The Absolute Bose: down to earth

Admittedly, the “how much?” exercise was over the top–and I doubt that even most multimillionaire audiophiles will be buying tape decks, so let’s call the actual total about $2,840,000.93

Yes, you can buy a system of stuff TAB likes for a lot less. Sticking with floorstanding loudspeakers and ignoring tape decks, I find:

  • Speakers: PSB Alpha T20, $849.
  • Integrated amp with phonostage: $799 (the combination of a Schitt Audio Mini $149 phonostage and NAD C328 $599 integrated amp is $50 cheaper, but then you need an extra interconnect)
  • CD player with DAC: Arcam CDS50, $1,320.The boig
  • Streaming device with DAC: Cambridge CXN-2, $1,099.
  • Turntable/arm/cartridge: Rega Planar 1 Plus, $725 (or ProJect Debut Carbon EVO turntable/arm $599 and Grado Prestige Black3, $99–$26 cheaper but a bit more setup).
  • Interconnects and power cables (one speaker, three interconects): Transparent Audio The Link interconnect ($100 x 3), The Wave speaker ($250), High-Performance PowerLink AC ($340 x 4).

So that’s $4,725 for components, $1,910 for wires: $6,635 total–or 0.234% of the top-notch system. I’m guessing it would provide 99% of the pleasure for most folks–oh, maybe adding a nice JL Audio or GoldenEar subwoofer for $1,100-$1,500 for that bottom octave of bass, but–even with another $590 for AC and cables–that’s still less than 0,3% (that is, one-third of one percent) of the highest-end system…

i was going to price out Stereophile’s most expensive class-A/class-A+ system, but why bother? The biggest differences would be the amps ($230,000 rather than $700,000, since Stereophile doesn’t have speakers that require two amps each) and loudspeakers ($335,000 rather than $750,000), but what’s $830K between friends?

Just for fun, I counted speakers in three price ranges in both sources–up to $10,000 (a  natural cutoff since that’s roughly the price of the cheapest full-reference-quality speakers), $10,000-$100,000, and over $100,000. Stereojphile has more in the least-expensive range (59 compared to 51), a lot fewer in the expensive range (43 compared to 57), and just over half as many in the ultra-expensive range (seven compared to 12).

And that’s it for fun with audio magazines & prices.

As for what I listen to music on? While the Grado SR80 headphones are still available (at a slightly higher price, around $120), the Cowon Plenue portable players seem to have disappeared, and an equivalent (?) seems to be at least $600 (more than twice what the Cowon cost)…s0, no recommendation here.

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