stella's if the difference is substantial, no chance of affording the Grande Utopias)

Accuphase A300 amplifiers ( I assume I will need 2? ). The reason I chose the A300 is that I was told class A provides a more musical detailed experience, while class AB (P7500) would be more powerfull. So two A 300s would be the best choice?

C3900 Pre Amp. I did not have a chance to do A/B testing of many systems, but what I was able to do included a comparison with this and other premium preamps. I am convinced this is the finest preamp ever built. I wonder if in combination with the rest of this proposed system it will deliver the experience I am looking for.

DC1000 DAC. Did not have a chance to demo this, but I understand it is one of the finest DACs ever made. I will mostely be listening to records and streaming lossless through a wired connection, this is for the latter.

DG 68 Equalizer.

Power supply had not been finalized yet. Most likely the PS1250.

Brinkmann Oasis turntable ( most likely)

Cables and rack not decided on yet.

3- Room layout and design for the HT and Hifi. I am starting with a green field, can do any shape rooms and finish to whatever is best. Overall size is about 9x10 meters. I was thinking of having a couch facing the 85inch TV on one side with a listening and reading chair to its back facing the Hifi. Or I could go for two smaller rooms. This might need a dedicated thread to get input before moving forward?

I do apologize for the lengthy post. Once more, huge life moment here, thank you for being part of it and contributing to my retirement project.

Accuphase offers very good quality and long-term serviceabilty, but you pay extravagantly for the look and long-term guarantee.

The DG-68 at $24K does measure well (attached here for the rest of the audience), but here's the thing...
721Accu68fig08.jpg


If you took your Maestro Utopia Evo at 76K with the $24K DG-68 and $51K/pair A300 and $25k DA-1000. ($176K)

and compared it to a pair of the Stella Utopia at 150K with a Classe Delta Pre/Monoblock (which has PEQ for room correction), you would get a better sound with the better speakers.

In theory, the Grande Utopias with a Denon A1H AVR might even be ahead of the Stella with the Classe gear...

Ultimate speakers with good electronics ALWAYS trumps good speakers with ultimate electronics. Speakers involve actual physical things. Electronics are like CPUs and iPhones. A multi-million dollar supercomputer from the 1970's has less power than our $1000 phone.

Also, keep in mind that you should be getting HEFTY discounts off retail with this kind of purchase.
 

GXAlan

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The other thing I would add is that for a lot of gear like Accuphase, people make incremental upgrades. They get one piece each year, or move from the entry level to the next level, so it’s easier to buy one step at a time and move up within a product line.

People may buy electronics that should last a few speaker upgrades (I.e. more power than you need today so it can power anything in the foreseeable future).

Since you're starting from scratch and have a healthy budget at that, your decision tree is very different from a typical audiophile…

That’s why some of the recommendations given are different from what you may see elsewhere.

Denon flagship AVR with flagship Focal’s will sound better than the full Accuphase stack with a few tiers down in speaker performance (provided that your room is large enough).

Going with a dedicated integrated system like Bluehorn is something you certainly should consider. If you are truly playing with this budget, I am sure you can set up a visit to Berkeley, CA to listen to the Bluehorn’s at Meyer Sound’s HQ.
 

Rednaxela

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Welcome to the forum @Altair and congrats on the retirement and the exciting times ahead for you.

You have been given some fantastic advice already. Many things I could not have said better in any way. All I can say about it is take the time to really ingest it, especially the parts that seem to go against the grain at first.

I love your crystal clear description of what you seek:

What I am looking for is a home music experience that takes my breath away, an audio system that transports me to the stage by being accurate and realistic, that gives me a high level of insight on the music by reflecting every detail, if the conducted turns a page I want to hear it, I would like to hear the reverberations of the strings well after the note has been played, I want the vocals to be so detailed it feels the musician is singing in front of me. Bass or effect itself is not important in it's self, as much as it is about adding accuracy to the projection.

In your unique position it would be an incredible shame to reduce your quest to a high end gear selection game. You have the opportunity to go far beyond that and I sincerely hope you are willing and able to make this step, both in the mind and in the eventual implementation.

The first thing I would focus on at this stage is to find real world examples of exactly what you're after. Have you ever experienced what you're looking for already? Where was it? Have you analysed what it was (and was not!) that created it?

