The perfect audio setup is a thing of beauty. Not just as it relates to the sweet smooth sound filling your ears, but visually as well. It's a piece of art, something that acts as a focal point in any room, in any size home. But picking the right setup for your listening needs can be a challenge. Maybe you find yourself looking for a plug and play hi-fi streaming option, for listening to lossless files from services like Tidal and Qobuz. Or maybe you have an extensive record collection, and want to do justice to the wax with a high quality audio system. Or maybe you're space-limited, and reside, like many of us, in a small apartment and need something that doesn't take up space in your already small footprint.

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 what your listening needs are, 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.

About the Brands

McIntosh Laboratory, Inc.: McIntosh products are both designed and handcrafted at its Binghamton, NY factory. The company was founded in 1949, and is known for crafting some of the finest home audio systems to deliver an unparalleled listening experience.

Sonus faber: Based in Italy, Sonus faber handcrafts some of the finest speakers available utilizing natural materials such as wood and leather. The company was founded in 1983 by Franco Serblin, when he created an all-in-one system entirely made in solid wood.

Pro-Ject: Pro-Ject was founded in 1991 by Heinz Lichtenegger, one of Austria’s leading high-end audio distributors, on the premise that high-end analog audio equipment could be made at a reasonable price without compromising build quality or sonic performance.

Michi (Rotel): Michi is a flagship series of products built on the history and heritage of Rotel. The line represents over 55 years of experience from Rotel — a family owned company founded in 1961.

Apartment Dweller


For an audiophile apartment dweller, picking the perfect setup is imperative. Every piece in your system must be carefully considered when space is at a premium. For an attractive yet affordable setup that doesn't sacrifice on performance, look to a high-quality turntable and integrated amplifier with a DAC from Pro-Ject Audio Systems and a set of bookshelf speakers made in Italy from Sonus faber. With those three pieces, you'd be hard-pressed to find your ears wanting more.

Speakers: Lumina 1 by Sonus faber $899

Integrated Amplifier: MaiA DS2 by Pro-Ject $1,299

Turntable: Debut Carbon Evo by Pro-Ject $499

Analog Aficionado


In the age of digital everything, experiencing the physical practice of removing a record from its dust sleeve, placing it on the platter of a turntable, dropping the stylus and listening to the visceral notes of an album the way its performer intended can be as therapeutic as anything else. Doing so with the best analog audio equipment that money can buy takes that experience and serves it up over ice in a fine crystal glass. One album played on this setup, with power and inputs crafted by the geniuses at McIntosh Laboratory, Inc paired with Sonus faber's handmade Olympica Nova II speakers, will ruin other audio experiences for you.

Turntable: MT5 by McIntosh $7,000

Pre Amp: C2700 by McIntosh $7,000

Speakers: OLYMPICA NOVA II by Sonus faber $10,000

Tube Power Amps: MC275 by McIntosh $6,000

CD Player: MCD600 by McIntosh $7,500

Power Controller: MPC1500 by McIntosh $5,500

Room Correction: MEN220 by McIntosh $5,500

Streaming Enthusiast


If you often find yourself streaming high-quality lossless audio files, it's a waste of time to do so with a subpar system. For a top-tier setup, look to a combination of components from Pro-Ject, Sonus faber and Michi. The combination was designed to render each note as the artist intended. At the center of the system is the STREAMBOX S2 Ultra from Pro-Ject, which brings network connectivity to audio components that wouldn't otherwise have the capability. On the other end of the streamer is the sleek and modern Michi X3 integrated amplifier, which offers an ample amount of power (350 watts per channel). Power like this on tap will control demanding speakers with ease.

Streamer: STREAMBOX S2 Ultra by Pro-Ject $849

Integrated Amp: Michi X3 by Rotel $4,999

Speakers + Stands: Sonetto 2 by Sonus faber $2,499

Turntable: X1 (Walnut) by Pro-Ject $999


Gear Patrol Studios



The top of the line. The best audio equipment available to consumers. If money were no object, this is the system we'd listen to every single day. Anchored by Sonus faber's Il Cremonese reference level speakers, which are painstakingly handmade in Italy, this setup doesn't get any better.

The speakers are paired with the first of its kind McIntosh MC901 hybrid power amplifier, which is a dual-mono design and incorporates a 300-watt vacuum tube amplifier and a 600-watt solid state amplifier into one chassis. This amp spares no expense and will undoubtedly be a showstopper in any room.

This system covers all the bases with a high performance digital to analog converter and a turntable worthy of your coveted vinyl collection — the McIntosh MT10. It's a precision turntable with a thick acrylic illuminated platter that will be sure to bring out the best of any record in your collection.

Speakers: Il Cremonese by Sonus faber $50,000

Hybrid Power Amp: MC901 (Pair) by McIntosh $35,000

Tube Preamp: C22 MK V by McIntosh $6,000

Digital Preamp (DAC): D1100 by McIntosh $8,000

SACD/CD Transport: MCT500 by McIntosh $5,000

Turntable: MT10 by McIntosh $11,000

Handmade Audio Racks: by Bassocontinuo Learn More: Here