$100K system build - % breakdown of spend

I know there are several such breakdowns all over the web, but each different in one way or another. Thanks in advance for anyone willing to lend thoughts here.

Assuming $100K to build a system (indifferent between new/used) with equal time spent and enjoyment from streaming and vinyl (for now leaving out other digital and other analog), does the following ballpark seem reasonable? If you’d bump something up, what would you bump down?

Speakers - $30K

Subs - $5K

Amp(s) - $20K

Preamp - $10K

TT, cartridge, arm, phono preamp - $10K

DAC - $5K

Streamer - $5K

Cables, Interconnects, Power Cords, Power Cond/Regen - $10K

Isolation Products, room treatments and system rack(s) - $5K


Leaving out for now fuses, contact enhancers and the like. 

Thanks again for any thoughts. 


I assume OP is using MSRP / new prices.  Which is fair.  But I would certainly consider used options for some of the gear.  In any event, I’ve been through a few system builds for two different rooms, and I have thoughts on his suggested speaker and analog ranges, as well as his expectations from ARC gear.  Feel free to PM me.  

I have never approached system building by budget allocation. I recommend instead that you get seat time in front of several different systems, of different types, to get a better sense of what kind of system (tube, stats, horns, big or low power, vinyl and all that comes with that if you want to go down the rabbit hole).

Although I hear differences in wire, I’d make that a less important factor for now. As others have said, you have to work with your room and maximize performance within it, given your objectives as well as the limitations of the room itself. Some people get way out ahead on room treatments- I use those too, but take a pretty minimalistic approach, using bass and corner traps, and rely on rugs and other things in the room and set up/placement to address acoustic issues to the extent I can.

Your sense of what sounds "right" will change with experience. Don’t limit yourself to demo discs of sonic spectaculars-- listen to "regular" source material.

My current system has been evolving since around 2006-7 starting with some good fundamentals that work well together (extremely sensitive speakers and SET power amps. This is all a matter of personal preference, and may not be the ideal for someone else’s ears).

But where an otherwise very good system was taken up a notch was simply a change in cartridge, a different power supply rectifier tube and other "small" differences that help "tune" the system to sound more lifelike to me in the overall combination of components in the room.

With so many variables, it is very hard to predict on paper how to "synergize" the combination of components, let alone allocate budget to each item of the combination as a theoretical way of predicting how it all comes together. That you must do by ear, and, if possible, with the help of a good dealer willing to visit your room and make some suggestions/help on placement, set up and dialing in.

This is not plug and play; it takes time for you to educate yourself about what’s out there and what combinations of equipment seem to make "magic" for you.

Treat it as a learning adventure. None of us is ever really "done" but much of the pleasure, to me, comes from learning and improving results over time.

@jrw1971 +1, particularly for amps, preamps & phonostages

@coys21 If I had that fun budget, would move some $ out of the the amp/preamp, keep the RELs for a while, and budget $20 for the tt + cartridge. At that level, may need a phono pre, but $5k w/b more than enough for that

I think one could hear the difference spending 2x on the analogue source without losing anything from the amp/preamp 

1) If were me, would start with the tt + cartridge

2) “One voice” on the electronics based just on my experience - amp/pre from same maker, ideally phono stage as well *IF* maker has a good phonostage. Just think this works better than mix & match

With one voice I can actually audition the electronics and know (roughly) what I am getting. The electronics were designed in relation to each other in the first instance.  Total guesswork / reliance on others if mix & match. (DAC can be its own thing - others will have better informed view of $5k dac vs. $10k dac, for example)

3) Amp vs Pre/Phono - to taste, but wouldn’t think twice if wound up at 50/50

A room that big opens up so many cool choices for speakers

Would be really interested in thoughts from others on the above - thank you

Tell us what you choose (and your process), and good luck!

Have a great day

Agree with @carlsbad in that I would be disappointed if I couldn't put together a satisfying system sans subs for 100k.

Having said that bump the speaker number as an exercise and see what you find, doesn't mean you have to spend it. Speakers are número uno in my book.

I have to ask:  Seems like you're in a rush to go forward with this upgrade...
wouldn't it be wiser to get to your new digs prior to any purchasing?



I suppose the benefit of subs depends on how low your speakers go, at any price. Granted, the Sonetto’s only go to 42 Hz, but I think the Rel’s (19 Hz) would be additive to many very nice speakers. They make an enormous difference in my room at high and low spl’s. Perhaps I have more to learn here. 

@jrw1971 - I’m definitely open to used gear. Like I said, the amounts I listed are mostly just to establish a relevant ‘neighborhood’ for comparison between/across components. Thanks for the offer re: add’l thoughts on ARC - may take you up on sending a PM. 

@barts - no hurry on my end. It may well be that I hold off on speakers and perhaps amps until I have some clarity on what the new space might look like. I feel fortunate in that my wife supports my efforts here, and am happy to make the tradeoff maintaining her interest at the expense of a dedicated room away from the rest of the house. New house will probably be a new build, so will have some thinking to do with combined living/audio space in mind. 

Perhaps nearer term I focus on dac/streamer additions. I totally appreciate the idea/recommendation that I try to hear as many different systems as possible in the meantime. Am hoping to hit axpona, for one.