What is Your End Game System?

How do you "measure" your end game system? Is it by budget, how much it cost? Is it by the luxuriousness of your build and room?

Is it by your components being either state of the art or unobtanium? Is it by the satisfaction you get when you are sitting in your listening chair?

What is your end game system and how do you know when you have reached it?


In a rapidly evolving technology environment there is no discernible end game: rapid advances in streamer and dac design, class d amplifiers and room correction, who knows what the state of the art will be in 3 years‘ time?

I'd gauge system performance by enjoyment level. Definitely not cost.  Does it make you  happy, check all your boxes, and hold your attention every time you listen?  

My endgame is a pure tube analog system. Much like the one I have, but maybe downscaled in some years time. I try to get everything right in terms of sound in the room without digital correction.

End game?

We don’t need no steenkin end game!

The end will come soon enough.

What is interesting to me is some of these replies helps me look at different "goal posts". I agree with the end game is an internal or subjective experience. An end game home theater is different than an end game headphone rig.

I don’t have and never tried an all tube analog system, after reading that post by @o_holter now I want one, is that strange?

I had a desktop system comprising JBL 230 speakers, nice, but not an end game speaker. What I lusted for were Gallo Strada II speakers on custom Mapleshade stands. I decided to change the amp I was using on the speakers from a Parasound Zamp to a classic Carver AV505 amp that had more power. WOW! The soundstage blew out from left to right and floor to ceiling. Then I see the Gallo speakers on Audiogon with the stands at a great price. I was about to pull the trigger but couldn’t because I was enjoying the current setup so much. I don’t know that it is "end game" but certainly good enough that I didn’t want to change anything.

my end game system is in my listening room now

it is my end game, at least till tomorrow  🤣

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I have never really had the idea of end game. I would go through an upgrade cycle about every seven years and reach as higher a level as possible. It wasn’t until near retirement I thought I should upgrade one last time before retiring. Which I did. But a couple years after retiring I was fortunate enough to upgrade again, doubling my investment and enormously improving the sound. I am very happy.


Will I upgrade again? I don’t know. Ask me in five years… if I’m still kicking.



My listening satisfaction reached almost capacity when I upgraded my room treatments (with the help of Anthony Grimani, Wilhelm Van Balen and The Dubstage studio owners) and upgraded my room correction to the Pro version of Audyssey. Since then it just seems right to my ears. Not "perfect" but just right.
I am curious about an all analog tube based system, also about getting a McIntosh streamer but not because I am not satisfied with what I have now. 

Amir and the kids at ASR have not told me what my end game system is yet.

Kidding quite content for now and if I die before I wake....darn happy with what I had. 

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My office system, for a small room, is now done after about cycling through 10 amps, 4 preamps, 6 DACs, 2 speakers in the last 2 years. I listen to this system all day while I ’work’:

- Magnum Dynalab 108T tuner

- Accuphase T-101 tuner (modded)

- Musetec 005 DAC

- Sony SCD-1 SACD player modified by Vacuum State to Level 5+

- Benchmark LA4 preamp

- Benchmark AHB2 mono amps

- KEF LS50 Meta + KEF KC62 sub

- Audience FrontRow speaker cables, Audience Au24 SE RCA and XLR, and Benchmark XLR between preamp and amp

I know this is end game in the office, because it sounds the best to me compared to all the other gear I had in there. Almost all the other gear cost more money.


In my office I have a great headphone system. I am done for now. If RAAL comes up with something better in the next decade I will upgrade to that.

- RAAL SR1a earphone and CA-1a headphone

- RAAL VM-1a headphone amp

- Benchmark DAC3B

This is end game because it is incredible sounding. I am not a headphone expert, but I think I have the best headphones and amp at ANY price. The comparison is based on the comments on Head-fi on the RAAL vs other TOTL headphones.


My Livingroom system is also done but not completely purchased. The only thing I have for that so far is the Musetec 005 DAC. Everything else is figured out but either too expensive or not yet released.


I have my end game system now already it consists of:

Sim audio p8 preamp, Sim audio w8 amp, esoteric P10 transport, Wyred4sound 10th anniversary dac, monitor audio platinum 200 ll, speaker cables are Neotech the Amazon, rectangular OCC single crystal wire, interconnects are the Amazon rectangular OCC single crystal wire, digital cable is Harmonic Tech magic lll OCC copper and OCC silver, power cables are all harmonic Tech pro 10, will be upgrading to neotech the Amazon.

