Novice needs opinions for new system

Hi. I’m posting on Audiogon to tap into this community of extremely knowledgeable audiophiles. I’m hoping some of you will have a moment to give me some advice regarding transitioning my high-end equipment to something more suitable to my needs.  

Through a twist of fate, I own several high-end components that are outside my appreciation level. I do appreciate quality sound, but I don’t think I’m able to hear the nuances that I read about in the discussions.

My goal is to liquidate my current equipment and to buy a new or used system that will provide me with a reasonably great audio for music streaming, capturing my CD collection. Perhaps this is blasphemy but being able to tie my TV into the system would be a plus. But if not, I can upgrade that separately.  I’m also interested if high-quality headphones might be part of that system. (As a reference point, I have some Bose QC45 headphones that seem pretty good to me)

Currently I have a set of custom-built speakers that were originally over $20,000, and a Zanden 7000 300B single end point tube amplifier that was paired to the speakers, originally at the $10,000 price point. Sound is quite impressive (apparent to even me) but I don’t have the correct room to really enjoy it.  As an aside, I also have a Primaluna Prologue 5 amp and an Audio Mirror T-61 amp. Perhaps the T-61 or Primaluna would fit into my new system, but both are tube amps and I think I would like to go solid state.

As for the speakers, they are piano black gloss finish with exotic cocobolo wood horns midranges. The tweeters are Fostex – T5AMLII, midranges are JBL 2441s, and base are JBL 12” K120s in a heavy custom constructed box. The horn speakers are 8 ohms. Overall, the speakers have 107 dB sensitivity.


I’m thinking in the $2500 to $5000 range for the new system, depending on what I can sell my current equipment for. I’m looking forward to hearing your responses. Thanks.


You already have an amazing hi-end system! Custom speakers with JBL and Fostex  drivers! A Zanden tube amp! Plus a Primaluna and Audio Mirror tube amps! You would be the envy of many audiophiles! You haven't mentioned music sources? I suggest getting a CD player/transport, DAC and streamer. Don't sell what you already have!

Thanks. Yes, that's the point. I also had a Chord DAC and CD transport and sold them. I just don't have the proper space for the speakers so I can't really appreciate what they can do. So, I'm basically downgrading which is the opposite direction than most people. I think smaller quality speakers and a proper solid state streaming receiver with a decent built in DAC might be the ticket for me. I would like a way to capture my CD collection but then be done with CDs.

Thanks again for your response.

I recommend stopping. Time to think and carefully craft a new direction.

The way to great sounding systems for most of us is slow deliberate moves… carefully thought out.


You selling great equipment and buying budget stuff is not going to get you where it sounds like you want to go. 

I would start with only one thing in your mind. Find the best possible speakers that will be appropriate to your space. You want to take your time… audition many until you find ones that move you. Stand mounted can be incredible in smaller spaces… not cheap ones.


Once you get the speakers, then you break them in and slowly start considering the next step. Which piece is going to get you the best bang for the buck. 

I think what may end up happening is you will sell off your wonderful gear,and replace it with gear that does not sound as good as you are used to. You said yourself that your current system sounds great.  Step back,take a deep breath.   @ghdprentice is on the mark. Best of luck with your journey. 

My room is about 20x20. It's in the basement so ceilings are not high. I don't normally listen to loud music and even a modest amount of volume can be loud in the space. It seems that the speakers need to be used in a larger space so that their quality can be heard. 

Also, I'm not listening to music that often. My whole house is wired upstairs with speakers in most rooms (mostly built-ins) so that is the more likely scenario if I have music on. I'm going to move to streaming there as well. So, it seems to make sense to use the value I have in equipment to fund something that works for the space. Also, I don't even know what to do with the Prima Luna nor the Audio Mirror amps. 

So, I'm basically downgrading which is the opposite direction than most people. I think smaller quality speakers and a proper solid state streaming receiver with a decent built in DAC might be the ticket for me.

Get active speakers that have the entire system built in, I like the JBL 4329P or the Kef LS60:


Just wanted to say that I've always used my 2-channel music system for my TV's sound.... My gear is Holo May DAC, Herron Audio preamp, and MSB power amp into (currently) Fritz Carrera BE's.... 

Wow, I just checked out both speakers. Reviews were quite good. I'm not sure every audiophile would agree but I'm guessing they would work for me. They look so convenient. You can easily move them to different locations and just plug in and stream. I didn't even know you could accomplish that without a receiver/amp.

Both are fairly expensive, at least in my realm, but perhaps acceptable if they would provide the level of quality sound the reviewers suggest.  The Kefs were somewhat more expensive. They offer the advantage of being able to be useful as part of an AV system as opposed to just audio. 

Thank you for the suggestion. I'm going to think on this for a little while.  I also have to guess on the value of my speakers. Trying to figure out how to get an image in here. 

IMO it would cost two or three times more to build a system that is equivalent going with separates. Many online dealers have 30-60 day returns so you can audition them at home. I have speakers like this from Definitive Technology and Polk fom a few years ago. The JBL and Kef are MUCH better. As far as price you can certainly get speakers of those type for less from either JBL or Kef or other vendors as well.