THE BEST AUDIO SYSTEM
ANYWHERE NEAR ITS PRICE
This page will outline an audio system that is the absolute best I’ve ever used or heard. I’ve been trying to create a system like this for many decades and finally did. I’m also a near-field listener and don’t have the room problems others have who sit way back in the room. Even though I’m a near-field listener, I still have installed considerable acoustical panels (including a ceiling cloud), which helped. I’m attaching a photo below of my workstation listening system.
I’ve spent an enormous amount of time “tweaking” everything in this system. I listen for the proper wire gauge and composition (copper, silver, gold, platinum) and the annealing. I use network devices (RJ45) with my Bricasti network card; every connection makes a sound quality difference. Every one!
I’m sharing that the synergy of creating an excellent-sounding system is everything. Most people don’t have the time or the money to do this properly, but this is something that I’m anal about. I love doing this and enjoy the adventure. However, it’s only through many years of spending my money and putting together components that make a substantial positive difference here.
This is the absolute best I’ve been able to create in my decades of doing this. I can share this information with you, but you’ll need to use exactly what I’ve used at every stage. If you don’t, this system won’t sound near what I have accomplished, and you might as well head in your direction. Mine won’t work for you.
It’s problematic that you might accept what I’m saying is true, but it is. My time spent listening, tweaking, and changing components has made a positive difference in this system. Accidentally, it came together far above what my initial expectations were. But . . . this was a total accident and could have ended up sounding above average but ordinary. It is far from ordinary and the best I’ve been able to accomplish.
I am a dealer for most components in this system, and some of my recommendations are your factory direct orders. I’m not in this industry to make money but to find a system that sounds as close to real music as possible for a reasonable price. I am a dealer for several of these products, but it might as well be me because someone gets paid. I can help you to acquire this system if you like, and I would enjoy the opportunity.
I’m an authorized dealer for Bricasti and can provide anything they create.
I’m an authorized dealer for Mon Acoustics and can provide anything they create.
I’m an authorized dealer for DHLabs and can provide anything they create.
The Brunoco tube amplifier is factory direct, and I can’t make a dime telling you about it, but it is required for this recommended system.
My RJ45 cabling system is proprietary, and I will share the components with anyone purchasing items from me. These components are factory-direct or carried by other resellers.
My Audiorax cabinet is factory-direct; you can order anything they build directly.
You can use a few low-cost steps while saving for the proper component I recommend. Mon Acoustics Super Mon Mini speakers and DHLabs unterminated bulk T14 cable are excellent alternatives.
If you don’t work with me, you’ll probably not put this system together as well as I can. And you’ll probably end up paying a higher price (and go without a factory warranty to assure that you start well) even if you purchase some of these components used. Each component must be identical to what I’m using and not something else. By the way, the Bricasti warranty is not transferable (it is only good for the original owner), and if you purchase any Bricasti unit used, you’ll not receive a warranty. Plus, you won’t know if someone misconnected it or damaged it somehow. That probably happens more than you might think, and I’d not want any unit without a warranty to ensure my purchase was solid. You shouldn’t either. So consider working with me, but realize that I will only use the components designed by the sources I have chosen, and I need to be involved somehow.
Yes, other gear might be able to work, but it will not necessarily provide the synergy and the beauty I have achieved, and I won’t waste my time trying to figure out what you have, whether it will work, and what it will sound like. I’ve spent too much time doing that, and the combination I’m now sharing was somewhat accidental. It wasn’t accidental since I’ve spent considerable money and time finding it. I wouldn’t have found this solution in someone’s home and not in some shop but only by purchasing the components myself and then listening. That alone requires grit and a willingness to lose money and time; I’ve been doing that for a long time. So please don’t ask. All that I can say about that is it probably won’t.
Assembling this system has been something I’ve worked on for decades (I’m very anal about this), and I am using these precise components in my system, and they are the same ones that I’ll obtain for you if you’re interested.
You cannot assemble anything that sounds like this for much less than $20,000. Is $20,000 reasonable? Yes, it is and is doable for almost all audiophiles. It might take saving up and some time to purchase each component, but anyone can buy and assemble this system, even if it takes purchasing one component at a time. It’s very worth doing this if you have to. I can help you and look forward to discussing these things with you.