Another thing that might provide an interesting perspective is the production side of things. Studios, mixing and mastering rooms etc. In all stages that lead to the music you're planning to play back on your dream system, there is playback involved too. This may or may not be the same playback as what you're after, but it could still be very enlightening to understand where exactly the two differ and where they overlap. Both in terms of experience and what's (and what's not!) required to create it.

Hope this adds to the conversation, and good luck on your amazing journey!
 

dualazmak

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Hello @Altair,
Welcome and much congratulations!

I assume, from now on, you have enough time to enjoy building your HiFi audio system, and more importantly to enjoy listening to your preferred music.

What would be your thoughts if I dare to suggest you to step into exploration of DSP-based multichannel multi-SP-driver multi-amplifier fully active audio system just like my project? (you can find the Hyperlink Index of my project here and here.)

For the past about four years have been much enjoying the step-by-step progress in my multichannel audio exploration, and recently I could almost fully completed my such setup, as you can find my latest audio system here on my project thread.

The total sound quality of my multichannel system is just amazing, it always "Wow" and "Amaze" me as I briefly summarized here.
My post here (#520), here (#687) and here (#782) would be also of your interest and reference, I assume.

In case if you would be seriously interested in this direction and approach, not only myself but also several ASR friends in this "DSP multichannel league" are always ready to assist you here in ASR Forum.
 
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Galliardist

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I'd echo the above posts, with maybe even more emphasis on the differences in approach.

Firstly, as you have a blank space to start with, designing an acoustically good room is the first point, well before choosing speakers and then the rest of the system. Just as directing more towards the speaker system - and that need not be just the two main speakers in a stereo setup - will gain you more benefits, so will having a properly treated and setup room. Having a professional help with that side of things will gain you a lot.

If most of us here are really honest, if asked what we would do with a close to unlimited budget for a single upgrade, it would be the room, every time. Don't miss or mess up on that!

Secondly, there is no reason to have a separate stereo and multichannel system, unless you intend for different people to use them at the same time. I'd go for a single setup. You clearly have the money to build a single system that can do stereo and multichannel music as well as AV. You have a better chance of that superb soundstage and experience down that road. Pay attention to bass management in the setup: the key advantage of such a single system is that you only have to deal with the bass management side of things once.

Obviously, you need to listen to such a system first, and it may go against that lifetime ambition to own the sort of dedicated system you describe in your post. However, if what you want is a great functioning experience, I think the single system is the way to go.

FInally, make sure what you get is attractive to you, ergonomically good and easy and enticing for you to use. At the amount of money you are spending, you should want to live in there, however many rooms or systems you have.
 

dualazmak

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What I am looking for is a home music experience that takes my breath away, an audio system that transports me to the stage by being accurate and realistic, that gives me a high level of insight on the music by reflecting every detail, if the conducted turns a page I want to hear it, I would like to hear the reverberations of the strings well after the note has been played, I want the vocals to be so detailed it feels the musician is singing in front of me. Bass or effect itself is not important in it's self, as much as it is about adding accuracy to the projection.

In this regard, I would like to suggest you preparing your own consistent "Audio Sampler/Reference Playlist" consists of at least 30 tracks of really excellent recording quality selected from your preferred music genres.

You may find one example of such "Audio Sampler/Reference Playlist" summarized here and here on my project thread.
 
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Altair

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Thank you for all the replies and valuable info! Allot to understand and digest!!! Seems I need to rethink my strategy, I had a much more conventional understanding of audio systems.

I definitely want the best possible audio experience without overpaying, if the Accuphase equipment is really overpriced and unnecessary I will happily switch to a different setup even if uglier and hide the components. Going with one system instead of two is preferred if I can get the same results without a doubt!

The looks of the speakers do matter to a degree but not the first or second consideration. Sound quality and experience first and foremost!
 
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Altair

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Let's start from scratch with a lower budget and a better sound experience target.

If you had a 100k to spend and a room to design, what would you do?
 

Rednaxela

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This video quite shaped the way I think about audio and especially end game audio. It might be of interest here too.


If you had a 100k to spend and a room to design, what would you do?
For aesthetic reasons I would not exactly copy Winer's room, but the end result would be heavily influenced by the various things he presents in the video.


Edit: for what it's worth by the way. It's all theory and pipe dreams on my part. Starting with the 100k budget. :)
 
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Keith_W

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Let's start from scratch with a lower budget and a better sound experience target.

