Everyone has different performance expectations, required features, placement issues and other needs for a music or home theater system, so there is no perfect universal system. Even more important, the combination of components is very critical to getting a good result. One can easily select a good CD player, receiver, and pair of speakers, each in isolation, and have them perform poorly together. Even the choice in cables makes a difference. The system approach is the key. Here are a few rough starting points- a few favorites that we think really stand out. Please stop by and we can fill in the blanks or fine-tune something just right for you! Please note, prices do not include cables or custom installation where necessary.
Please read our note about audio systems vs. audio/video systems.
A word about audio systems vs. audio/video systems:
Most people come in the store today assuming they should get a surround sound system. This is probably because the media and most other stores bombard us with the wonderful abilities of surround sound. The truth is, unless you rent at least a couple of movies a week, you may be better off with a good stereo two-channel system.
Surround sound is only really useful for information that has been recorded in a surround format- which is primarily movies and some TV broadcasts, but not the vast majority of music on CDs, records, etc. You'll also get a higher quality sound from a two channel system than a five channel system for the same amount of money. This should be obvious, if you consider that you can spend x amount of dollars and allocate it over either two amplifier channels and two speakers, or five amplifier channels, five speakers, and additional processing. It's a bit like a single disc CD player vs. a CD changer. You'll generally get better sound for the same investment from a single disc player, since there's no requirement to spend part of the money on the additional mechanics and features of a changer.
In fact, many people find that they are happier with the sound of their movies played back through a superior two channel system than a lesser multi-channel system. Plus they get better performance for their music listening. We think this is something that you should consider. Of course, we do sell both the best possible home stereo systems and multi-channel audio/video systems.
A Fine Starting Point
NAD D 3020 hybrid digital integrated amplifier
PSB Alpha B1 bookshelf speakers
Total price: less than $700
This is a terrific entry level system that's perfect if you have a digital music library on your laptop or phone. You can stream your music library via Bluetooth to the D 3020, or connect a computer and other devices via the digital inputs. There's a built in headphone amp, and handy wireless remote. For the money you would spend at an electronics mega store, you can have a system that actually sounds good. If you have a tight budget but want something that performs, give this a listen. You'll be pleasantly surprised. (If you still spin compact discs, just add the NAD C516 CD player for $300.)
Better Living Through Vinyl
Rega Planar 1 turntable and cartridge
Rega Brio integrated amp
Rega RX1 bookshelf speakers
Total price: about $2800
A terrific budget system that invites you to discover how good vinyl records can sound, and is flexible enough to enjoy a wide range of music. For even better sound from your LPs, add the Rega Performance Pack upgrade which includes a better cartridge, mat, and belt, for $195. Add the Rega Apollo-R CD player or Rega DAC for excellent digital playback. You can also step up to the Rega RX3 and RX5 floorstanding speakers for more full-range performance. A store favorite.
NAD C368 integrated amp with BluOS digital music streaming module
Magnepan MG1.7i speakers
Total price: about $3100
Our NAD and Magnepan system pairing pushes performance to a surprising level. Few speakers can deliver a sense of life-like scale and realism like the Maggies, and pull it off anywhere near the price of the new MG1.7i. The Magnepans do require a fair amount of power to live up to their potential, and that's where NAD comes in. The C368 integrated delivers 80 watts per channel and has a smooth transparent sound that's a perfect match for these speakers. Utilize one of the two available MDC module slots to accommodate one of the world's most advanced Hi-Res Audio multi-room wireless systems available, the BluOS music management system developed by Bluesound. BluOS connects to your network and is controlled via smartphone, tablet, or desktop to manage your music collection and connect you to a number of high-quality streaming music services such as Tidal. Got vinyl? The C368 also includes a MM phono stage which allows you to plug in your favorite turntable and start listening to your LPs right out of the box.
Turntable and Tubes
Rega Planar 3 turntable
Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II integrated amplifier
ProAc Response D Two speakers
Total price: about $7,000
Nothing quite matches the appeal of listening to LPs with a vacuum tube amplifier. While we offer a very broad range of both turntables and tube electronics, one of our favorite systems is also one of our most attainable. The Planar 3 turntable is the latest version of Rega's iconic model and is amazing sounding for the price. Rogue Audio's Cronus Magnum II integrated amp is the most affordable all-tube amplifier we offer and, with an output 100 watts per channel, capable of driving practically any speaker. Pairing the two components with ProAc's exceptional Response D Two speakers creates an amazing sounding, all-analog, system that will bring you many hours of enjoyment.
Linn Majik System
Linn Majik DSM Integrated Amp / Digital Streaming player
Linn Majik 140 speakers
Total price: about $7,700
Linn is a distinguished manufacturer of some of the world's finest audio components, and the same company that created the ground breaking CD12 CD player, and the Sondek LP12 turntable which continues as a reference product today. Stemming from over 40 successful years of pitch accurate sound reproduction, the Majik System brings new levels of excitement to music playback. Linn's Majik DS-M integrated amp is one of the most versatile and fully featured products available, with accommodations for digital inputs, analog inputs, HDMI AV inputs, a phono stage for a turntable, a headphone amp, and Linn's Digital Streaming technology for serious performance. The beautifully designed Majik 140 floor standing speakers are a popular choice for their great sound and ease of placement, and also come in several handsome real wood finishes including oak, walnut, rosenut, cherry, black ash, and white, making them easy to integrate into any decor. If you need smaller speakers, there's also a bookshelf version of the 140, the Majik 109. This Linn system can also be easily upgraded for even better performance, by converting the speakers to aktiv and adding extra amplifier channels.