Please take a look at what I’m recommending. The resulting sound quality is worth your time. It cost me a small house of money and considerable time over the years I’ve done this. However, I love to do this, and I wouldn’t change it for even one moment. This is the first time I can say that I can quit looking. I now have the most musical-sounding system anyone could put together at anywhere near its price range, and it took a lot of courage even to purchase a few of the components I’m using without hearing them first. This system sounds superb in a near-field listening environment or even a much larger room in a typical listening position. The only difference is the amount and expenditure required for proper room treatment. The system does not need to be changed.
My OEM 45-tube amp isn’t the solution, even though I thought it was a year ago.
Because I can, I build, purchase, and resell other manufacturers’ equipment. This search has become almost an addiction, and finding that elusive system has been more important for me than even my music listening. I always found something I didn’t like in every scenario I’ve used in the past, and I’ve consequently kept exploring gear (for decades). Typically, transparency was excellent when using all solid-state gear, but the sound quality was too thin and uninteresting. It didn’t cause me to keep listening to music but rather to stop listening because I was not too fond of the tone of most of my music. Has that happened to you? I’ll bet it has and probably is happening right now.
I’m used to hearing real instruments behind me on stage, and even though an expensive all-solid-state system sounds good and is linear, it still doesn’t sound right, in my opinion. I decided to keep going beyond last year when I completed the last 45-tube amp that I thought was the solution. However, it still wasn’t good enough. It didn’t have enough power to create adequate headroom, which was always a problem. Speaker expense and size didn’t tick the right boxes for me, and I moved on.
My 45 OEM Tube Amp Build
The Interior Of My 45 Tube Amp
I’ve owned three DACs, three power amps, and three separate speaker systems since building my 2nd 45-tube amp. I’ve now virtually tried every primary design (over the decades I’ve been doing this) and accidentally stumbled upon THE combination that finally makes sense and ticks all of my boxes.
This is a 1st for me and probably is my Final Audio System other than fine-tuning it where I can. I’m recommending the Bricasti M3 DAC and will gladly let you know how it compares to my current system with my Bricasti M12 DAC. Either one works well. But the M12 is $8,500 more expensive. Is it that much better than an optimally loaded M3?
The M3 is what I recommend for almost all people. If money is no object, however, then purchase the M12 and be done with it. However, there is a big difference between $16,000 for the M12 (or M21 for the same price) and $7,500 for the M3. Most people would limit their expenditure to $7,500. That’s still a high price, but I think it is the “sweet spot” in the Bricasti line and probably the best audio value when it has the Bricasti network card installed. You cannot do better to achieve the audio quality that the M3 with a network card will provide you – particularly in this system.
The Bricasti M3 DAC
I know that Brian at Bricasti will not like this system since he’s a “measurement” guy and listens only to solid-state amps (his own that cost close to $20,000 and plays through his costly Tidal speakers. His distortion is so low that it’s almost not measurable distortion. That level of audio interests me, but it’s way too expensive and esoteric for most people, and it still doesn’t cause me to enjoy listening to music. However, his DACs (all of them) are the best I’ve ever used, and that is what I focus on in this system. I’m willing to use a tube amplifier with his DACs, and I love the sound quality. The remainder of his components are beyond reach for the majority of audiophiles, unfortunately, but I can obtain them for you if you are one of those exceptions. For those who want the most for the least expenditure, I’d like you to consider this system that I’m recommending.
Yes, I can sell all of the Bricasti gear made as an authorized dealer, but the M3 with the network card and remote control options is my top recommendation due to its superb value and excellent sound quality. It’s the foundation of my recommended system and will make one of the best purchases for you over any other approach. It’s my #1 recommendation and the first component you should purchase.
Tube amps have plenty of measurable distortion, which is pleasant for human hearing and adds to the live-like sound quality. In my opinion and through my decades of experience, tubes (somewhere in the system) are a must to provide the most life-like sound quality. Spending a tremendous amount of time and money pursuing both tube and solid-state components, I now feel that tubes in a system should only be used in the power amp (not the DAC or the preamp). I was unsure until I tried tubes in all positions and spent money and time evaluating this.
