How much have you spent on your audio system?

How much have you spent on your audio system?
Less than $500
0% (1 vote)
2% (8 votes)
6% (22 votes)
19% (67 votes)
18% (63 votes)
14% (49 votes)
23% (81 votes)
14% (51 votes)
3% (9 votes)
$100,000 or more
1% (3 votes)
No system yet!
1% (4 votes)
Total votes: 358

We've been asked to run this question numerous times and thought it might be a bit inappropriate. But each week brings new e-mails from inquiring minds who have to know the answer. And so, we ask you:

SJ's picture

No regrets. It has already paid for itself.

Carlos_E's picture

On speakers, not including audio components.

MJ's picture

Money doesn't solve nothing. There's plenty of good manufacturers like PS-Audio which can complete very well for those big companies like Krell or Mark Levinson. If the PS-Audio does exist anymore?

T's picture

Ask again in a year.'s picture

10K! When you consider CD's, cabinets, etc. Worth it and still going.

Al Marcy's picture

Including software, OK?

Dave Brown's picture

I assume that question refers to my system as it currently exists. The "lifetime cost" of my system is a different number entirely. :)

Graeme Nattress's picture

This amount would be more thand double if I'd not bought second hand and made bits myself.

Dan D.'s picture

My Rotel amp is solid as a rock.

Joe Ferrente's picture

I wasted a lot of money doing the "audiophile thing," as John Rutan from Audio Connection calls it. My system now makes music.

Gian Fabbri's picture

NAD/PSB - Good Sound (or good enough?)

CDB's picture

The cost of my system has been built around a pair of AR-LST's that were passed down from my Father. I get fantastic sound out of them, but I'm doubtful about it getting much better by spending more.

Miles Ferguson's picture

This is how much I've spent, but not how much it would retail for. I'm very happy to buy people's used equipment, which is still excellent, so they can go out and buy the latest hype.

Chris Sims's picture

I would say that my system is near the top of the Low-Fi. Of course I'm a newbie so I might be wrong about that. I've got Eosone RSF-1000 speakers, a Sony STR-DE805G receiver, and a Sony CDP-CE215 5-disc CD player. For home theatre listening I use a pair of Yamaha NS-A325's for the surround channel (leave me alone, I got a good deal) and the Cambridge Soundworks PSW-1 Powered subwoofer and Passive slave for life-altering bass. My next purchases will probably be in the home theatre market. I want to get Eosone models of the rear and center channels for a more vocally matched set. I'll stick with my PSW-1 and passive slave for a while yet though. That kind of thump isnt easy to come by at any price. Just ask my neighbors.

Karl Richichi, UT Film Dept.'s picture

Is that price paid, or simply what it would cost new? About everthing I own I have picked up second-hand from around the world via the net. Most of my stuff is less than two years old as well. I just keep upgrading with more second-hand stuff found over the net. My 5.1 system is mostly Linn with Martin-Logan. For example, our AmPro 4500 HDTV projector I picked up for $7500 second-hand at an FBI auction in Houston ($45,000 new). My two-channel setup is all tubed with Martin-Logan. It, too, is less than a year old and mostly second-hand. So to conclude, our 5.1 setup would be around $80,000 new. I put it all together for about $30k or so. My 2-channel stuff would be about $15k new. I put it together for about $7k. Second-hand off the internet is a great way to go. Same stuff, half the price. Just today on the net, I found all the Nordost Red Dawn I could ever want in my lifetime @ less than half the cost.

John Muenzberg's picture

About $2500, including cable and power conditioner. But I bought most of my components used or demo, often half of retail, so the "cost" of my system may not be comparable. Also, if I add all the cleaning supplies, test records, db meter, and other audiophile goodies, the price jumps close to $3000. In comparison, I own about 300 CDs, and about 300 LPs, easily as expensive as the electronics.

Federico Cribiore's picture

Oh man, is it frightening when you suddenly do the math and realize the sum total!

Jay Drybread's picture

I suspect a number of people may include the cost of an entire home theater, not just the 2-channel end. Are you making any distinction on this? Or perhaps it doesn't matter; after all, the idea may be how much cash are people willing to part with for a sound system at home, regardless of the number of channels.

TDA's picture

I'm young (26) and new to high-end, and I don't have the thousands of dollars to spend all at once, so I have been building my system all year. I use Rega for digital, KEF for speakers, Straightwire for cables, and, somewhat unfortunately, a (relatively good) mass-market receiver. My next purchase will obviously be a new amp, probably integrated, by which time I will be pushing over $4000.

I.  Johnson's picture

Half used and half retail equals complete satisfaction. I didn't know it would take over $7000 to get there.

Josh Treadwell's picture

1987 purchase - Nakamichi tapedeck, NAD integrated, Yamaha turntable and Boston Acoustics T830's. Surprisingly good sound when I compare it with my friends systems.

Stephen's picture

About 35K at retail with about 10K to go before I will be complete!

Charles Purvis Kelly, Jr.'s picture

Hmmm, let's see. McCormack Power Drive DNA-0.5, $1295; McCormack TLC-1, $995; Denon DCD-1650AR, $1000; MITerminator 2 cables, $960 (whole system). As a total, I would say that I spent about $4000 in system upgrades so far. I am using an existing cassette deck, tuner, and speakers; thus, they do not count in the equation. I am getting a new tuner (a used Magnum Dynalab FT-101) for $350 next month. This is because this is something that I want (not that I have to have). New speakers next year: Vandersteen 2Ce's (Standard or Signature), about $1600 with stands. The speakers are something that I have to have. So, if you factor those in, the amount that I would have spent on my system would very much exceed the figure that I have stated above. Let's face the music here: high-end audio is not cheap.

Cliff Talley's picture

I propose a 3/7/12 rule as a good way to estimate system price: each represents $k for the source, control, amplification, and transducers; meaning x4 for a minimum setup. Therefore, an audiophile-quality entry system is total $12k, mid-level system is $28k, and true high end is $48k.

Miles Bainbridge's picture

It was actually a gift. This is just the value of the components if you were to buy them new.'s picture

$1200- $1500 per piece is my limit except for my Lexicon processor. I have about 600 CD's but I'm more of a home theater person than a "serious music person." I enjoy listening to music rather than concentrating on what I'm listening to. We listen to rock music for enjoyment and jazz and classical for background.

erich's picture


S.  Brady's picture

The shocking thing is that I didn't realize I had spent that much until I just added it all up.

David L.  Wyatt, Jr.'s picture

Not everyone is rich, and music is not everything in life. Not that I don't plan to upgrade, but I don't want to make sound my religion.

Widarto Binafsihi's picture

Most of the fund goes for interconnects and speaker cables.