Re: best system for senior classical music listener
I have a couple of friends, one with mild hearing loss and one with fairly severe (I can't remeber the exact freq. cut off, but it is pretty bad). Even with their hearing loss they are still able to recognize many things such as spacial cues, imaging, cabinet resonances, digital glare, bass response, etc) To me all of those are important to maximize the enjoyment of your music collection. I bring this up because although you may not hear some of the things going on in a audio system, I think you will be surpised at the number of things that you will be able to discern.
Here would be my suggestion for a system that would get you into the "high end" quality with out breaking the bank. I was at Rocky Mountain this year and heard a ton of equipment.
The prices listed are new retail.
LSA Group LS2 towers- around $2500 (very tought to find something that can beat these in this price range)
Belles 22A Vacuum Tube Preamp- $2500 (very hard to beat at this price point)
Belles Solist 5 Amp -$1100- (There are probably 1-2 others in this price range that would work as well)
Arcam CD 17 $999- (there are probably a few other players out there at this price point as well)
The above would give you as system that would be very enjoyable and compete or beat systems that cost many times more.
I would also highly consider something like a SONOS into a high end DAC vs a CD Player. I'm using an eXemplar tube DAC with a SONOS. I just got it about a month ago and it is the coolest thing that I have ever owned. 1. You have all of your CDs at your finger tips, but it also plays any radio station in the US, maybe the world. It also comes with Rhapsody which I have just started playing with. You can search any CD in the Rhapsody data base and immediately begin to play it. Yesterday I went through the whole Bela Fleck collection as well as Melody Gardot's two CDs. This service allows you to "prelisten" to a CD before you actually go out and buy it. Rhapsody is MP3 quality so it wouldn't be ideal for critical listening, but it is great for back ground music. It even has 2-3 stations that play classical music 24/7.
I didn't mention a table. I sold my sota saphire about 5 years ago, so I'm not so current on analog. My freind says the entry level Khuzma is probably the best out there in that price range. I think it is about $3,200 with arm and cartridge? but not sure.