A DAC and preamp combination can be created using excellent linear solid-state devices if the power amp is tube-based. I used to like detail but found it to be a two-edged sword. Too much, and you can “cut your head off.” However, the sound quality was always too lean no matter what amp you used with solid-state, so why bother? If you want real musical sound quality from your audio system, use tubes in the power amplifier section with a Bricasti DAC. But then you need adequate power. The Brunoco amplifier does extremely well with power and sound quality and provides the missing body I couldn’t achieve using a solid-state power amp, no matter the price or brand.
Listening to music is what I should spend my time doing, and consequently, I’ve given up on measurements and purchasing costly gear. It doesn’t lead me anywhere other than complaining, and that is easy to do. Most people pay 80% of their purchase price just for the “bling” factor, which doesn’t interest me and is a massive waste of money. Instead, my goal is to find something where I can lift each component (not too heavy) and to be able to afford each component. The system should also be archetypal and well-built with a stunning sound signature. The audio system I’m recommending “ticks” all of these boxes and more, and I cannot imagine anyone not liking it.
If you’re interested in obtaining the absolute best sound quality, contact me. If you’re unsure, do your research. Spend your money, and I hope you’ll eventually be where I am now. I doubt it unless you are tenacious and extremely demanding like I am, and very few people are and are willing to spend the time and money to find out. Even though I’m an audio retailer, you, the consumer, are my most precious commodity – not the manufacturer. I’ll always share my most valuable insights with my customers, even if it means moving to a different manufacturer due to negative issues that I hear. I’ve done that and lost dealership ability with a prominent manufacturer, but it was right. I’ve also not sold other manufacturers products when I determined they just weren’t good enough. In that case, I absorbed the loss and kept looking or built my OEM solutions instead.
It has taken me decades of building, buying, and selling to find this solution, and I not only build amps as an OEM. I’ve also represented and sold many high-end brands as a dealer or distributor. I’ve let go of almost all of them since I typically found an issue that I didn’t like.
I’ve purchased components at 60% off at distributor prices, anywhere from 20% to 40% off as a dealer, and through building my own OEM components, and I rarely pay retail or purchase factory direct. If I do, that component must be above the quality other alternatives can provide. The Brunoco 6L6PP Terra integrated amplifier did it for me and is a factory-direct item. I don’t make a dime telling you about that amp.
However, the Brunoco amp must be paired with a Bricasti DAC to end up near the quality I now hear. Halo May Kitsune, Lampizator, and Terminator are all good DACs (I’ve owned them) but don’t do it. I sold all of them. I’d still be looking if I hadn’t found that unique Brunoco amplifier. The Bricasti and Brunoco combination makes this combination excellent when played through the Platimon speakers. This trio of components is magical, and I’ve heard nothing like it elsewhere. These are the three brands I have found to be the best. Limitations? Only with the size of the relatively small size of the MonAcoustics Platimon’s and maybe its somewhat lack of bass extension. However, the sound quality is so good that I’d consider adding a bass augmentation system or maybe a 12″ open baffle ripole subwoofers with a CR-1 analog crossover. Other than that, I’d leave this system alone.
Do you want more bass than the Platimon speakers provide (even though their bass is adequate)? Then consider the new bass extension speaker option coming out soon from Mon Acoustics. This new product replaces the Platimon bookshelf speakers’ stands and extends the bass even lower. No, they aren’t subwoofers; they are bass augmentation speakers, and integration isn’t a problem. I still avoid using subwoofers, however, since integrating their sound quality is difficult and, for me impossible. Adding extra connections or circuits and different power amplifiers doesn’t produce the same sound quality as using just one. I hear it when this is done.
Amazingly, a $3,600 tube amplifier with a circuit design I didn’t previously appreciate solved my problem. At its low price of $3,600, it’s one of the best-value components I’ve purchased. However, I probably would still be looking and would have sold it if I didn’t have a Bricasti M3 DAC to pair with it. This combination is a MUST (The M3, M1 Series II, M12, or M21) since the Brunoco on its own with any other DAC doesn’t do it. It needs a Bricasti DAC to sound magical. The synergy of these components is perfect. Then, with MonAcoustic speakers, the combination becomes magical.
Continue To Read What I’m Sharing About This Amp Below
“Give me the luxuries of life, and I will willingly do without the necessities.”