If you had a 100k to spend and a room to design, what would you do?

You are setting yourself up for trouble by asking a question like this ;) My prediction: ASR will swamp you with suggestions and you will quickly become overwhelmed and confused.

I should point out that what I would do is totally different to what you should do. For me, it would be: multiple subs, speakers with horns which have been converted to active (i.e. passive crossover bypassed), enough amp and DAC channels for each driver similar to @dualazmak, and all tied together with DSP and careful measurements to get it all to work. However, a system like this would be overwhelming for a beginner to even contemplate. Whilst I agree with @dualazmak's approach, I have to smack him for suggesting that you go swim with sharks before you have learnt to swim :)

What you should do is something that only you can decide! My advice is to NOT spend any money until you develop an audio philosophy of your own. Questions you should ask yourself are:

1. How much trouble are you willing to go through? The opportunities for learning in this hobby are nearly endless, such that I think that even the experts on this forum do not have a complete grasp of every single aspect of audio.

2. Is this going to be an ongoing interest, or do you want a system that you can get up and running and then enjoy?

3. How important is simplicity in your setup? Do you mind turning on a dozen power switches before you can listen to music?

4. Do you have pre-existing requirements or beliefs? e.g. do you need a turntable? Have you dreamed of owning a tube amp all your life? Are these non-negotiable?

I could go on and on, but to me it is important to know yourself before you get swamped by ASR members. The simplest system would be: active speakers (like the aforementioned Genelec 8361, Dutch&Dutch 8C, Kii Three, or even the Beosound 90's) + streamer. 2 components and you're done. The most complex system would be: multichannel DIY speakers, subwoofers, each independently controlled by DSP, with multiple sources, and HT capability. And then there is everything else in between.

Another thing - go to spinorama.org and on the top right button, select "Sort by ... Score" (I have already done it for you in the link). It is possible to predict good sounding loudspeakers from measurements alone. This list given by spinorama reflects some of the most admired speakers here on ASR. Most of the recommendations you will receive will come from that list. The weakness of that website is that it only lists speakers that have been measured, i.e. there is a form of selection bias at play. It is of course possible that speakers that haven't been measured could perform as good or better. Not every speaker listed will be suitable for you, e.g. some are too small, some are too ugly, some are too expensive, some may not work in your room, etc.
 

WillBrink

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Thank you for all the replies and valuable info! Allot to understand and digest!!! Seems I need to rethink my strategy, I had a much more conventional understanding of audio systems.

I definitely want the best possible audio experience without overpaying, if the Accuphase equipment is really overpriced and unnecessary I will happily switch to a different setup even if uglier and hide the components. Going with one system instead of two is preferred if I can get the same results without a doubt!

The looks of the speakers do matter to a degree but not the first or second consideration. Sound quality and experience first and foremost!

I'd add that you're no doubt excited and ready to get that system (can't blame you there!), but considering how much $ you plan to spend (congrats!), I'd pull back and really do some research. For example, there's brands of speakers you have likely not heard of far better for less $ than what you listed (Focal and B&W), which spend a lot on marketing. Of course you should spend what you wish, but with planning and research and knowledge (you came to the right forum for that...) 100k will get you a system that will blow your mind and make you happy the rest of your days. People who don't know any better end up spending 10K on cables in a 100k system when it has no impact on the audio at all. There's a LOT of scams and nonsense in the audio biz too.

I'd add also, you will hear over and over, the room itself is essential to the audio you get, and 50k spent on the room plus 100K on the system (as example, not real numbers) will sound far better then 250k spent on gear stuffed into a room with bad acoustics. That's usually the reason a system sounds so good at the dealer and not so good at home.

Finally, there's diminishing returns involved where no matter how much $ you throw at it, audio does not improve (it varies by type of gear), and you're paying for looks, bragging rights, resale values, etc. Nothing wrong with that, it's part of the fun, but just be aware of that reality.

What room will it go into? I mean, hell, 100k you can build a dedicated room, and 150k into the system, and will be amazing.

What ratio of music to HT do you figure? Me, I'm 90% music, so system slants heavy to sounding best in 2 channel music

What kinds of music do you listen to?

Do you plan to play it very loud, or really focused on other aspects?

Enjoy the journey first!
 
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