Friend needs advice for $8,000 system

My friend is starting out from scratch with an $8,000 budget. He listens to all sorts, but mainly indie rock. He's keen on the Magnepan .7 speakers and lives in a small apartment, so listening room about 4x3 metres. Don't worry about cables. We just need a power amp, a turntable, a cartridge, a phono stage, NOS tubes, and a DAC.

How do we achieve:

Truthful tonality/timbre

Truthful harmonics

Liquid sound



Soundstage Coherence

All for $8,000 new.


you want tubes, yet you are starting with inefficient speakers, only 86db/1w/m.

small room, won't need/allow much volume, however, the speakers are bass limited, and the bass it can do needs power, soooo you are starting out needing to spend too much of what is left on power, or, regret it later.

 Or, add a self powered sub, now or soon, and wire in a way that takes the bass demand away from the tube amp/mains.

I recommend a STEREO PAIR of directional subs, if you keep that in mind, and start out with one now, ok, just don't pick a non-directional one.

bass is directional, as pointed out by others here, the overtones add to the direction/location of bass instruments.

limited budget, limited start, don't try to get too much, get good stuff to start, add good stuff bit by bit.

"Sorry I should have mentioned the Magnepans are non-negotiable, so a $5,000 budget for everything else."

Magnepan .7 is ~$1,400 in US. Are they $3K where your friend lives?
I would go with a Parasound integrated it will give you everything for about $3K new.
I ran one with my Maggie 1.7i and the paring was musical magic. It has almost a tube like sound. That would leave about $2K for a t.t. and cartridge and there are lots of good choices in that price range.
I always buy gently used as you get lots more for your $$. If you go used on the amp you should have about 1K for a good sub.
Good luck.