Your greatest high end audio purchase!!!

My audiophile journey has extended to over 40 of adventurous sonic delight. Over the coarse of my over 40 year journey as an audiophile, like so my others, I cycled through a multitude of speakers, amps, cables, etc,. Now that I’m an old guy, I’ve pretty much settled on my "End-Game" audio system for the long haul, primarily because I simply love the way it sounds, and also because, at this juncture, I no longer have the will, nor do I have the desire to continue the crazy (but fun) merry-go-round of audio components in and out like I did in years past (my spouse and my wallet thank me). When I look back on all the high-speed audio gear that I’ve owned down through the years, and after giving it much insightful thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that, after everything was said and done, my beloved Revel Salon 2 speakers were my overall most pleasurable and greatest purchase of all. What was yours?


I think actually it was a small headphone amp. Bought from Hongkong back in 2009. Because it changed my mind, regarding hifi. I had invested in 'heavy' stuff, huge s-state amps, hard to drive speakers. Then I heard a Graaf OTL amp at a friend's place and was intrigued. And bought the headphone amp, also OTL, without having heard it. It sounded better than my main rig! So I sold the huge s-state and the power-hungry speakers, and bought OTL amps with matching sensitive speakers for my main rig. Have not looked back. 

My journey began in the early 80’s and I have been in this hobby about the same time as you, a little over 40 years. I am also at a point where I just don’t want or need anything else. I ended up accumulating more components than I can keep track of. They are either set up in one of six rooms or in a closet somewhere. From time to time, I’ll give something away to a nephew, who’s beginning to enjoy this hobby at the age of 14. Too bad I find his choice of music genres awful. Hopefully he’ll grow out of that.

If I had to choose one component it would be a pair of Acoustic Research AR9 speakers that I bought very early on, also in the 80’s. I have gone through and have many speakers, but those continue to be my favorite. I continue to enjoy music very often, but the stereo buying bug has for the most part gone away.

I did buy a DAC not too long ago and then ended up buying 3 more for other rooms once I realized how convenient streaming was.  Guilty as charged, but I had to "modernize"! 😎

Like you and many others, I began this quest in the early 80s with a receiver and decent speakers. Many amplifiers and speakers later, the hobby eventually led me to working with Merlin International speakers, and then a speaker business of my own.

After 4 or 5 years in business, and numerous speaker designs and builds later that were mostly value oriented, I made something more along the lines of a "best effort" speaker using Focal kevlar woofer and midbass drivers in a transmission line, and Seas tweeters with top shelf crossover components (including Convergent capacitors). I tweaked that design until I loved it ~ 1995. I thought they were really good then, but had no idea that I’d feel even more strongly about them 30+ years later. They’ve improved with every system upgrade and tweak I’ve made. After bi-amping the system with SS on the woofers, and tube monoblocks up top, all I want to do is listen now. 😎

Hopefully these links will work:



Upgrading my preamp, power amp, DAC, all gave me great improvement.

The one item which gave me the largest smiling OMG face was when I upgraded my speakers from  the Yamaha NS-1000 to the NS-2000.

I have two and I can't decide which was/is more influential. The first, which I no longer have but it lasted for over 30 years, was an Audio Research SP 10II back in the days when vinyl ruled. The second is my Silverline Bolero speakers acquired over 10 years ago. They have everything I need in a speaker, tone (especially), clarity, and looks as well. They have been in production now for at least 12 years and you rarely see them for sale so I think others must agree with me. :-) Getting a bit spendy though.

Can’t single out any one but here are the biggest winners for me, all current:

1) Ohm Walsh Speakers

2) KEF meta speakers

3) Roon

4) Cambridge Audio Evo 150

5) Room Equalization Wizard (REW) freeware (used with Roon DSP)

6) dbpoweramp for ripping CDs and Picard freeware to help with autotagging

7) Linn Axis turntable with Denon dl103R cartridge.

8) Audacity freeware to master analog vinyl converted to digital. This enables me to do my own digital mastering when converting vinyl to digital to then add to my digital music library and access via Roon.

9) Humminguru Ultrasonic record cleaner to get records spiffy clean before playing and typically also converting to digital.


Search my posts over the years and you should find I’ve elaborated on each of these at some point.

