OK. I admit it. I’m an audiophile and damn proud to wear that badge. I listen to music that was created by musicians not produced by computers as a “product”. My musical taste ranges from jazz, recorded in the 50’s, 60’s to classic rock and fusion. The system I put together sounds amazing and cost less than $10K for everything, including speakers, CD player, integrated amp and turntable. To me it sounds amazing and is what good music should sound like in a world with compressed audio.
If you pick up an audio magazine you could quickly be turned off by the insanely high prices of costing tens of thousands of dollars but don’t be. You can get an amazing system that fits YOUR listening needs without having to max out your credit cards.
If you go to an audio store to audition a system you should bring a couple of your favorite CD’s or records. Listen to each one, but listen for enjoyment, not for specs. You don’t, for example need to spend a lot of money on a CD player that has a special vibration free disc tray. I have a 7 year old Sony ES player that was rated very highly and it sounds amazing.
On the integrated amp front both Yamaha and Marantz are really making some great products. I have a Yamaha Natural Sound amp that just came out and it sounds amazing. Turntables can cost more than a house, but you can still get a very good Rega turntable for less than $500. Two f my favorite place to buy vinyl and components is Music Direct and Soundstage. They have excellent customer service and have people who love audio.
When I listen to the genius of Coleman Hwkins, Eric Clapton or Jimi I don’t want anything standing in the way of the artists music. That’s what great hi-fi is all about.