If cost was no factor, what system would you build as your main audio system?

I realize there are some, who frequent this forum, who already fall into that category, but for many of the rest of us, even though we are quite happy with the systems we’ve built, maybe our dream system, if financially possible, would be something other, or more, than what we now have. What components do you now have and (if finances and circumstances, within reason, was no factor) what components would you add or change, to build your dream system?
We all have individual tastes and likes in music and different ideas of what audio components would most satisfy those likes - so, without being critical of someone else, lets throw out some ideas....Jim
Besides the room and room treatment, a pair of Conrad Johnson Premiere Twelves, and matching preamp. 

I would still build my own speakers. I would invest in a pair of subs. While I like JL Audio, if money is no object, I dislike their reliability, so I might even stick with Hsu. 

Mytek Brooklyn as source. 
It's hard to spend even imaginary money without knowing where I'd put it all.  Since I'm pretty happy with my system, I'll just list some out of budget incremental upgrades I'd love to hear at home. 

Custom PC --> Aurender W20
Chord Qutest --> Chord Dave/Blu2
Croft Micro 25R --> Micro 25RS separate line & phono
First Watt M2 --> Pass Labs XA25
Proac Studio 148 --> Response D48R
Cardas Neutral Reference --> Clear or Clear Beyond
PS Audio Dectet --> DirectStream PowerPlant 15

And maybe add a VPI Avenger

I think this still way under $100k, so maybe I should learn to dream bigger.

There must be something wrong with me, but prices no longer impress me at all. 

I honestly can't think of a single loudspeaker over $10k which impresses me all that much. I can think of some really beautiful looking speakers, but speakers which make me go "this is revolutionary and far above everything else!" I haven't heard in a very very long time.


I think some lovely restored Western Electric gear would work nicely. And field coil open baffle speakers. And a new bigger room for them!
+1 erik
I can’t think of many speakers over $10k either, that would impress me allot. I would, however, love to hear the new Maggie 30.7s, but they wouldn’t do me much good without a much larger space and the power to drive them.
My short list of speakers that might work nicely in my space:
Nicely refurbished Apogee Duetta Sigs.
Magnapan 3.7i
Spatial X2
With any of the above, especially the Apogees, I’d surely need an up grade in power...Jim

I'll tell you one thing - it would be simple, SS and something that could be left on all the time so I could just play music when I felt like without the warm-up rituals and all the other bs we go through sometimes.  Maybe an Accuphase integrated with one of their high-end SACD/CD spinners.  Speakers? A lot of good ones out there.  Maybe the Trenner & Friedl RA Box speaker.  Simple, elegant, non-analytical stuff.  But still quite expensive.  I've lost my taste for complexity, but not for good things.  
If I had the right room, (custom built), and the money,  the mbl Master Reference System would my mine.

Never heard anything better.
Not familiar with the MBL equipment, so had to google just for a look - WOW - very nice stuff! Definitely beyond my reach right now, but could certainly be on my wish list...Jim
As much as I love tubes, there is a lot to be said for the convenience, control and command of top notch ss...Jim
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@mofimadnessJust a little teaser: Interesting video.
 I agree with many here - most expensive doesn't always mean the best, but some of the truly nice stuff out there, both new and vintage, seems to carry a hefty price.
+1 for a bigger better room. For speakers I would opt for the new big Maggies, or possibly, Sound Labs, vintage Apogees, or the Spatial X2s
My choice in power, if SS - Possibly a Griffon Diablo 300, or (would love to hear) something in the MBL line.
My choice if tube - defiantly a pr. of VAC Statement 450s
Still out on Tables and cartridges,  DACs  and cables...Jim
Dream system for my speakers : Ypsilon PST-100, Ypsilon Aelius II Monoblocks, Ypsilon VPS-100, Ypsilon MC Step Up, Bergman Audio Sindre, Totaldac d1-twelve 4 boxes, Aries Cerat Kassandra 2 Signature.
Kinda easy actually...

Pass Labs Monoblocks

Modwright or ARC tube preamp

Thiel Loudspeakers

Sony Hapz1Es server/streamer

Clearudio Turntable

Maybe too easy but that’s it...
Current system.

AR Ref 3 pre
Accuphase A 65 amp
Arye QX 5 Twenty dac
Melco N1ZH60 server
Dynaudio S 25

Make me happy system, Im not greedy.

AR Ref 10 pre
Accuphase A250
Esoteric K1
Aurender W20
Dynaudio S25 + 2 subs

JBL DD 6700 ,Spectral,MIT,Rockport,Goldmund,Equitech,Sound Application,Magnum Dynalab,Nakamichi Dragon,Oppo 205.
Speakers- I would listen to Von Schweikert, Vivid Audio, and Rockport speakers

Amp and preamp would be based on speaker selection - Soulution Audio or Jeff Rowland

