Build a mind-blowing hi-fi system with new equipment that combines unprecedented ease-of-use simplicity and value. If it’s a hi-fi setup you’re after, this is the gear—turntable, speakers, amplifier, streamer, and headphones—you need. (Plus, there’s a few Plan B options if you’re operating on a tighter budget, but still want real audio bang for buck in completing a high-fidelity home sound system for less than ever before.)
The Tech You Need to Build a Mind-Blowing Hi-Fi System
1. The TURNTABLE: VPI Industries Player
The vinyl revival is no nostalgic fad. The rich, detailed sound possibilities of ye olde phonograph record beat today’s best digital reproductions. Vinyl’s analog encoding, especially when channeled by a top-tier turntable like the Player, can reveal a life-like depth and texture rivaled only by original tape masters. Seeing the need for a high-end turntable that offers plug-and-play simplicity as well as calculated sonic precision, New Jersey’s VPI designed the Player to be an all-in-one solution, complete with an Audio Technica stylus and a built-in headphone amp, allowing you to skip the traditional amp and speakers if you want.
[$1,500; vpiindustries.com]Get it
2. SPEAKERS: EgglestonWorks Nico EVOlution
Make no mistake: speakers are the most important element of a sound system. Prized by recording engineers all over the world for their incredible fidelity, EgglestonWorks loudspeakers provide listeners with highly accurate sonic reproduction and lush listening across all musical genres. At about 19 inches tall without the included stands, the Nicos (made by hand in the legendary music epicenter of Memphis) are the smallest speakers in the company’s lineup. But the more practical size isn’t a tradeoff. The Nicos are painstakingly designed to more than hold their own against much larger speakers, and they always deliver stunning, 3D sound, whether you’re spinning Sabbath or Stravinsky.
[$5,000; egglestonworks.com]Get it
3. INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER: Bryston B135 Cubed
Got great speakers? You need a great amp, and integrated amplifiers offer the most simplicity and convenience. The best, like Bryston’s compact B135 Cubed, are engineered to deliver refined power, which nixes noise and distortion, making for a cleaner sound. The goal is to be neutral and not interfere with the “voice” of the speaker, and this convection-cooled 135-watt unit stands above other, more expensive options in this regard. Plus the build quality of the Canadian export is so good and the amp so dependable, you’ll never need to call in Bryston’s generous 20-year warranty.
[$6,500; bryston.com]Get it
PLAN B: The modular NAD C 388, a hybrid digital integrated amp, features an optional wireless, multi-room streaming system.
4. STREAMER: Sonos Port
When building a high-end hi-fi system, there’s no need to have a separate set of gear for today’s path of least resistance—that is, wirelessly broadcasting your phone or laptop’s digital media streams. With the new Port, Sonos has created an easy way to connect those feeds to your amplified stereo or receiver, allowing you to run your favorite mixes and podcasts through your best sound equipment. Thankfully, the Port also allows you to tap into a multi-room speaker system, so you can listen to that latest vinyl score from anywhere in the house.
[$449; sonos.com]Get it
5. HEADPHONES: Beyerdynamic Amiron
Open-back wired headphones, like the super-comfortable Amiron, are preferable because of their airy, spacious sound, perfect for immersing yourself in hi-fi audio. (Whereas closed, noise-cancelling wireless headphones are great for listening to music on your phone while working or exercising.) Innovative, vibration-minimizing magnet technology provides the clarity, precision, and versatility that kick the German-made Amiron a notch above the competition. Plus they’re optimized for high-resolution digital music, too
[$599; beyerdynamic.com]Get it
PLAN B: The wireless Nuraphone is a unique noise-cancelling headphone-earbud hybrid that adaptively personalizes your sonic experience via a customizable profile.
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