Best setup for classical music by price range


This forum is a delight as we all share musical appetite and some of us seems to have real competence and experience in building a nice system.

What is for you the characteristic of a good classical oriented system ? Which is the best system you heard and that is still in production in these price range :

  1. Under 5000 €
  2. Under 10.000€
  3. Under 20.000 €
  4. Under 50.000 €
  5. Sky is the limit €

Best regards


I couldn’t do the costings in € but I assume you’re looking for a CD based system.

At the budget end I’d go Rega Apollo, Naim XS3, Kudos S10.

Middle Rega Isis, 282/250/Kudos 505s

Really high end dCS Player, Naim 552/500, Kudos 808s.

But speakers of course room dependent.

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Hi LindsayM,

After meditating the wonderful contribution to topic (CD), I’ve decided to stay in the 100% numerique path, I continue to by CD’s but I’ll rip them.

In which case at the budget end Naim CD5XS, middle Naim NDX2/555 top I’d probably still stick dCS.

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If I was listening only to classical music, I would go for all tubes electronics. Without hesitation.


Hi Frenchrooster,

I’ve never own a tube amp, why are they recommended for classical music ?

For me, good tubes amps can reveal more all the nuances, colours, natural tones of the acoustic instruments. They sound more real. You have to experiment yourself. It’s difficult to describe. The micro dynamics are also more true.
These aspects are very important in classical music.

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For the sky’s the limit,I think the Living Voice Vox Olympians with possibly Kondo or Audionote M10 and Gaku on monos or the Ongaku.
Audionote CD player or DCS
Audionote TT3 .

The price is staggering.


Put simply ,Tone and tonal colour with a spacious type of presentation .

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I have limited experience of valve systems. However, there is a common myth, not necessarily on the forum, but wider that Naim systems are not suited to classical music. I listen intensively to classical music on my system and I can say is that it is very suited to the genre.


Yes,I have a choice of the Nait XS2 and a Puresound 2a3 triode valve amplifier and both sound great with any music really.
I think this stems from the early Naim amps which did have a tendency to harshness but things have changed.
I remember having a demo of the original Naim CDS with a 72 and 250 power amp into a pair of Heybrook HB1 or 2 can’t quite remember.

It sounded marvelous playing Mahler’s 5th symphony

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Assuming the classical music includes dramatic full orchestral works, a system capable of full spectral range, as near neutral character as possible, and capable of undistorted peak sound levels of more than 110dB at the listening position. Background noise should be very low. A less expensive system should get as near to that as possible - the most tolerable compromises being down to listener preference.

A good system should be able to play all styles of music well…


Sorry but saying classical covers an awful lot. I certainly don’t think valve is a panacea. It can be great for tone, but not always texture and certainly not microdynamics. Even some very good stuff does not convince me for piano, brass and even certain woodwind. Also cello, which is always tricky.

A lot of people seem to like very smooth, rich replay for classical - which is nothing like what it sounds like in real life.

dCS or Chord do the smooth, spatial detail thing but not the rest, in my opinion. But I wouldn’t spend on CD now. Streaming can sound considerably better and I write that as an ex-CD555 owner.

If you listen to a lot of symphonic music try auditioning Shahinian Obelisks or the bigger models. Try auditioning them even if you don’t.


Definitely and you’re not alone. Naim has always been popular with classical musicians and modern composers. Half of London’s orchestras and conductors beat a trail to Studio 99 when it was around, except for Boult, who preferred his “gramophone” because nothing sounded like an orchestra…

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I’ve always heard some people say that Accuphase was the « best » suited brand for classical music (under 10.000€ amp category I guess), but I’ve never been told why.


I’ve always been told that I must avoid tube amp for classical music because they had a coloration (?) in the mids and where not very precise in term of instruments positioning but they are very good for vocal jazz that’s the reason why I have never considered them before.


Thank you for the contribution. I recognize myself in the category of people who like some « sweetness » in the reproduction because I think that too crispy or over detailed gears are not life-likely sounding : depending on the acoustic of the the hall and the seats positon, symphonies and opera can sound « mat » in lot of concert hall. The other major issue is the captation : if you aren’t musician, no one seats in the middle of the orchestra or on the top of a piano, but recording give the illusion of that. Consequence for me : if the recording is too close and detailed, and the reproduction system is too crispy, it’s very different from real life experience.

Ps. Keep in mind that I have a very limited culture in audiophilia so I quoting assertion I heard but never tried my self.

You can look on other forums where people have megabucks systems and listen to classical music. Most of them have tubes amps. The tubes amps in the past were generally sounding soft, mellow and coloured. But it’s no more the case , apart some brands like Conrad Johnson, Jadis….
Good tubes like Ear Yoshino, VAC, Ypsillon…Aries Cerat can have staggering dynamic range and well articulated bass, without loosing prat. And the bonus is a presentation that is so real that it’s something to really experiment.

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Given the 5 options, what are you looking for really? :relaxed:

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If the question was towards me, then It may be Aries Cerat integrated in the future.

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Sorry FR, I was asking the OP. :slight_smile:



I don’t think of buying a new system yet (hope not :-)), it’s only for my cultural background because there is so much references that I am confuse and I can’t listen to all gears by myself.

Ps. I found on internet a demo of Fyne speakers, they seems fantastic judging by YouTube videos, does anyone listened classical music through them ?

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