Audiophile Results

Which component is the most critical, the processor or the amp? I hope to attain a audiophile stereo system as the front end of a HT room.
I'd say the amplifier. A great amp with an average processor should easily out perform a great processor with an average amp. The processor technology changes all the time. Today's top line processor is tomorrows mif-fi.
Depends....a good expensive processor should give you great flexiblility on sources and tailoring teh sound (may even adjust for room modes (notch filtering))

A great amplifier will get you better sound - generally more headroom and better transients - provided you have speakers that will make use of the extra amp performance! (Don't spend 10K on an amp and preamp and only $500 on speakers. Imagine a racing car with no gearbox and tires!)
the signal is more important than the amplification.

the digital source will have a greater impact than an amplifier.
In my system, the processor made a huge difference. Getting 24/196 with upsampling will make a difference vs a mid-fi 24/96 from 10 years ago or so...
Having 2 channel direct, 8 channel direct and/or a pass thru mode makes a difference.
Also consider toslink vs coax digital for quality.
A system is only as good as its weakest link.
On a brighter note, if you have an "ok" processor that has 2 channel direct with a good cd/dvd, it may get you by for now?
As you can see, there is no one correct answer. Everyone will have their own opinion to share with you, but what works for them may or may not work for you. You just have to listen for yourself.
I would suggest some form of balance. A great A/V processor with weak amplification will sound no better or worse than a great amp driven by a weak A/V processor.

I intend to use Thiel's new 3.7 for my mains and therein lies the problem.I fell in love with a very high end speaker,however
I am used to Outlaw equipment,I am trying a Classe SSP-300/CA-5100.Yes The Classe does sound somewhat better,but I can do so much more with the Outlaw 990.I find the Classe processor very tedious to operate.I want the high end sound with the comfort of being able to operate it easily.
The speakers. Ultimately, the link in the chain that turns electricity into sound waves.
Stop this thread right here.

Perhaps you have heard this before but a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.

It is a system. Questions like "most important" or "weakest link" or "most critical component" are impossible to answer.

I do agree with JW94055 to start with speakers since they are the most colored of any component. Once you have speakers you like work your way back.
You've got it all wrong,the most important component in your system is the source,always has and always will be.
Stop the presses and hold it right there mister.

Ah, nevermind.
There is always the option of getting a preamp with an A/V bypass feature, so you can keep your 2 channel signals completely seperate from the HT system. Take a look at the system diagram in my system.
If you want good two channel music results combined with the ability to do home theater, do not use a surround processor as your main preamp. Get a real analog two channel preamp (preferably one with a processor input) and a separate surround processor.

Any surround processor will be compromised as a two channel preamp because of all of the digital garbage sharing the same chassis and power supply.
Mark, I've heard great speakers sound very good with average electronics. I've never heard average speakers sound any better than average no matter how good the front end is.

The differences between average front ends and great front ends are subtle. The differences between average speakers and great speakers are HUGE,

The differences between great front ends are even subtler while the differences between great speakers are still HUGE.

Any front end will work in any room which cannot be said about speakers.

You must find a speaker that pleases you and works in your room and then find electronics that mate well with them.
And I suppose taped recordings sound better than the record from which it was dubbed,right.
what does that mean?
I like the chair
And I suppose taped recordings sound better than the record from which it was dubbed,right
That's copy. The subject here is different: sound reproduction.

Actually, Herman is correct in his assertion, both empirically (you can try it) and measurably.

The linear & non-linear distortions produced by the speaker, and amp-speaker interface are very broad -- not to speak of spkrs placement within a room; by comparison, the distortion product due to up-chain electronics is small.

Also keep in mind that more source components are reasonable performers nowadays -- as opposed to the '70s when Linn marketed the concept of "source first" (they sold a source components after all...). EVen Linn doesn't advocate this anymore (not with the same vehemence, anyway): the sales pitch now is, "system". Likwise in advertising, where the all-round excuse for unsuccessful campaigns was, "garbage in garbage out". Cheers