A little hi-fi shop in Charleston, WV called Absolute Sound. The shop was a house, and each room had a different setup. Their main room had a pair of 25 watt mono tube amps. I can't remember the name of the amps, but they were around $20,000. The preamp was an Audible Illusions Modulus 3. The CD system was a separate tranport/DAC setup, I don't remember the brand. The speakers were either Castle or some other brand that I don't remember, but I remember they were around $3,000 per pair. The system sounded so sweet and musical. It was fantastic.
I also did get to hear a pair of Infinity Epsilon, a totally different sound than mentioned above, but awesome nonetheless.
One thing that was also impressive, was those guys at Absolute Sound didn't care to switch components around to let the customer hear different things. They took the Audible Illusions preamp upstairs to another room and let me hear Rotel's RB 990 (their best at the time discounting Michi stuff) along with the RCD 990 (again at the time their best mass market cd player). The speakers were very small, but that system was very, very nice as well. The Rotel stuff did very well compared to the megabucks system in the main room. There was a definite grain or grit compared to the tube system, but as far as solid state goes, that was the best I have heard. The Rotel stuff sounded great with such a warm, musical tube preamp paired with them.
Fond memories...unfortunately Absolute Sound has closed its doors. I did meet with Michael Green (designer of Roomtunes speakers as well as many acoustic treatments used widely today-the treatments, not the speakers). I helped him set up his speakers to demo to the guys at the store. They carried his stuff for a while, I saw him in Stereophile for a couple years after that, and haven't heard much from him since. It was nice meeting him though.
He made these corner reverb eliminators that mount near the ceiling in the corners of your sound room. He said that corners act in ways like horns, and add undesireable latent sounds to the music. He told me how he made them, so I made them myself. I still use them, and they work very well.
Back on topic though, those are the best I've heard overall. Throughout all my ventures I've never had the opportunity to hear a pair of B&W's, and I'm sure many of the forum will say they are the best they've heard, speakerwise, as that's what the magazines say, and they seem to compare everything else to B&W, so I'm looking forward to hearing and maybe owning some of those.