Turntable: Rega RP6/Exact
So the word on the street is that vinyl is making a comeback. Ask most audiophiles and they’ll tell you that it never went away. Rega is a name synonymous with high-end turntables, regularly raking in the awards. The RP6 is its most consistent performer and while it’s no means the most expensive vinyl-spinner out there, the build-quality is great and you don’t need a doctorate to set it up. Oh and it comes in a variety of different colours.
£1,000 | Rega
Storage: Synology DiskStation DS1513+
To store vast amounts of large files there is only one real option and that is Network Attached Storage. Bigger is always better, so you’re better off getting something that offers flexibility and expansion. The Synology DiskStation DS1513+ is robust enough to run a small business, so your audio collection is in good hands. What is essentially a small server doesn’t come with any hard drives however. With five bays you could feasibly squeeze 20TB of storage into this very clever box. That should see you right for a few years.
£640 | Synology
Headphones: Sennheiser HD 800
If you have the neighbours to think about then investing in a decent set of cans is a must. There is no point rinsing £1000’s on speakers if you can’t crank them up. The HD 800’s from Sennheiser are widely lauded as the best there is and the price is reflected in that too. If you're spending this much on headphones then you might want to consider a decent headphone amp. And the HD 800’s love a tube amp. These are open-backed, so while the neighbours may love you, your nearest and dearest may not.
£999 | Sennheiser
Digital music streamer: Naim NAC-N 172 XS
Our digital life is filled with a wide variety of delivery formats and storage devices. To make sure you are covering all the bases you will need a versatile streamer. Look no further than the snappily-named Naim NAC-N 172 XS. Capable can stream high-resolution audio files up to 24bit/192kHz for FLAC and supports ALAC along with WAV, MP3, WMA and more besides. Connectivity isn’t an issue with ethernet and wi-fi for streaming from a NAS drive or computer and a USB connection for any portable device you may have.
£1,650 | Naim Audio
Cables: Wireworld Luna 7
Scrimping on cables is just like sitting down to a banquet in Buck’ House only to dig in to your Tartar of Kobe beef with Imperial Beluga caviar with a Spork. Good cables are a must and they needn’t break the bank. Different types of cable can produce different characteristics, the Luna 7 from Wireworld are a good all-rounder that won’t have any problems integrating with your kit.
£7/m | WireWorld
CD player: Roksan Caspian M2 CD
Ah, the humble CD player. It ushered in the digital age for the home when first released by Philips and Sony in 1982 and set about crushing the commercial longevity of vinyl and the cassette tape. It is still the hard-copy delivery system of choice for audio manufacturers. With sound-quality that far exceeds its price-point, the M2 is probably the best CD player for the price. It has a canny knack of making the most harshly compressed of music sound pleasing to the ear and the build quality is superb.
£1,650 | Roksan
Amplifer: Devialet 240
A lot of the tech available to today’s audiophile is generally based on existing technology, but every so often something comes along and flips the status quo on it’s head - a real game changer. The Devialet D-Premier was one such device and the French company has updated its flagship model with the 240. If there is one piece of Hi-Fi equipment you’ll want on display next to your brightly coloured RP6 it’s this. Not just your average stereo amplifier, the Devialet is a DAC, streamer and amp. It is essentially the epitome of gear-porn. Purists may baulk at the Patented ADH® (Analog Digital Hybrid) amplification core, but there is no denying that it sounds amazing and will probably divide opinion for many years to come.
£11,800 | Devialet
The beating-heart of the modern day Hi-Fi is your DAC. Digital to analogue conversion cannot be trusted to any old laptop manufacturer, even if they are made of aluminium with a half-eaten fruit badge stuck on it. So choose wisely. A none more wise choice would be the DAC-V1 from Naim Audio, it’s not the cheapest and by no means the most expensive, but it does the job very well. Flexibility is one of its strong points with a plethora of I/O and can also be used as a preamp/headphone amp. The DAC-V1 keeps itself future-proof with a USB connection that can handle 24-bit/384kHz.
£1,250 | Naim Audio
Speaker: ProAc Response D40/R
Not everyone is gifted with the perfect acoustic space for Hi-Fi audio, to that end, floor-mounted speakers are the easiest speakers to place in your chosen space. They are also the biggest statement of intent for anyone looking for that wow-factor. The ProAc Response D40/R certainly fit the bill, however they will benefit from a lot space, although the downward firing ports do mean that they are less fussy about placement. Fine build quality, ribbon tweeters and a choice of six finishes top off a very lovely pair of speakers indeed.
£6,125 | ProAc
DSD DAC: Korg DS-DAC-100
The audiophile’s format of choice, DSD gives you mind-boggling sample-rates that you think it’ll sound amazing before you even hear it. The DS-DAC-100 ships with AudioGate 3. You can painstakingly convert your lossless audio into DSD prior to listening or convert on the fly. The combination of AudioGate 3 and the DS-DAC-100 can convert to DSD in real-time so you needn’t worry about converting the files yourself.
£457 | Korg