MOON and ProAc System
MOON 280D streaming network DAC
MOON 340i integrated amp
ProAc D30S floorstanding speakers
Total price: about $15,000
MOON by Simaudio have been manufacturing high-end products out of Montreal, Quebec for almost 40 years. With a clean, attractive aesthetic and a wide range of performance options, MOON components are a great solution for many people. The 280D DAC offers playback of local music files and internet-based streaming services like Tidal via its network connection with intuitive control via an iDevice, and provides additional inputs for other digital sources. The 340i integrated amplifier provides clean, life-like amplification for almost any speaker. Add a pair of British-made ProAc D30S speakers, another brand popular with us for decades now, and you have another system that's a big favorite. For a smaller space, consider the ProAc D20R floorstanding and D Two bookshelf speakers. The lush midrange and detailed treble and bass of ProAc loudspeakers are sure to leave you wanting to relax with your stereo system daily.
Entry into Wilson Audio
Hegel H360 integrated amplifier / DAC
Wilson Audio Sabrina speakers
Total price: about $22,000
Are you looking for a taste of the highest fidelity possible in home audio playback, without a ton of components or wires in your home? If so, this system is one for you to hear! The Hegel H360 from Norway has multiple digital and analog inputs, including an ethernet port for hassle-free playback of network audio and USB for direct connection of a laptop. And with 250 watts per channel, you're sure to have enough power to drive the Wilson Audio Sabrina loudspeakers to serious performance and volume levels. The Sabrina is a revelatory achievement in loudspeaker design. Featuring elements from the $210,000/pair Alexandria XLF, the Sabrinas perform way above their price point and size, giving you a tangible realism that can't be matched in most systems regardless of price. This system provides incredible performance, while still remaining a minimal, clutter-free solution for your home. But don't take our word for it- come by and hear this system today!
Audio Research REFERENCE System
Audio Research REF CD9 CD player / DAC
Audio Research REF 6 preamplifier
Audio Research REF 150SE power amplifier
Wilson Audio Sasha Series 2 speakers
Total price: about $76,000
Just one listen and you will immediately understand why Wilson speakers are THE speaker to have if you really want to enjoy the best sound possible in your home, and why Audio Research is an American legend in state of the art electronics and the world leader in vacuum tube design. With over 40 years of experience crafting high-end components, these manufacturers are at the forefront of state-of-the-art stereo systems. Audio Research components are handmade in Minnesota, and the REFERENCE line is made to their most exacting tolerances, resulting in you hearing more information from your own music collection. Vinyl lovers can add a Linn LP12 turntable and Audio Research phono stage and enjoy an even more staggering experience. The Wilson Audio Sasha Series 2 speakers are the latest offering in Wilson's iconic WATT/Puppy lineup, one of the most sought-after designs in loudspeaker history. With powerful dynamics, incredible resolution, and a massive, realistic soundstage, the Sasha Series 2 is an extremely high-performance speaker that also has a modest footprint suitable for almost any room. The combination of these components and loudspeakers creates the rare system that continues to satisfy even if you're fortunate enough to have frequent exposures to great live music, as it comes remarkably close to the real thing. This is only one of many Wilson/Audio Research systems we can build for you- drop by the shop and we can work out which system is just right for you.
World-Class Music Playback System
dCS Rossini streaming DAC / CD Player
D'Agostino Master Audio Systems preamplifier
D'Agostino Master Audio Systems M400 mono power amplifier
Wilson Audio Alexx speakers
Total price: about $240,000
What do you get when you pair one of the top models from the world's most highly respected speaker designer with components built by the leading manufacturers of high-end electronics? A truly amazing system that delivers more pleasure and enjoyment than someone could ever dream possible from an audio system. You'll be transported to the live event, while remaining comfortably seated in your own living room. No more struggling to hear even the most subtle of details- each piece of music is presented to you as if you were there when it was recorded. You are free to fully connect to the music you love- emotionally- giving you more enriching musical experiences than youíve ever had at home. But candidly, a few words can't begin to convey the magic and significance of this system or the individual components that create it. Please contact us to set an appointment so we can let you understand and experience it for yourself.
Like the manufacturers that create these world-class components, all of us at AudioConcepts have been fine-tuning our craft over decades: creating individually specialized, purpose-driven systems made of components that perform optimally together, paired with unrivaled customer support that continues long after the initial installation is complete. We use the system above as a sonic reference for every one that we create- and strive to get you as close to it as possible when we build yours for you, based on your room, placement considerations, and budget. So whether youíre purchasing your very first hifi, or putting together your dream system, youíll get a piece of this world-class stereo.