I hate to repeat from a recent post… but.


In 1978 I committed to a really great system and after reading popular stereo magazines (Stereo Review ((not a good source)) I bought the top rated Onkyo tape deck. It performed well, I thought. To get the very best out of it I had a technician align the heads for maximum performance. That destroyed the sound.. several iterations… never sounded good again.


I was in a high end store sharing my woes with a sales person and he said, “here, take this home and try it.” It was a first generation Nakamichi, wood around the outside, upright.. seven years old, weighed a ton. I was skeptical. I took it home, it was unbelievable. Comparing it to the original, in perfect working order Onkyo, the Onkyo sounded like a small plastic transistor radio vs real high fi equipment. It was a revelation, showed me what set apart audiophile (other than astronomical cost) from the rest and set me on my audiophile path for the next fifty years.

Interesting question, because my answer is not what I thought it would be.

When all is said and done, my choice would be the Sansui AU-9500 integrated I purchased back in the early 70's. The warm sound, the black faceplate and the sensual feel of the switches and knobs. They all combined to totally infatuate me at the time.

grislybutter: Unfortunately, I am not familiar with their subs, but those that you asked about are newer. Pretty much all of the AR stuff with a black finish came after the company was sold and are not anything like their earlier speakers in terms of quality or sound. (not even close)! Those subs may sound great, but like I said I have not heard them, and I would be very skeptical. I did try a pair of newer ARs once (black finish) and I was very disappointed. They ended up as a gift to one of my nephews. The fact that they now only make some crappy lamp shaped Bluetooth speakers is a good indication of how far they've sunk. See this link: Company:Acoustic Research - HandWiki

probably not high-end but my Marantz 2252B helped me restart my journey. Bought it for $150 in 2014 and sold for $850 7 years later to help me upgrade/get a newer amp. Loved it every minute and still miss it...

The AKG K340 headphone..

The Sansui alpha 607i...

Not ultra high end but certainly high end...

The Tannoy  dual gold concentric...near high end too ...


ghdprentice: The Nakamichi dragon was about as good as they got.  The only thing it was missing was Dolby HX pro, they only went up to Dolby C.
Now days one in descent condition is worth some $.  No wonder you liked the Nakamichi sound!  I had one but got rid of it after TDK stopped making the MA (metal bias) line of cassettes, those were the best.  I should have kept it and sold it now for a nice profit!    

I had a Pioneer SX-1250, Denon DP-59L, and Denon DL-103 when I was in grad school over 40 years ago.  Since then I've owned numerous receivers, integrated, preamps, power amps, turntables, cartridges, and speakers.  Guess what's in my listening room now?  Fully restored SX-1250, DP-59L, and a 103R in an Audio Musikraft lithium body.  My only modern components are a pair of Maggie 1.7i speakers and a pair of REL subs.  I'm happy.

Been at this since the eighties. Best high end audio purchase is kind of spurious.

The room. 

Bought our current property a few years back, and it's the first time I've ever had a fully dedicated space to listen. Inspired me so much that I upgraded the Focal Aria 948s To Sopra 3's, which sound wonderful in the space. I don't mind driving a 260k+ mile 21 year old Lexus Gx470 when I've got the room waiting for me at home to plant my ass in and listen. 


My Mother wanted me to start enjoy music. It was the mid-80s and my parents purchased me a pioneer system for my dorm. It was separates and it included a 5-disc CD player and Infinity speakers. A good starter set that put me on my journey in search of the lost chord. So, I would say that the Pioneer System was my greatest future investment. 

I was in the right place at the right time being only 2 hours away from a very special pair of VMPS RM40 BCSE speakers w/ bookmatched rosewood veneers and was THE pair of speakers Marty DeWulf of Bound For Sound had for a few years as his reference speakers to judge all others by.  This was just after Brian Cheney passed and John Casler was helping the Cheney family sell off all the VMPS speakers and parts so help their family.  They are among the finest speakers Brian ever made and I've now had them for about 9 years.  With a couple additions from Krissy, the 2 things I think they needed small improvement on--the loss of some highs as you stand up when listening and occasional bottoming out on loud and deep bass transients are now a moot point.  This version is 260 lbs of joy per channel but I'm a big guy and lifting my end with another on the other end and we have moved those up stairs and down several times.  I've had many different very good speakers to challenge them with, but I'm always amazed when I return to the 40's at how great they sound.  

