How To Build The Perfect Hi-Fi System
What Hi-Fi|January 2021
On the quest for a dream set-up? Let us guide you…

As the old football saying goes, “Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships”. It’s an elegant metaphor, whether it’s describing a musical ensemble, a football team or a hi-fi system. In essence, building the perfect hi-fi system is about balance as much as individual quality. The whole should amount to more than, or at the very least equal, the sum of its parts.

But balance is one of those concepts that can be hard to define, let alone to achieve. While a lot of it boils down to trial and error, there are certain guidelines that will aid and, hopefully, ease your path to sonic enlightenment.

Read on and we’ll explain how to assemble the right components and build the perfect hi-fi…

Set a budget

The first two questions you need to ask yourself are: what will you be using your system for, and how much are you willing to spend?

The latter relates to the former. It would perhaps be easiest to begin at the start of the chain – what will you be using as your source?

Each decision will have a knock-on effect: if you play all your music from your smartphone or tablet but still want a traditional hi-fi system, you’ll likely want something with Bluetooth, wi-fi or Apple AirPlay 2 built in.

If you play mostly vinyl, you’ll need to think about whether you want a turntable or stereo amplifier with a phono stage, or will buy a stand-alone phono stage; a separate unit will ensure greater versatility when upgrading in the future.

And if you’ve taken on the task of ripping your entire music collection, maybe it’s time to retire that CD player and invest in a wellfeatured music streamer instead?

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