Sound System on $10K Budget

All, sorry if this has been asked a million times before. I am looking to build a home audio system from scratch and want to keep it under $10K. I have no idea where to start, and scrolling through this forum has just made me more overwhelmed. For context, I have a headphone setup (Meze Empyrean and HD 800S and a Vioelectric V280/1). Unfortunately, I haven't used the system in over a year--I find it too difficult given all the wires, turning my desktop on, etc. As such, I am looking to put in a home audio system that I can more casually listen to as I work, cook, etc.

The room I am putting the system in is 34 x 20 with 12 foot ceilings. I am looking for a system that is just all around good (jack of all trades master of none) given the budget. I will not be doing any room treatments, etc (not worth the marginal benefit and I am not looking for perfection here). The system will be used daily for TV and for music. As far as genres, I really like everything, but skew towards alternative/indie/pop/rock. I am guessing I will want a sub, but I have no idea and am flexible. I was thinking two loudspeakers, but I am flexible.

FWIW, I don't really believe in expensive cables and think it is a waste of the budget at this price point, but I am open to other opinions. I am open to buying used equipment (I actually prefer used equipment--I believe quality audio equipment should last forever). Overall goal is simplicity + all around good. 


For my $10k:

Focal Kanta No2 – used $6500ish

Naim Uniti Atom — used $2500ish


couple hundred bucks for shipping, cables, and an HDMI cable to connect eARC from the TV. A bit left over for a budget TT or CD transport if you want the option or a mu-so qb in another non-critical listening space.


Super simple, good synergy since Naim & Focal are voiced for each other, built-in streaming via a highly regarded app, and also beautiful to look at since it’s a multipurpose space… plus the option for multi-room audio.

Cornwall IV....Denefrips Ares II DAC Willsenton R8 Integrated with KT 88's...CEC belt driven cd transport ...Blue node 2....U Turn audio turntable with Ortofon Blue 2.

Thank you so much for the help here everyone!

As an update, I am currently leaning towards Sonus Faber Olympica IIIs (possibly the Nova version). Unfortunately, the speakers blow through most of the budget, but they look and sounds beautiful, so I think its worth it.

Now, I am looking into what integrated amp to go with. Ideally one that has a headphone output so I can sell my headphone amp + dac, which gets almost no use.

Congrats on the speaker choice. They are definitely beautiful and should serve you very well. Given your focus on simplicity and use with TV, I’d reiterate that having HDMI connectivity would be nice to allow you to minimize remotes and cabling requirements/clutter. Depending on how much budget actually remains (guessing $2-3k), the Naim uniti atom I mentioned before may still fit the bill for used options. If you can wait a bit, the new NAD c399 is now available for pre-order. It has HDMI as well (available via a separate module on earlier c368/388 models) but perhaps more importantly also has Dirac room correction (I don’t believe the earlier models have Dirac but I could be wrong). It is available with their Blu-OS module if you want streaming built-in or without it if you don’t. Both the Naim & NAD have headphone amps built-in…not sure how good they are, but if you aren’t using your current headphone amp almost at all then they are probably good enough.


I doubt anyone would fault you at all for choosing a Parasound Hint6 or whatever you can afford from Hegel if you decide you don’t care about having HDMI. Both would be highly regarded and have good resale value if they turn out not to be your cup of tea.