Grab your wallet & forget ‘good’ sound for good.
You’re in the midst of a pandemic and spending a lot of ‘quality’ time at home (lol), so now is the perfect time to perfect your audio system. I have a four-step plan for building it, so you can avoid wasting time and money on shoddy stuff. Remember, I’m only talking to folks who are over what ‘good’ sounds like. True Audiophiles are looking for the BEST sound!
So here it goes...
#1. Buy an integrated amplifier - It contains both the pre-amplifier/line stage function AND the amplifier function. Yep, it’s like a combo meal but MUCH better! There are quality, integrated offerings at every price point, but if you're smart, you’ll purchase one that contains a DAC and/or a quality phono stage, depending on your music vibe. If you already have separates (i.e. amp, pre-amp, headphone amplifier, DAC, & phono stage) that you enjoy, you probably spent more money -- but hey, at least you’re happy. Either way, you’re ready for Step 2.
#2. Buy a ONIX cable loom - This is the only way a true Audiophile connects components to the power outlets, speakers and each other. Simply stated - they don’t distort the signal!!! If you disagree, continue enjoying your ‘good’ sound and discontinue reading further. Real Audiophiles---ONIX is the way!
#3. Buy Transducers (speakers) - This turns the clear and uninterrupted signal into sound. The goal here is finding a pair that ACCURATELY reproduces the analog signal your system produces. Four of the Audio Dork’s traditional top picks can only be found used - Dunlavy Audio Laboratories, Green Mountain Audio, Meadowlark Audio and Thiel. Others that get my nod, are still in business, and one is actually a non-traditional design - Dynaudio, Omega Speaker Systems, Quad, Reference 3A, and Zu Audio. I’m sure there are others, but these are Audio Dork’s favs. In other words, they come highly recommended! If you know of others that fit the bill, please share, and we’ll see…[insert open mind mixed with a sprinkle of skepticism]
#4. Buy Source Components (i.e. CD/DVD/Blu-ray/SACD disc players, DAC, Reel to Reel tape players, Turntables, etc.) - After completing Steps 1-3, you finally have a system that can deliver BETTER THAN GOOD sound. Step 4 is only for folks, like me, with a large, old school music/video library. You know the drill from here -- seek quality components. Smart people know cheap gives you exactly what you paid for. Now, if you’re into streaming, focus on a great DAC. Don’t waste time and money searching for other source components - they’re not necessary.
Alright kiddies, class is over for now. Get online and buy the right stuff and get beyond ‘good’ sound.