A very close second would be the TRL DUDE preamp that I became the 3rd owner of several years ago.  I did 2 major tweaks to it which made it even more authoritative and the chassis more substantial.  When I got the first set of NOS hand picked tubes from Andy's Vintage in Michigan, they were the final addition making the DUDE really come to life.

The other piece was the Modwright Sony 5400 Signature Truth CD/SACD.  Dan Wright blessed me with this after I owned a MW Sony 9000 as the first great CD player I'd owned, and then a MW Sony 9100.  I've done several worthwhile tweaks to the 5400 which has transformed it into an even more super deck.



After 50+ years, I am beginning to think, it is my latest acquisition, from my friend Tim ( rawsonte ). Tim advertised a diy F4, the F4 being one of a hand full of Pass amps I have little experience with. Using my very much needed Usher P307A, it has allowed me to hear many recordings of mine, for the 1st time. Most things, good, but some things not so good. A new experience of listening. The window has been opened. Of course, I give credit to my particular pair of Lascalas, which without them, I could not be entertained. BTW, I owned AR9s. Nice speaker...but, to each his / her own........My best, MrD.

Legacy Focus Mains, Marquee Center, Phantom Surrounds, Deco Rears, And 4 Foundation Double Subs. with V*I5 and V*I2 Amps 

The Lyngdorf to process them works wonders 

A Complete MBL  audio system which I got 50% off when I owned a Audio store 

In  the U.K. By far the best I owned.

“Your greatest high end audio purchase!!!?”


Mine was low cost. It is the Audiogon forums…


Knowledge is power. 

Well I am going to answer this question a little differently. I too began my audio journey many years ago but taking a step back and thinking about significant audio equipment it was mostly technology and services....

1982-first CD player CDP101 made by Sony and bought in Germany

2000-Next was Limewire- and sharing music files and exploring music

2001-Next was Itunes and the Ipod- music on the go and downloads and more exploring music

2008-09-Next was Spotify and streaming music service- huge exploration of music

2014-15- Next was Tidal and CD. FLAC and MQA files- tremendous step up in SQ.

2024 -Both Tidal and Qobuz are my current favorite music streaming platforms

Biggest surprise to me was the re-discovery, re-manufacture and re-packaging of record albums and turntables. I never would have expected that in 1982-1990.





Without any reservation I can say purchase of Thiel 3.6 speakers and pairing it with a Mark Levinson 23.5 amp were the greatest purchases. Rest of the system was assembled around those two to fit my listening tastes. And I never looked back. For the kind of music I listen, these two do full justice by reproducing what's recorded in the medium whether it is an LP, CD, cassette, or the tuner.

I bought one of the last pairs of Joesph Audio Prospectives (first Generation) directly from Jeff.  I discovered I can’t afford the electronics to find out how good they are.  Other than upgrading to second generation (just to have) my end game speakers.  By the way Jeff built them from left over parts about 2 years after the gen 2’s were on the market.  Can’t say enough good things about Jeff and Joseph Audio!!!

Getting a pair of Ohm F speakers and powering them with a Ampzilla amp. Went through several preamps back then, so it was either a SP3a, an SP6 or a modded Hafler DH101. 

Buying my music culture rl-21 loudspeakers. The guy I bought them off wanted to buy them back for more than I paid. They are sublime. 

real simple: my greatest purchase ever that has followed me since the 80’s, given me the most audible pleasure, and is in my current setup with 17K speakers (and NOBODY will ever understand my answer) available on ebay for around $200. I own 3 of them just in case

                                                 1980’s Carver C9

Been doing this since the early 70’s. Those Revels are keepers IMO. 
my biggest expenses have been 4 custom audio rooms, a couple of them based on Rives Audio designs and 1 using feedback from Cardas, and copied 1 design from a hifi+ reviewer. Now, I’ve been downsizing, still expensive equipment, but not looking to upgrade any longer


I bought this from Wally at Underwood Hi Fi. Best decision I have made so far for my system. After 100 hours, this preamp had my jaw on the ground and my ears in Nirvana. I heard an element of separation, clarity, crispness, slam, speed and overall depth and presence that I never knew was capable on my system (see virtual system). This is one overbuilt, highly engineered piece of gear made in China that I would highly recommend.  

