After decades of experimenting with audio, and the expenditure of more funds than I care to admit, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share.

1. As with jobs, motorcycles and spouses, you can’t have it all. After a certain point, you can only exchange features, good and bad, for other good and bad characteristics. Decide beforehand what’s most important to you, and buy a system that features the characteristics you value most — keeping in mind the size and nature of your sound room, the volume and type of music you prefer, and the tolerance of your spouse. I deliberately excluded budget as a consideration because if one wants something bad enough, the money can usually be made to materialize.

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