$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.


Reviewing this string it dawned on me, if I was to do over from scratch I would actively find a Shindo system and see if that would inspire my choice of direction. I have never heard one, but always have wanted to. 

Yah room is important  but maybe you can't do anything to the room.  Obviously, you had the Harbeth in the old system, and that worked out fine.  I have been in your shoes twice in the last 4 years.  I did travel around the country to visit areas where there are a lot of dealers and also attend shows.  

The main priority is finding a speaker that you really love and it will probably be different than Harbeth.  You are probably going to be looking at speakers in the $20-35k price range.  All of the other components are a piece of cake after the speakers.  If you find a speaker you really like, see if any are available on the used market.

I once bought amps before a speaker.  What a major mistake.  I ended up having to sell the amps and never played them.  Buy speakers first.  

Is Soul Note making the world’s best sounding gear on the Planet now ? 🤔


 If you can't afford this Soul Note Reference System they just came out with the new Soul Note A3 Integrated amp.. Major-Breakthrough for Integrated amps 


Magico, Rockport, Vinberg (some great reviews) 

@bobfun - at AXPONA 2022 last year, I demoed the Magico A5 and the Rockport Atria II to help finalize my final speaker purchase.  The Magico’s had better treble highs but the Rockport sounded more together but less forward.  I heard the Vimberg Minos which sounded fantastic, but it had the diamond tweeter upgrade which added $10k so I assumed it was out of my budget.  After the show, I spoke to my dealer Chris at Artisan Fidelity and told him about these 3 speakers, so a few back and forth raising my budget and lowering the price until a deal was reached. So I’m a proud owner of the Vimberg Mino D. 


I’m at the THE Show in Los Angeles and plan to go to the Pacific Audio Fest in a couple of weeks.  I suggest that you attend High-end audio shows to see and hear what YOU like.  I like Magico and YG speakers, but Wilson speakers never resonated with me…yet.   Speakers sound different so it’s best you hear first hand.

The largest North American show EXPONA just past, but there are a few other shows.

DarTzeel LHC-208 integrated amp together with Stenheim 03 speakers will give you an organic sound you will be very happy with.

I have to say, I do agree with gavman about Macintosh.