Ask any number of opinionated audiophiles (as if there’s any other kind) where to start when assembling a great audio system and you’ll be pointed in as many different directions. Some think everything depends foremost on the speakers; others insist that without an impeccable source, whether analog or digital, nothing downstream will sound quite right. A third faction believes only outstanding electronics can set the stage for success.
And they’re all correct: Truly outstanding music reproduction doesn’t start or end anywhere, it’s about achieving more than the sum of your parts. Which means the real trick is selecting components that complement one another. And while it’s possible to spend nearly unlimited sums on a system, the following arrangement will deliver sonic nirvana for under six figures.