I got into the game pretty late so I went for my endgame on the first try. I am loving my system and feel I won’t need any major changes. Happy listening!




@rpeluso @urbie @yyzsantabarbara for sharing the details of your end game systems. I can see how all of you squeezed every last ounce of performance by the details you posted. It wasn’t a simple "plug and done" off the shelf approach. Much testing and retesting went into it.

If any of you knew when you began your build what you know now, what advice would you have for others who are either starting a build or in the middle of one?


My system is listed on my page if you would like to see it. My room was designed by Jeff at hdacoustics. I built the room while my speakers were being built. I have Rockport Avior ii speakers and the Boulder 866 integrated amp. I stream only and have the new node with a Teddy Pardo LPS. Jeff did an amazing job on the design and I highly recommend him for anyone considering building their own room. The system sounds fantastic to me and I love discovering new music on Qobuz. 

@ronboco , wow, you have my respect, talk about passion for a build. You are like the "iron chef" of system building. What advice would you want to share for someone just starting out?


Thank you for the kind words. The things that helped me the most with deciding what to get were how what I bought was talked about on here and the WBF forums. It’s hard to trust a reviewer who is only going to tell you how great something is. Audition everything if you can. Also try to find a dealer who knows their stuff and really cares about advising what is best for your situation. 


My end game system listed under my moniker. I started out with a hybrid system but in the end it got too much to maintain so I switched to a 2 channel system about 4 years ago. 

I don’t see your system here, would you be posting your system soon? 

@lalitk , thanks for asking, YES, I'll post it over the week end, thanks for asking.

I have a home theater, a man cave system, and a desktop. I also use DTS Play-Fi for multi zone audio in other rooms.

Hello kota1.


I listen to a wide variety of music here, as I suspect is true for many/most people who appreciate great sound reproduction.  The only genre I can think of that so far has not been one I find enjoyable is jazz.  I know many here and around the world love it, and I'm happy they do, but I was never able to connect, with very few exceptions.  

@kota1 I learned that I can fit any speaker (within reason) into a small room. Though you will not get 100% of that speakers ability to shine, as in a bigger room.

So a big speaker can be fit into a small room without fatigue. It took room treatments placed in certain spots, and DSP using Convolution filters. Later on, I managed to remove the Convolution filters and rely only on the treatments.

I also learned that most DACs are satisfying to my ears. My price limit on a DAC is around $3K now. Though for my Livingroom I am considering a preamp with DAC that cost a bit more, just for convenience sake since it would eliminate about 4 boxes. In the Livingroom this is more of an issue

I like Class A or Class A like (Benchmark AHB2) amps more than anything else. Amps do sound different.

Gear supporting the AES48 standard save me on expensive consumer XLR interconnects. In my case the 15 foot XLR connection between the Benchmark LA4 and AHB2.

Try to remove large reflective surfaces from in-between the speakers. Adding a bookshelf with books behind my speakers helped me in my small room (a bit surprised at that).

Convolution filters are pretty amazing and my safety net for my Livingroom if I have to move my KEF Blade 2 (future speaker) too close to the front wall. I have no concerns now about placement of that difficult to place speaker.

Fibre optical cable is the best for streaming. If you use that even a cheap computer can work as a music server. The best part is you can place the music server many rooms away from the audio gear. I use ROON and nothing else., though JRiver is a viable option for all the things I do or may do (Convolution). Adding a cheap FMC in front of the Fibre cable improved the sound slightly though not essential.

BTW - this is a smart question to ask. 

@yyzsantabarbara , this is a very interesting answer, I am starting to see that end game systems posted here seem constructed with great attention detail, like yours. Thanks for the tip about fiber optic cables, I am using HDMI and will try it :).

One last point. My FM tuners pickup my 2 radio stations with way better  quality than the streams of the same stations. It is not even close.

“Fibre optical cable is the best for streaming.”

I chuckle when someone slips in the absolutes so casually. We all have unique systems, there is no ‘best’ universal cable solution for streaming.

@lalitk , that is a true statement and you can see it in the systems posted here, all seem to be a result of meticulous comparisons and testing.

