What Gear Would You Choose to Build a $5,000 System?

By |

What Gear Would You Choose to Build a $5,000 System?


Home-theater-225x140.jpgWe've said it many times on the pages of this website: Your hard-earned dollar has never gone further than it does in today's home theater market. Whether we're talking about speakers, electronics, or displays, a high level of AV performance is attainable for far less money, compared with 10 or 20 years ago. To put this idea to the test in real-world terms, we asked the HomeTheaterReview.com writers this question: What gear would you choose to build a $5,000 system? The only requirement was that the system needed to include speakers, electronics, and sources.

Their answers are presented below, and they cover a variety of setups. Naturally, our audiophiles focused on two-channel audio systems. Some writers put together a complete multichannel AV system (even a little Atmos!), but they pre-supposed the existence of a TV or display, which gives more wiggle room on the audio gear. A few brave souls factored a display into the $5,000 budget, which certainly ups the challenge for the other pieces in the system. Our totals are based on current street prices, and we did give a little leeway on the $5,000 price point ... but not much.

Jerry Del Colliano
Two-Channel Audio System
• Speakers: Tekton Design Pendragon Tower Speaker ($2,000/pair)
• Subwoofer: SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer in Gloss Black ($600)
• Electronics: ELAC Element Digital Integrated Amplifier ($699)
• Source: ELAC DS-S101-G Discovery Music Server ($1,099) with Apple iPad Mini ($400) for Roon Interface
• Accessories: GIK Acoustics Room Treatment ($200)
Total price, $4,998

Dennis Burger
5.1-Channel AV System
• Speakers and Subwoofer: RSL CG3 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System ($999)
• Electronics: Anthem MRX 520 AV Receiver ($1,399) 
• Display: Sony XBR-65X930D 65-inch UHD TV ($2,200)
• Source: Sony PlayStation 4 Pro Gaming Console/Video Player ($400)
Total price: $4,998

Two-Channel Audio System
• Speakers: GoldenEar Triton Three+ Tower Speaker ($2,500/pair)
• Electronics: Peachtree Audio nova150 Integrated Amplifier ($1,799)
• Sources: Onkyo DP-X1 High-resolution Portable Digital Music Player ($600) and Amazon Echo Dot ($50)
Total price: $4,949

Myron Ho
5.1-Channel AV System
• Speakers: Polk Signature Series S60 Tower Speaker ($700/pair), S35 Center Speaker ($250), and S20 Surround Speaker ($250/pair)
• Subwoofer: SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer in Black Ash ($500)
• Electronics: Outlaw Audio 975 AV Preamp ($549) and Outlaw Audio Model 5000 Amplifier ($599)
• Display: Epson Home Cinema 3700 Projector ($1,299) and Elite Screens M120UWH2 Manual Pulldown 120-inch Screen ($145)
• Source: OPPO Digital UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player ($550)
Total price: $4,842

Steven Stone
Two-Channel Audio System
• Speakers: Spatial M3 Turbo S Tower Speaker ($2,795/pair)
• Electronics: Cambridge Audio CXA80 Integrated Amplifier ($1,000)
• Source: ELAC DS-S101-G Discovery Music Server ($1,099)
Total price: $4,894

Ben Shyman
Two-Channel Audio System
• Speakers: Paradigm Prestige 15B Bookshelf Speaker ($1,598/pair)
• Subwoofer: GoldenEar ForceField 5 Subwoofer ($999)
• Electronics and Source: OPPO Sonica DAC/Music Streamer ($799) and Red Dragon MkII 500 Mono Amplifier (two for $1,498/pair)
Total price $4,894

Greg Handy
5.1-Channel AV System
• Speakers: ELAC Uni-Fi UF5 Tower Speaker ($998/pair), ELAC Uni-Fi UC5 Center Speaker ($349), ELAC Debut B4 Surround Speaker ($180/pair)
• Subwoofer: SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer in Black Ash ($500)
• Electronics: Emotiva XMC-1 AV Preamp ($1,999) and Emotiva A-700 Seven-Channel Amplifier ($599)
• Source: Sony UBP-X800 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player ($298)
Total price: $4,923