Source- Antipodes CX+EX music server, Chord Dave DAC with Blu 2


Thanks for all of the great ideas.
It’s amazing how much good stuff, vintage and cutting edge modern, is out there and what a diversity we, as audiophiles, have in regards to the equipment that best satisfies our need for good music.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was undecided, regarding cables, what I would choose. Regardless of how much I had to spend on equipment, I don’t believe I would spend $10k on ICs and speaker cables. Since I have no desire to tune my system or future system with cabling and believe the best cables would be the ones that impart the least amount of their own character to the mix - I have but four criteria for both speaker cables and inter connects: high conductivity; low capacitance; low inductance and high quality materials - including connectors. There are a good many cable companies i.e Clear Day Cables, Empirical Audio and others that build quality cables that meet all of those criteria, at a reasonable price. I would, no doubt, go with cables from one of those companies or stick with the ones now serving me very well and put the money saved, elsewhere on my system...Jim

There is a reason why megabuck systems have megabuck cabling. You never see the budget cables on these systems. How many people here who actually criticize the megabuck cables have actually HEARD them in a megabuck system. I'm willing to bet NONE.
Speakers: Stenheim Reference Statement
Amplifiers: Conrad Johnson ART 300s (though I bet the ARC 750 watt tube amps are beasts)
Preamp: Conrad Johnson GAT
Cables: LS-4004 Air
DAC: Brinkmann Nyquist
Turntable: The Onedof is gorgeous, but not entirely sure I'd give up DD for it...which would leave me with the Bardo!
Tonearm: Ikeda IT-345 in gold
Cartridge: Fuuga on one headshell, London Decca Reference on another
Phono Preamp: Not really sure! Perhaps the top of the line Allnic, or top of the line VAC
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Dream set-up ?
front end - Studer deck. And a lot of master dubs.
amps - Ypsilon, Gryphon, Lamm or Wavac.
speakers - no idea, I would listen to everything I could
cables - depends on the above, most likely Purist Audio.
Very simple and very expensive.
You remember in the movie "The Graduate when the older man told the younger man just one word. Plastics. In reading this forum for years that word here would be Pass.
..but for many of the rest of us, even though we are quite happy with the systems we’ve built, maybe our dream system, if financially possible, would be something other, or more, than what we now have. What components do you now have and (if finances and circumstances, within reason, was no factor) what components would you add or change, to build your dream system?
Jim, In my previous post I responded to the title of your topic and posted my dream cost-no-object system. Now having read your OP through, I get the intent of your topic, so in keeping with your caveat “if finances and circumstances, within reason, was no factor”, and again I had a dedicated, treated listening room to do it justice, this would be my dream system..

- Magico S5 Mk2’s + S Pods
- Vitus SS-103
- Vitus SL103
- Vitus SCD-025 Mk2
- Melco N1ZS/2A server transport
- Melco D100 optical drive
- Dōhmann Helix 2 tt
- Graham Phantom III 12” arm
- DS Audio Master 1 cart/EQ
- Gigawatt PC-4 Evo+ conditioner
- Massif Audio Designs Dogma rack & amp stand
- Jorma Prime + Statement cables

In addition to my main system, I would look to expand to a 5.1 HT System later on, incl..

- Magico S Sub
- Magico SCC (centre channel)
- Magico S1 Mk2’s
- Motorized projector screen
- 5.1 HT Processor
Thanks all for all the great input on what would make a realistically great dream system.
@tecknik There is a reason why megabuck systems have megabuck cabling.
I understand your point, but, as I am a realist and (to a point) a purest, I would have to listen for myself and, regardless of how much money I had to dump, or how much esoteric gleam and glitter the product, I'd still pick the cable that least got in the way of, or polished, everything else.
Your current system is nice indeed and who could argue with your, even more impressive, dream system.

@blueranger In reading this forum for years that word here would be Pass.
As in Nelson Pass/Pass Labs? If so, I have to agree that he has been one of the greats of the audio world, with a legendary line up of great equipment.

@inna A very nice line up. I deffinatly would put a Gryphon, Diablo-300, on my short list.

@melbguyone Thanks for your, always appreciated posts.
Yes, I think you did get the just of my original post. My thought, I guess: If I had a good bit more money to spend on a system (without being utterly ridiculous) what would make an incredibly good system - beyond the somewhat humble system that I now have.
A very nice line up of equipment that you have put together. I've never auditioned anything by Vitus, but it seems like an incredibly good lineup of equipment
Also have to agree with you and others - a bigger, better listening room would be high, maybe #1 on the list.

Thanks All...Jim

Some might say that I would be unable to get all the master dubs I would want. You know, money buys cooperation, presidency, presidents, governments and even smaller countries. I would get absolutely everything, and this would be safely delivered to my home, including speakers for audition.
I would probably start with Kharma, Lansche, Gryphon and JM Labs Grand Utopia and go from there if I had to.
I would have to add a cd player too, I guess. Well, this would not be particularly important to me, whatever sounds alright.
Thanks Jim for your kind words. I had a think about a lower budget (for me anyway) system if I had to sell of my current rig for any reason or hit leaner times which is simple, approachable & punches well above its weight ...

- Magico A3’s + S Pod feet
- Vitus RI-101 with the optional dac/streamer module which supports Airplay, Roon, MQA, Tidal, Spotify, etc.
- 2nd hand Reimyo CDP-777 as transport (dac out to the Vitus)
- PAD Neptune series cables
- Shun Mook and Stillpoints iso feet
- Taoc ASR Series II racks + upgraded Finite Elemente Cerabase Classic feet
- Gigawatt PC-3 SE Evo conditioner

(Add later on, or in lieu of a cdp)...