I'm pretty happy with where I'm currently sitting, thanks. 

Not sure there is an end-game, if simply because gear gets old or breaks and needs to be replaced. Sometimes it's cheaper just to replace something, or if parts are no longer available, that sort of thing....It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen.

@lalitk I was referring to your comment about all of us having unique systems, not cables :)

I added my 9.2.7 home theater system to my profile if anyone is interested.

my end game system = where i want to be. and i’m close right now. you can view my system page


although the pics and descriptions are not entirely up to date. the turntables are correct, but not the arms and cartridges. also; there will be different but same brand speakers, and the new ones will be triple towers, not twin towers. been waiting almost 3 years now with COVID for the new speakers.

i will be retiring in the next 4-6 months, so this is truly.....the.....actual....end.

i do also have a separate 9.3.6 Trinnov based Home Theater. here are some pics.....2-channel room above is in my barn. this Home Theater is in my main house.





Looked to see your system… no photos. Photos really convey lot more than the list of components. Hope you will consider showing your system. Thanks.


Well, when you retire you have something to look forward to. I can’t tell you how much joy my system has brought me since retirement. Having time to really immerse yourself and not have to end your sessions because of other responsibilities.

Beautiful system you have there.

I guess current state is end state until it isn’t for me. 

The last two years I have reignited my love of music and in doing so upgraded beyond my expectations. Could I upgrade again- I don’t know if I can permit myself to spend the money without guilt. It sounds great and so many other good uses for cash right now given prices and supply chain challenges. 

My end game system? Likely will never truly exist. Same as a perfect anything in life will never exist. That's why we live and keep trying to reach perfectionbut to no avail. However I absolutely love my imperfect system! 

@lalitk All comments are pertaining to my findings. I am not speaking of a general consensus. We all hear differently.

Though to my ears the Fibre Optical cable was the biggest improvement in my streaming setup. Adding a FMC in front of the Fibre also had a minor improvement. I would not even consider streaming without Fibre, such as RJ45 Ethernet input on DACs.

Both of these streaming options were from the posts by the designer of the Ethergen and OpticalRendu. It turned out from what he suggested the improvements on my rig were easy to hear.



I have not gotten much into headphones but enthusiasts build end game system in headphone rigs too.

How do you "measure" your end game system?

We a microphone and measurement would be one way.
Certainly for doing room treatments. And sometimes for ferreting out ground loops and wiring dramas.


Is it by budget, how much it cost? Is it by the luxuriousness of your build and room?

Some luxuriousness helps. Some people do not have a purpose built room, but cabling things up and attention to wiring and moving away from a rats nest can usually help for not much $.


Is it by your components being either state of the art or unobtanium? Is it by the satisfaction you get when you are sitting in your listening chair?

The later for sure.
But having a state of the art system (or part of a system) is not a bad thing.


What is your end game system and how do you know when you have reached it?

I thought I had an endgame system in the 80s, and replaced part of it in ‘99.
Then replaced part in 2022.

If one puts it together somewhat thoughtfully then it should either be pretty quickly apparent that it sucks, or it should be able to provide years of enjoyment.

There is little sense in replacing it all willy-nilly if it continues to make good sound.
There are meals, trips, etc that can all make use of funds, so “perfection” can be the enemy of “good enough”.

@ghdprentice , photos posted, thanks for asking. I'll see if I can post some frequency response measurements too later.

@holmz , great point about putting it together thoughtfully. When I initially invested in higher end gear I bought what I felt was the best fit for my needs because I new it would likely be a lifetime investment. I have made two major upgrades since being in this hobby. One was going from surround sound to immersive audio and investing in a new processor and height channels. The next was when I upgraded my room treatments for a new listening room. Buy once, cry once as they say :).

I'll see if I can upload my measurements in my profile later.

@mikelavigne , OMG, your system makes the systems at CEDIA seem entry level. I noticed you use Auralex T-fusors in the front, did you fill them with rockwool of polyfil? I use the Geofusors on the ceiling You must get room service all the time because I would not want to leave that room once I sit down. Your vinyl collection is incredible. The Equitech power panel is inspiring, might as well treat the source right?

What would you have done differently when you started your journey if you knew then what you know now? Any advice for those starting their end game build?