Speakers/room 1st, followed by preamp, then amp. The source would be rght up there with the preamp, IMHO...
The best answer is that everything in the chain matters. I have been listening lately to a $16K amp with $4K speakers and those speakers sound so much better then they do with lesser amps that it can hardly be overstated. (Not that the $ means everything, but I am finding now that there are many rather expensive amplifiers that have qualities that no far less expensive amplifiers can match.)
In general "the preamp is more important that the amp" is one of the larger audio fallacies around. I'm not sure where it came from. It's flat-out untrue for me over the course of trying dozens of preamp/amp combos.
Totally agree with TVAD and it is much easier to screw up an amp purchase than a preamp purchase (for the most part). Having said that, both pale in comparison to the importance of the speaker (and room) in determing the overall sound and quality of your system. If you don't that right and to your liking, no preamp or amp is going to make that big a difference, not compared to the speaker and room.
I agree with the prevailing opinion so far that the amp is more important.
Having said that, I have some experience with the components you mentioned, and if it were me, I would prefer the Anthem Statement D2 over the Anthem AVM50 for sound quality, and I would be willing to offset the additional expense of the D2 by buying a somewhat lesser amp, namely the Anthem Statement A5, rather than the P5 you mentioned. In my experience, the A5 and P5 sound very similar, though obviously the P5 is considerably more powerful. But if the A5 is powerful enough to meet your needs, I would buy it and use the savings to purchase the D2.
How about this? (1)Good source,cabling.(2)Pre amp, cabling to amp.Amp can only amplify that what you feed it .If your speaker is not full range can the full sound one expects be achieved? so I would agree with the speaker first,in todays speaker market I dont see where on a whole the speaker response is of old 20hkz/20kgh(not close w/lettering i know)for speakers. Speaker cabling just as important to get the clear sound.If your pre amp muddles up the sound, your amp can only make it worse.PRE AMP/AMP.A axiom pass/pre Used.its a great sound. Good Luck
PRE-AMP.So, as long as the amp and the speakers are best buds?they can take the just alright music that your pre has sent it and transform it into beautiful music? Your speaker & amp can make that happen? the checking to make sure all components match spec wise is a given.If your speaker is 100 watt max,200 watt amp might not work,But i think the amp can only amplify the signal its fed..Your speakers will let you hear all that mess,as long as your speaker covers the full freg.range
I guess I should have put I have great speakers that aren't leaving the system, they're rated 150w to 300w per channel, they are ATC monitors they need power and when they get it the sound is truly amazing as I found out yesterday, a guy hooked them up to the ayre v5xe amp and ayre pre, pretty sweet ! So 1 last question guys, he's trying to talk me into a 2 channel for my fronts for music and a 3 channel for my center and rears for home theater, is this good or a waste, thanks for the help !
I do not know what the difference in cost of this versus 5 ch amp. What he is saying may sound a little better but I do not know for sure. I am very familiar with Ayre and this is indeed a nice pre/amp combination. I would imagine that the dealers recommended set up would allow for an easier upgrade path in the future.