Frank Lloyd Wright
A SUMMARY OF MY OWN GOALS
- One of my audio system goals is to ensure that every statement-quality component is easy to repair in the future. The DAC is the most difficult, and due to its complexity, I’ve chosen a Shirley, MA-USA-based company, Bricasti, for sound quality and repairability. I don’t particularly appreciate using a DAC from the Far East in this respect, even though I’ve done that to hear the sound quality. The Bricasti DACs are the best I’ve ever heard, and customer service is the best I’ve used, so going in this direction is now easy. That leaves out most of the other good DACs that are competitors. The other good DACs are mostly built outside the US. This will become a serious problem when our global economy starts to unravel. It eventually will, and this will happen soon. That is another reason I recommend the M3 over more expensive options. Making and spending money in the future will be challenging, and the system I’m suggesting is the best you can assemble for a reasonable amount of money. Why spend more even if you can? This system will satisfy you.
- Even though it’s made in Korea, the power amplifier has a simple RCA circuit design that anyone could repair down the road. Even though this isn’t a US-based company, I don’t have a problem due to the build quality, the simple layout, the stellar circuit design, and the superb soldering quality. The sound quality of this unit is excellent, and its cost is minimal compared to other options. Yes, it can be worked on and repaired here if needed.
- The speakers are made of aluminum and lined internally with leather to remove aluminum’s resonance. They have dual ports and use the EMF tweeter (my personal favorite of all that I’ve heard). They are built like a battleship, and other than the speaker cones themselves getting damaged (this can happen due to improper handling), speakers are easy to work on and can last for a very long time. 30 to 40 years is possible with these. I would stay away from any wood cabinet, particularly veneered MDF cabinets. The speakers made by Mon Acoustics are of serious value, and even though they are made in Korea, I don’t have a problem with them. They will remain my favorite choice even if we can’t get them in the future. Purchase a pair and put them away if you are concerned. You will be glad you did even if you can afford to use something much more expensive.
- No component should ideally weigh more than 40 pounds, so you or someone else can easily lift and move that component. Maybe 60 pounds would be my upper limit, but around 40 pounds would be best. The DAC weighs 10 pounds (for the M3), the amplifier weighs 42 pounds, and the speakers weigh 32 pounds a piece.
- My system selection pretty much guarantees longevity. The craftsmanship of every component is off the charts and good. Every one of these components is heirloom quality, in my opinion. Anyone would love to inherit them. Those who get to use them will consider themselves fortunate.
- As it is currently built, the Brunoco Terra 6L6PP tube amplifier has the best and most realistic sound quality for its low price. Its sound quality is superb. One of my goals is to make sure that every one of these statement quality amplifiers is easy to repair so that electrolytic capacitors can be replaced 10 to 15 years into the future. Even though I prefer point-to-point wiring, the printed circuit boards sound better if the circuit is laid out well. The Brunoco started with point-to-point wiring (for its prototypes) and ended up with a printed circuit board design (for its production units) since the PCB version sounded better.
- My ultimate goal is to maintain archival quality and long-term ownership while providing the best sound quality possible. Your purchase of my recommended system will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.
There is a way to take your time in making this purchase, and I’ll share it with those who can’t afford the entire system upfront and want to get started with excellent listening but not veer away from this system’s quality. I won’t share it here, but I will do so once I’ve evaluated your needs and considered your ability to purchase.
WHY PURCHASE FROM ME?
I’ve spent decades building audio gear (power amplifiers, preamplifiers, power supplies, speakers, cables, etc.) and have worked with high-end audiophiles for a long time. I’ve sold numerous other manufacturers’ components as an audio dealer and occasionally as a distributor. I’m a former professional jazz piano player who knows what real live music sounds like. I’ve owned a Bechstein Concert C234 piano. I purchased it new and built a special highly tuned acoustic room for it. I learned long ago that optimizing room acoustics is integral to creating a great-sounding audio system for mixing, mastering, and listening enjoyment and shouldn’t be avoided. I can help you with that effort if you’re interested.
I’ve also built several high-end recording studios for clients of mine (from scratch) and am very informed about achieving excellent room acoustics. I’ve done this through experience rather than just from what I’ve read online. I’ll share my honest, experience-oriented findings, and I am not doing this to make money. Instead, I’m giving away most items that other companies try to sell you (to make money and not necessarily in your best interest but theirs).
My Bechstein Concert C234