This represents the best system I could build using a price limit of about $1000.00 or less for each component, some bought new, some bought pre-owned. It took about 3 years to acquire everything and get it all together.

The initial focus of the system build were the Thiel CS 3.5 speakers, which were long considered a reference-level performer during its day.  Knowing that Thiels are traditionally power and current hungry, I wanted to go with solid-state amplification, but coupled with tubes in the line and phono preamps to provide some warmth.  Going with vintage components from Audio Research allowed me to have both while maintaining system synergy, which I consider very important.  The final piece that I had been waiting on for the better part of a year was the second D240 MKII amp.  Having two of these in bridged-mono configuration has really transformed my system by opening up the Thiels and letting them play with as much power as they need.  

I grew up admiring the traditional high-end audiophile brands like Thiel and Audio Research.  I am very happy to have finally fullfilled the dream I had as a teen of owning a true audiophile system.  It is decidedly vintage, yes, but still offers a very high level of performance even by modern day's standards.

Thanks for looking!

Components Toggle details

    • Audio Research D240 MKII
    Running two of these solid-state amps in bridged-mono configuration:  480 watts per channel @ 8 ohms
    • Audio Research LS7
    Tube line amplifier with (4) Russian type-6922 tubes
    • Audio Research PH3
    Tube phono preamplifier with (3) Russian type-6922 tubes
    • Bluesound Vault 2
    Ripper/storage/streamer device with built-in MQA capable DAC.  Using BlueOS and Tidal clients on both Windows PC and Android platforms.
    • Denon VL12 Prime
    Part of Denon`s Pro DJ line.  Direct-drive turntable with Shure M97xE moving magnet cartridge.
    • Denon DVD-2900
    Universal disc player; used for Redbook CD, DVD-Audio and SACD disc playback.
    • Thiel Audio CS 3.5
    3-way type loudspeaker with Thiel CS 3.5 Electronic Bass Equalizer (upgraded by Rob Gillum at Coherent Source Service)
    • Tripp Lite LCR-2400
    AC voltage regulator with Isobar AC spike and noise filters
    • AudioQuest Golden Gate
    RCA interconnects for all source components to line-stage
    • MIT Cables Terminator 2
    RCA interconnects from line-stage to Thiel Electronic Bass Equalizer and then to each amplifier
    • MIT Cables AVt-3
    Speaker cables, 8 foot, banana plugs from amplifiers with spade terminations to speakers
    • Vibrapod Models 3, 4 and 5
    Vibration isolators for all components
    • VTI Manufacturing BL503
    Equipment rack

Comments 9

@captelee, @spiritofradio, @dorkyguyrandy, @kensw

Thanks everyone for your kind comments...they are very much appreciated!  I could not have completed this without the shared knowledge, help and experiences I've gotten from Audiogon and elsewhere.  

With regards to the painting, it is an original work by New Orleans artist Troy Guilbeaux that I bought April 11th 2011.  The really cool thing about it is that it was painted on what they call "Katrina Board", which is wood material they used to board-up condemned houses after Hurricane Katrina.  Troy salvaged pieces of this Katrina Board and did several pieces, many jazz themed, on one side and kept the original spray painted markings ("Do Not Enter", "House Condemned", "House Cleared" , etc.) left untouched on the reverse side.  

Again, thanks everyone for looking!



Love the artwork too! Is it an original or print?


Very nice classy system. I’m kind of doing the same thing with audio classics. Vandersteen 2ce’s, Audio Research SP9 preamp and a D115 power amp. 
Nice to hear that you like the racks. I’m ordering one from them next week. Enjoy listening. Thanks for sharing. 


This is great.  Very much admire and agree with your approach to hi-fi.  We don’t have to spend a fortune to get great sound and it’s just so much fun.


Beautiful space and I like the artwork.
Well thought out selection of components and well done! I bet it sounds great.

Ag insider logo xs@2xcaptelee


Yes, VTI audio racks are quite sturdy. The rack I’m using is rated for 350 pounds/shelf...more than adequate for just about any component, save the most overbuilt (and expensive) monoblock amps. 

Timbernation racks are wonderful, but were just out of my price range. 

Good luck!



I like the VTI rack. is it sturdy?

I am thinking about a Timbernation Rack!



Thanks!  The bench I'm using for my albums comes from Ikea...the Kallax bookshelf line.  Many different configurations, perfect size to hold albums and very reasonably priced versus purpose-made record storage. Good luck!


Nice system! Can I ask where you purchased the shelf with the albums?


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