$50k - $80k Budget…Opinions please.

Long story short, I sold my beloved 2-channel to reduce family debt. In about a year-ish, I’ll be in a position to rebuild with a hefty budget. I loved my Harbeth + Pass Labs combo. My REL sub died before I really got to integrate it, so opinions wanted there as well. I fully understand the diminishing margin of returns when moving into some arenas, but that’s ok, opinions are strongly encouraged.

I listen to a lot of Miles Davis/Coltrane, Radiohead, Tool, Pearl Jam, Brent Cobb. I’ve often preferred “organic” or neutral, not sure how technical that is.


I’d spend most of my time and budget on the finest pair of speakers that floats my boat and works with my room and whatever treatments it will have. Then would pursue proper amplification for them with the features you want. It’s too subjective and proprietary to your situation to make specific recommendations, but odds are good it’ll be brands that the main stream aren’t overly familiar with. I'm partial to good tube electronics and/or tube/SS hybrid bi-amp situations, and great midrange with clarity and convincing soundstage...your tastes may vary, but there's no reason to settle for anything you don't love. 

Select music sources and cabling that will play well with the speakers and amplification, and that you’ll be happy using.

You’re smart to be planning in advance.

With that budget you need to demo. If you want to buy new and could find a dealer that you could buy everything from I bet you could get a Substantial discount. 

Them prices I would be looking at Higher end Focals but that’s just my tastes. 

@toddcowles I never would have guessed that there’s another soul on this planet who loves both Radiohead and Brent Cobb…good luck w your system!

Heart of the System:

Vintage Tube Tuner Preamp McIntosh mx-110z.

No matter what budget, what system, if mine was stolen, I would order a  replacement immediately, send it to Audio Classics, have them get it back to specs (not upgrade), and have them replace all the old rca jacks with new gold plated ones like they did to mine. I'm a fan of original lighting, not new LED.

McIntosh Mode Switch gives versatility, Mono Mode, other functions I particularly need it for balancing my speakers that have L=Pads for mid horn and tweeter horn. 

here's one, all the text is in good shape front and rear. 


Wait for a great unit, no need to settle in your budget.

I would have seller pull it out of the case to see condition of parts and deck, to confirm not kept in damp location.

This is what convinced me to try it:


Most people have never heard a wonderful FM tuner. This one needs a strong signal, I have a dedicated antenna in the attic right above it, aimed at WBGO Jazz station. Everything they say about it is true, Richard Modaffari said there is NOTHING he could do to improve it.


MM Phone stage (2) sounds great, I use a SUT for MC into it. Tape LOOP, ....

I solved remote control volume with a more modern integrated amp.


You should start here or somewhere similar. Listen to systems and decide what speakers you want on your short list. After you make that decision you can do some additional listening. After that I would work on arranging some home demonstrations