A Fine Starting Point
NAD T758 V3 AV receiver
GoldenEar Triton 7 front speakers
GoldenEar SuperCenter X center channel speaker
GoldenEar Aon 2 bookshelf or Invisa 650 inceiling speakers
GoldenEar Forcefield 4 subwoofer
Total price: about $4800
This NAD / GoldenEar system makes up a very affordable home theater that features full range floorstanding speakers. Compared to other similarly priced combinations in the market, this one will sound far more natural and realistic and do an equally good job at reproducing music. The new NAD receiver has all the latest HDMI features allowing you to take full advantage of the performance that 4K / UHD Blu-Ray discs can deliver, and includes NAD's MDC modular design concept which lets you change out audio and video modules as technology changes, reducing the risk of obsolescence.
Add the beautiful Sony X900E Series LED Smart TV for the full 4K HDR experience, starting at $1199.
NAD T777 V3 AV receiver
Magnepan MG1.7 front speakers
Magnepan MC1 rear speakers
Magnepan CC5 center channel speaker
GoldenEar SuperSub X powered subwoofer
Total price: about $7900
Magnepans have long been known for their fantastic sound, and they're also great for home theater applications. The MC1 surround speakers mount to your rear or side walls, and can be folded flush against the wall when not in use. With the proper center channel and subwoofer, the Magnepan system delivers a remarkable sound that is rich, clear, and open- whether you're listening to Terminator 2, Ben Webster, or Beethoven. The NAD electronics complete the package, providing the right kind of power and all the current surround sound modes available. NAD's MDC modular design construction in the new HD-series of receivers also puts all audio and video circuitry on individual replaceable modules, and the operating and processing software are also upgradable via a serial port connection.
GoldenEar Triton Atmos Theater
Arcam AVR850 7 channel 4K HDR Dolby Atmos AV Receiver
GoldenEar Triton One front speakers
GoldenEar SuperCenter XXL center channel speaker
GoldenEar on-wall or in-wall surround speakers
GoldenEar in-ceiling height speakers
GoldenEar SuperSub XXL subwoofer
Total price: about $16,000
A perfect choice for a more serious system for combined music enjoyment and movie watching. The Arcam AV Receiver offers a fantastic combination of audio quality, video switching, serious amplification, and support for the most current video and audio formats at a very reasonable price. The GoldenEar Triton One speakers are exceptionally engaging for theater applications and with a full Atmos speaker system you can have a home cinema with better sound than most theaters.
Add the latest Sony Z9D 4K UHD display to complete the experience, starting at $5499.
Wilson Audio WATCH System
Wilson Audio Yvette front speakers
Wilson Audio WATCH center channel speaker
Wilson Audio Alida wall mount rear speakers
Wilson Audio WATCH DOG subwoofer w/ controller
McIntosh MX160 A/V preamp and processor
McIntosh MC205 five channel power amplifier
McIntosh MVP901 universal disc / Blu Ray player
Total price: about $87,000
“For over a decade more award winning film scores have been mixed, composed, or recorded with Wilson Audio than any other loudspeaker.” Wilson Audio
Some of the best sounding movies ever are on the long list of those produced on Wilson Audio speakers. With this system you can be absolutely sure that you are hearing every detail, every whisper, and every dinosaur roar that the director wanted you to hear. Your favorite music will also make you sit up and be amazed. And the built in Lyngdorf room correction in the MX-160 raises the sound quality even further, diminishing room acoustics issues. This system is truly a masterpiece for the film AND music lover.
Add the remarkable Sony VW665ES 4K projector to complete this amazing system.
A Fine Starting Point
Grado SR125 headphones
NAD D 1050 headphone amp / DAC
Total price: about $650
Hook up the marvelous little NAD D 1050 to your existing audio system, or just connect it to the USB output of your laptop or desktop computer and enjoy your music. The Grado SR125 headphones are our favorite model in the Grado lineup, but you should definitely stop in and hear them and others because headphones are a highly personal thing both for sound and fit.
Portable Headphone System
Audeze EL-8 closed-back headphones
Chord Mojo headphone amp / DAC
Total price: about $1200
The Chord Mojo is by far our favorite affordable headphone amplifier and the fact that it is truly portable means you don't have to sacrifice sound quality when you're away from home. The Mojo is capable of driving any headphone we sell, but one of our favorite closed-back options are the Audeze EL-8 closed back planar magnetic 'phones. The EL-8s are Audeze's lightest and most affordable over-ear design and sound especially great with a nice amplifier like the Mojo- definitely a very popular combo here in the store.
Reference Headphone System
Sennheiser HD800S, Audeze LCD-3, or LCD-X headphones
McIntosh MHA150 headphone amp / DAC
Total price: about $6500
We've been adding lots of high quality headphones to our personal listening room over the past few years and have a few models that we consider 'Reference' level 'phones. Staff favorites are the Audeze LCD-3 and LCD-X and the brand new Sennheiser HD800S. All three models offer incredible sound, with different tonal presentations and ergonomics. Pairing any of the three with the new McIntosh MHA150 headphone amplifier / DAC will take your personal listening experience to a whole new level of enjoyment.
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