- Melco N1ZS/2A server transport
- Melco D100 optical drive

You could actually start with just the A3’s, Vitus integrated, cables and racks & stream roon, Tidal etc, then add a cd/streamer transport and/or tt later on. I’m told Vitus are working on an optional phono module for the RI-101 which provides an upgrade path. Lol, It’s fun spending other people’s money! 😄
I'm good.
Main system is Audio Research pre-amp, Bel Canto Class D amps, OHM Walsh speakers, and several very good quality analog and digital sources.

jond 05-13-2018 8:45am
3,120 posts

I think some lovely restored Western Electric gear would work nicely. And field coil open baffle speakers. And a new bigger room for them!
That would be a lot of fun @jond .Did you catch the rare Model 12A & 13A WE speakers at Munich a few years ago from Michael Chung’s private collection?
If cost was no object then..time.. would also have to be added to the package.

As I’d have to be involved in the design of all of it, at all levels. The individual resistive materials need a re-design, and capacitors in all complex physics minutiae, and even the wire itself, and the dielectrics would need a complete re-vamp. Every inch of it.

Then we can get to circuit topology and implementation, all new there as well. And...New cone material designs, new speaker motor designs, and so on.

So much design ideas, so little life available...
@melbguyone No I didn't but that sounds amazing I'm in the US and never been to Munich. My local dealer Deja Vu Audio builds field coil speakers and amps and preamps from vintage WE parts. Also my friend has a pair of the big Shindo field coils, Lafite's maybe? Field coil horn speakers for me are the most lifelike I've heard overall.
@jond I could see Shindo being a great match with repro WE horns. Though the larger models need a big room and tall ceiling to get the best from them. Hence in most real world home situations, I prefer cones & domes and line arrays which are easier to integrate. In larger rooms, panel speakers like refurbed Apogees and Maggies can also come into their own with ’nuff watts.
@melbguyone; @jond Some of the old WE Horns, as I remember, truly were very large and interesting speakers - that presented a large as life stage. I listened to them in a very large room and it was quite evident they could fill and might require, a huge amount of space to do them justice.
In my travels, I also had the opportunity to auditioned a pair of Apogee Divas and the bit smaller Duetta Sigs. and fell in love with both. like the WE Horns, the Divas demanded a very large room and (unlike the WEs) required a serious amount of power. The Duettas Sigs require somewhat less space than the Divas or the WEs and were a bit less demanding of power than the Divas. After a long session of listening to a variety of good music, It seemed the Duetta Sigs did everything right and were very musical and presented a huge and convincing stage. Defiantly still, a speaker very high on my wish list.
For now, I am seriously considering (for the listening area I now have - 14’w x 24’d x 10’ cathedral ceiling with a 10’w x 14’d dining are, open to the left) upgrading from my Maggie 1.7s to the Maggie 3.7is. My Rogue, Cronus Mag. II, has no problem driving the 1.7s but may have to make a serious upgrade in power for the 3.7s. Until I can afford the upgrade - I might have to fall back on my trusty old ADCOM....Jim
@melbguyone I am with you there as much as I admire the big horns my 800 sq foot condo would be not be the place to own them! Cones and domes here too in the form of some Audio Note AN-Js.
@jhills Yes the WE horns and reproductions can be rather enormous for sure the saving grace being they are usually open baffle. And never heard Apogees myself I've certainly heard Maggie's but it's been some years. And yes I would think you would need more power for 3.7s for sure.
Before I would drop any component into a room, I would focus on the design of the room, getting the acoustics set up correctly for handling an assortment of different speaker systems. And then there is the power requirements. Probably a 100-Amp service of balanced and filtered power at decent-source outlets.
I'm not sure about anything else, but I'm pretty sure Maggie 30.7s would be there.
@secretguy I am with you on the Maggie 30.7s.
I now have the little 1.7s, that I am very happy with. When finances allow, I am planning an upgrade to the 3.7i, but the 30.7s along with an adequate listening room and some nice gear to run them, is at the top of my dream list...Jim
If cost were no object I would build a large concert room addition on my home and hire professional musicians to play regularly. Classical, Jazz, Rock, whatever.

HA! No one thought of that!
I did, I was thinking I'd just book the worlds best String Quartets  for a week at a time .
@1extreme I don’t know if my head and ears could handle the shear volume of a live rock band anymore, but wouldn’t mind trying for a while. light Pop, Classic Chamber and Jazz, I think I could handle.

@schubert Live String Quartets, I could handle for sure.
Sometime back, in the area where we lived, was a large, very old, Catholic Cathedral, with some of the most wonderful acoustics I’ve ever heard. About twice a month, the Community and Local Catholic Diocese would invite String Quartets or small Chamber Orchestras, from around the North West and Canada, to come and perform at the Cathedral. Definitely, some of the most memorable and beautiful, small venue, live acoustic performances I’ve heard......Jim