Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser
I'm looking to dip my toe into the audiophile wading pool. Space and finances dictate that I buy an all-in-one mini-system like the Arcam Solo or Linn Classik. I listen to everything from Madonna to Mozart, but primarily to classic jazz (e.g. Miles, Coltrane) and acoustic. Are there any other music systems I should be looking at? What are good CDs to bring to a store to demonstrate a music system's strengths and weaknesses?
If you're really serious, first buy a good pair of headphones (e.g. Sennheiser 600 or 650, AKG 700, Etymotic ER-4) and a headphone amp (the HeadRoom BitHead is a good value, especially if some of your listening is on a computer) and some better recordings of audiophile standards such as Dark Side of the Moon (I'm partial to the Mobile Fidelity remaster). While headphones are crap for spatial cues, good headphones will otherwise let you know what's on the disk. Then you can look for speakers that do the same things, while throwing a solid image.
Oh, and when you get down to it, spend as much as you can on speakers, and as little as you can bare on electronics...