Your sound setup can be a work of art, the focal point in any room, no matter the size of your home. Setting the mood, creating the atmosphere, evoking emotions — quality sound can move you like nothing else.
So how do you pick the perfect setup for your listening needs? If you’re a streaming junkie, you might be looking for a plug-and-play option that’ll work with Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, or other streaming services. If you’ve got an extensive collection of classic vinyl, you might be looking to do them justice with a true-to-life listening experience with a fantastic soundstage. Or perhaps, you’re limited on space and live in an apartment, like many of us, and have to consider both the footprint and functionality of your audio zone.
No matter your situation, if you’re serious about high-quality sound, consider all the components of your setup. Speakers are the obvious necessity but don’t forget about how they fit into the larger puzzle and make sure you’ve got all the pieces you need. The result will blow you away and impress even the most discerning audiophiles. Gear Patrol Studios recently shared their favorite audio setups for every type of listener. We’re bringing you the highlights because as any audiophile knows, the perfect audio setup is a masterpiece.
Whatever the case, it's imperative — if you're as serious about audiophile-quality sound as we are — that you take every component in your system into account. Sure, speakers are important and need not be overlooked. But they are just one piece in the larger puzzle. To help guide you to exactly what you need, no matter your listening needs, we worked with some of the top providers of hi-fi audio equipment on the market. The result is four setups worthy of even the most discerning audiophiles' ears.
McIntosh Laboratory, Inc.: Founded in 1949 and known for crafting some of the finest home audio systems to deliver an unparalleled listening experience, McIntosh products are top-of-the-line. McIntosh products are both designed and handcrafted at its Binghamton, NY factory.
Sonus Faber: Based in Italy and founded in 1983 by Franco Serblin, who created an all-in-one system entirely made in solid wood, Sonus Faber handcrafts some of the finest speakers available utilizing natural materials such as wood and leather.
You might be tight on space, but you don’t have to skimp on quality. Make sure every piece in your system contributes to your perfect listening experience, especially when space is at a premium. For an aesthetically pleasing yet affordable setup that doesn’t miss a beat, look at a high-quality turntable, integrated amplifier and set of bookshelf speakers. With these three key pieces, your ears will forget all about the space constraints.
Do you get respite from the digital age through the peaceful, physical practice of taking a record out of its sleeve, carefully lining it up on the turntable, positioning the stylus, and listening to the emotional scratch, followed by true-to-life sound just as the performers intended? For the analog addict, this experience can be truly therapeutic. Let a quality sound setup transport you, comfort you, and move you. Play just one record on this setup, and we know you’ll never listen to audio any other way.
Turntable: MT5 by McIntosh
Pre Amp: C2700 by McIntosh
Loud-speakers: Olypmpica Nova II by Sonus Faber
Tube Power Amps: MC275 by McIntosh
CD Player: MCD600 by McIntosh
Power Controller: MPC1500 by McIntosh
Room Correction: MEN220 by McIntosh
If you find yourself streaming often but want to retain the integrity of that resonant, glorious sound without losing any fidelity, don’t waste your time with a subpar setup. Listen to each album with the clarity the artist intended. To do this right, you’ll need a top-tier system with the right combination of components from Sonus faFaberber and McIntosh that bring network connectivity, ample power, and a sleek and modern amplifier.
Speakers + Stands: Sonetto 2 by Sonus Faber
To the hi-fi expert, every dime spent to reproduce hi-fi sound on their ultimate system will be more than worth it. These top-of-the-line components will bring even the most experienced audiophile an unforgettable listening experience. If money were no object, this is the setup we’d be listening to every day, every hour. It’s got to be some of the best audio equipment available today.
Anchored by Sonus Faber's Il Cremonese reference level speakers, handmade in Italy, this setup is defined by quality. Pair them with the first of its kind McIntosh MC901 hybrid power amplifier, a dual-mono design that incorporates a 300-watt vacuum tube amplifier and a 600-watt solid-state amplifier into one chassis. It’s an absolute showstopper, too. Talk about aesthetics. Add in a high-performance digital-to-analog converter and a turntable deserving of your vinyl collection — the McIntosh MT10 — for the ultimate expert setup.
Speakers: Il Cremonese by Sonus Faber
Hybrid Power Amp: MC901 (Pair) by McIntosh
Tube Preamp: C22 MK V by McIntosh
Digital Preamp (DAC): D1100 by McIntosh
SACD/CD Transport: MCT500 by McIntosh
Turntable: MT10 by McIntosh
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(Excerpt taken from the original article by Gear Patrol / www.gearpatrol.com / November 25, 2020)