Bob Barrett
5.1.2-Channel AV System
• Speakers: GoldenEar Triton Seven Tower Speaker ($1,400/pair), GoldenEar SuperCenter X Center Speaker ($600), GoldenEar SuperSat 3 Surround Speaker ($500/pair), GoldenEar Invisa 525 In-Ceiling Speaker for Height ($500/pair)
• Subwoofer: GoldenEar ForceField 3 Subwoofer ($500)
• Electronics: Denon AVR-X3300W AV Receiver ($999)
• Source: OPPO Digital UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player ($550)
Total price: $5,049

Terry London
Two-Channel Audio System
• Speakers: Tekton Design Double Impact Tower Speaker ($3,000/pair)
• Electronics/Source: Lumin M1 DAC/Digital Audio Player/Preamp/Amplifier ($2,000)
Total price: $5,000

Scott Schumer
5.1.2-Channel AV System
• Speakers: Definitive Technology DT6.5LCR In-wall Speaker for Front ($199 each x3), Definitive Technology SR9040 In-wall Speaker for Surrounds ($500/pair), Definitive Technology DT6.5R In-ceiling Speaker for Height ($358/pair)
• Subwoofer: Definitive Technology IW Sub 10/10 In-wall Subwoofer ($949) and SubAmp 600 Amplifier ($699)
• Electronics: Onkyo TX-NR656 AV Receiver ($349)
• Display: Samsung UN70KU6300 70-inch UHD TV ($1,500)
• Source: Streaming services through Onkyo AVR and Samsung TV
Total price: $4,952

Adrienne Maxwell
5.1-Channel AV System
• Speakers and Subwoofer: SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 Speaker System in Black Ash ($1,000)
• Electronics: Pioneer VSX-531 AV Receiver ($249)
• Display: LG OLED65C6P 65-inch OLED TV ($3,500)
• Source: Sony UBP-X800 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player ($298)
Total price: $5,047

Additional Resources
What Is the Right Price for AV Gear? at HomeTheaterReview.com
The Year in Review ... and a Look Ahead at HomeTheaterReview.com
Our Reviewers' Guide to Having More Fun with Your AV System at HomeTheaterReview.com.


  • Comment on this article

Post a Comment
comments powered by Disqus

Latest Feature News Stories

Sep 18
CEDIA 2017 Show Wrap-up The annual CEDIA Expo--which celebrates high-end home theater, whole-house AV, and all things custom-oriented--took place recently in San Diego. Adrienne Maxwell and Dennis Burger discuss the latest trends and new products on display.
CEDIA 2017 Show Wrap-up

Sep 11
Do You Own an AV Boat Anchor? AV technology is always advancing (sometimes quite quickly), and that means some pieces of gear inevitably get left behind. Do you own a product that became obsolete far sooner than you would've preferred?
Do You Own an AV Boat Anchor?

Sep 04
Why Aren't There More Negative AV Reviews? One question we get from some of our most loyal readers is, "How come there aren't more negative reviews on the website?" Jerry Del Colliano answers this question and gives more insight into our review process.
Why Aren't There More Negative AV Reviews?

Aug 27
Have You Attended a Listening Event Recently? Looking for a pressure-free way to audition the latest AV gear? Check to see if your local specialty retailer hosts regular listening or AV demo events. Adrienne Maxwell describes a recent event she attended at Colorado's ListenUp store.
Have You Attended a Listening Event Recently?

Aug 21
Should AV Retailers Worry About Amazon Smart Home Services? Amazon has launched its Smart Home Services to provide in-home setup and tech support in limited markets. Should specialty AV retailers be worried? Jeff Berman asks industry analysts for their take.
Should AV Retailers Worry About Amazon Smart Home Services?