Late 90's pair of Totwm Mites best mini bookshelf speaker i ever owned.

2nd used pair of reference 3a L'integrale floorstanders still in use today

I started around 1968 when my neighbor allowed me to watch him build a Heathkit tube amp. From then on I was hooked. For a long time it was a Sony receiver and Dynaco A25s, then Wyetech labs pre and power amp with single driver Brentworth Labs speakers and a bunch of other stops along the way. But to answer the OP’s question it’s a tie between my DeVore 096s, my Backert Rhythm 1.4 and my dCS Bartok Apex. These have satisfied me from the day I got them. It’s a fantastic hobby to be sure!

Because speakers of quality equivalent to electronics cost so much more, for 20 years I was pumping high-end juice into old Henry Kloss Model 6s. When finally again in possession of a decent listening room, I upgraded to Wharfedale EVO-40s and at last heard definitively what I had known intuitively for two decades. Well, bliss didn't last long, for soon after I learned about streaming. Uh-oh. Quarter-century old Bryston amps and preamp couldn't handle the new tech. Today all components but TT, including Wharfedales, have been much upgraded. But I'd have to say those humble Wharfies provided the greatest revelation of my long but intermittent career in pursuit of high-end sonic reproduction. 

This an interesting post. A walk down memory lane. If I had to narrow it down to one, it would be the Dunlavy SC-V speakers. Had them over 20 years and still enjoy them now as much as the day I purchased them.

I came into a few bucks and upgraded just about everything. Got a pair of JBL XPL 140s fully restored. Lexicon LX7 and MC12, JBL 2241 in 8 foot home made box connected to Crown XLS 1500, Dirac room correction. Got it all connected to battery and inverter for clean AC. This is my end game system since I’m older than dirt. It sounds amazing.

Dunno how high end these purchases are, but they're definitely the most significant as far as my two-channel system goes:

Klipsch Cornwall IVs

Hana Umami Blue

No question for me- Schiit Yggdrasil GS DAC. Revolutionized my view of streaming audio and I have never looked back. Second after that was building my GAS Ampzilla- knocked the living crap out of my Sansui 2000x amplifier section. First taste of the high end…

Far from the most expensive amp I've ever owned, a Mcintosh integrated I purchased about three years ago is my pick of the litter. Made me jump right off the merry go round. There are certainly "better" amps out there, but this just checks all my boxes for a perfect everyday, all day system.  

My McIntosh XRT-28 speakers. I had pretty good equipment by then, but lower level speakers. I had a chance to get them for a good price and I never looked back. 6'5" of beautiful sound to my ears. 

These posts caused me to reflect on my audiophile journey.  I think my most exciting purchase was my first (you never forget your first) receiver,  the Concord CR-400 AM/FM "Quadrophonic" receiver from the late 70s.  I loved the blue and green display on the front and all the different settings - loudness, synthetic, etc. and the great weighting of the tuning knob.  At the time, I thought it sounded great paired with a set of Marantz speakers.  

I recently re-read my baby book that my mother kept and found a comment where she said that "he loves to play with the knobs on the hi-fi set."  I guess our love of gadgets and audio equipment is coded in us at birth.

I remember taking all of my audio gear to and from college every year.  I had floor standing speakers on wheels and a home built rack for all the equipment - Hafler pre and power amp (kits that I assembed), Dual turntable, Soundcraftsmen equalizer.  Seems crazy in retrospect that I lugged all that stuff around with me and took up half the dorm room with the equipment and empty boxes.  My roommates never complained.

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Acoustic room treatments is hands down my best purchase.  It makes EVERYTHING in the room sound better now and in the future! 

Best was a phono stage - a John Curl Vendetta that sounds better than anything else I have listened to (except a Herron VTPH-2 which was pretty much a tie).

Second best was a Sugano made Koetsu Urushi.

Third best were speakers - Wilson Maxx 2 (with a very different sort of runner up - Martin Logan CLS)