Help me spend $100,000 on a new system

I’ve recently been considering moving and downsizing my home. While exploring how much I might sell my house and land for, I was shocked that I might have an excess of $100,000 after selling and buying a smaller new home with less acreage. I’m 71 years old and can’t take it with me, so I’m trying to figure out how to spend that potential resource.

One possibility would be to purchase a new stereo system with all that cash. I would like to demo a system costing that much to see what sound quality you could get for a stupendous amount like that. But I don’t have any idea what brand/model components to look at. Perhaps you could suggest components you might consider if you were setting up a system at that price point. Also how would you budget the total amount per component including wiring.

I am not interested in adding streaming or anything else I might not already have to the system. I would be open to buying separates to replace any single component such as the integrated amplifier. Maybe a separate DAC, phono stage, preamp etc. Please tell me what you would do.

Following are the components I already have to upgrade. My system consists of Magico A3 speakers, a Luxman 507uX MK2 integrated amp, a Marantz Ruby KI CD/SACD player, A VPI Classic 2 turntable with a Fatboy tonearm and a Lyra Kleos cartridge. Wiring consists of Audioquest Rocket 88 speaker cables, and VPI house brand wires that connect to the tonearm. I forget the brands of the other wires and cables, but they are of similar quality to the above.

I also have a Shunyata Hydra Denali 4000 power conditioner with a Venom power cord (I think) that I will continue to use without upgrading.

I would welcome any of your suggestions and utilize them next time I go up to Washington DC to visit dealer showrooms for demos. Thank you much.

It does sound weird to consider spending that much on a system costing over three times what I paid for my first home, so I hope I’m not sounding uppity here.





Hi Mike,

What an exciting project!

Since you already have an elaborate system, I assume you have a good understanding of the kind of sound you like for the kind of music you listen to.

Perhaps you could triangulate from the sound of your current system. If you could imagine your system doing something different or sounding a different way, how would you like to improve it? How would you describe what it is not doing that you would like to do? How do you imagine improving its sound in concept?

ronres, it’s hard to state conceptually what I’d like to accomplish. What I can do is listen to some of the higher priced equipment some of you are suggesting and then figure out how and why it is sounding better or not. then figure out if the improvement in sound is worth the financial outlay. I haven’t heard a lot of higher end systems, but do know some sound more three dimensional, almost in person live and that’s a direction to move towards. Dealing with room size, design and acoustics will push me in that direction as well as buying better recorded CD’s and records.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

bobby phischer, I’ll look into the brands you recommend. I did start my audi0phile journey with JBL speakers, their original (now reissued) Century 100’s if I’m remembering the model correctly

laoman, I’ll look up the Parasound JC3 phono stage you recommend. Thanks.

macg19. I’ll definitely pursue synergistic equipment as a number of you have suggested, and can hopefully avoid expensive mistakes by asking advice and careful research.

inna, some more excellent advice from you, thanks. I usually avoid used, but it’s hard to imagine how cables could be misused, so probably a safe bet there outside of possibly getting fakes. $25 -$40,00 sounds like a pretty good price range for speakers to demo. I agree with your idea of seeking brand names with a good track record, especially thosr that have been around a while, and not too esoteric.

mapman, I’ll look up those MBL Omnis, as well as the KEF’s and Ohms you mentioned. Thanks

terry9, I love DIY, but am afraid of getting in over my head with audio gear, and auto mechanics for that matter. I wish they taught those subjects when I was school age. I will hang onto to those cables as you suggested earlier.

crustycool, I’ll check ino omnidirectional and dipole speakers as you suggest. Any particular models you might recommend looking into? I would like a bigger room next time than my current 14 x 28 with 12/12 pitch cathedral ceilings, so yours is a good idea in that regard.

loomisjohnson, at 71 I’m also not into the saving for the future approach either, or avoiding risk taking. At age 71 the future is now, so why not go for it. A high end DAC sounds like a good idea. Any suggestions in that regard. 

Again, thanks all for every ones replies,



Mike, to clarify, laoman wasn't recommending the Parasound JC3 phono stage, quite the opposite.

Personally, I use the Goldnote PH10 with their PSU 10 linear power supply which I think is very good for around $3K and will run pretty much any MC/MM cart. It has balanced XLR outputs which I was only recently able to utilize with my new BAT VK 3500 and the difference between RCA and XLR was significant (I a/b tested exactly the same brand/model of cable in both RCA and XLR).


FWIW I have been told by several high-end audio dealers that I would have to spend roughly double to beat the Goldnote. Others here may have a different opinion of course.

@mahgister I always enjoy your posts and find them insightful.

@skyscraper Congrats. It is hard for others to build your system because it depends on the type of sound you like and the music you listen to. Big money can be spent on a system that does not pair well with your music style or taste for sound profile.  There is great advice in this thread. I would spend some on improving your room both the acoustics and just to make it a place you really enjoy being. I am fighting my room right now even though I have spent a good bit of money on components.  My next spend will be on room treatment. Plus, for me, part of the enjoyment is being in a clean, comforting, relaxing space.

I would not start from scratch, but swap out a few things. I would also hold some money back for upgrades down the road to improve the sound or mix it up. I also encourage you to try streaming. It opens up such a vast amount of new tracks, again, part of the fun at least for me.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

but do know some sound more three dimensional, almost in person live

@skyscraper , if I had the financial where with all, this would be my goal also.

As it is, I know my limitations, and for that reason have never tried to listen to anything that I knew I couldn't have.  I am not saying that logic is good for everyone, but I know myself, so I know that hearing something that was approaching The Holy Grail would not be good for me.

Earlier in this thread I alluded to a work friend of mine who, going on 30 years ago, bought a pair of Cary 805s and some other gear.  I never went over to his place to listen to the system that he bought because I felt the need to be happy with what I had at the time.  But what he was always telling me was that "It is like being there."

And that is what I have always heard about the SET stuff, particularly the higher powered SET stuff, and for that reason, if I could afford to buy it, I think I would want to find a way to hear it in action.

On another note, getting into the later '90s, after I had made a few equipment upgrades, I bought some NOS tubes to retube the new stuff with from Andy at Vintage Tubes.  In the course of a few conversations via telephone, we wound  up discussing gear.  I remember him speaking almost orgasmically about what 200 watts of pure class A push pull power sounded like.  I remember him using the term "liquid fire" somewhere in that conversation.   Tht would also be something I would like to hear if I could afford to buy it.