Franchise player-the one untouchable component

We're all probably familiar with the term "franchise player" or "cornerstone of what we're building here" bandied about in sports. Knowing what you know now, if you had to start a system all over, what single component would you begin with? For me it would be my preamp, it's the signal caller that calls all the shots and puts the team (system) in a position to win. I seek a quick, dynamic, round system, the balanced offense where no one frequency spectrum is favored. No double tight-end I-Formation bass to 18 Hz or bust here!

Use whatever analogy you like, football, baseball, painting, military strategy, whatever. My question is where do YOU begin? And why?
I have one of those Stan Warren modified MSB Link DACs with the modified Aiwa CD changer as a transport. I am sure there is something better, but it would be at least 5 times the price. Everything else is up for grabs. Probably also keep the Nordost Quattro Fil that is my preamp-poweramp link.

In another smaller system I have there is a Stan modified DVD player. Probably keep that there also.

I would start with the room and a good power delivery. Than match the components and speakers to the room. Pre and source will than start on a good foundation which is the room and power. I would begin the same way as building a new home. Budget, engineer, blue print, and so on. A plan of the FINISHED project in fine detail before starting.
Here is my seven sophisticated steps:

2-powerline arrangements (wall sockets)
2-speakers with cheap basic speaker cables
3-amplification along with source(analogue first)and cheap interconnects
-- analogue source is to start building from
-- a-cartridge
-- b-phono
-- c-table
-- d-arm
4-speaker cables, interconnects advanced as tweaks
5-digital source(preference to CD-DAC combo)
6-powerline tweaks
7-other tweaks
even franchise players get traded if they try to play in the seasons past their prime. now that may not be true for MJ, but it sure is for my audio system. i've had my amp for about 8 years, longer than any other component--ever. i'd gladly sell it to upgrade, however, if the price were right. -kelly
My Audio Aero Capitole 24/192 CDP is my franchise player. I have signed him to a multiple year contract- no waivers!!
The problem I have is that I may have a great system and a great component but sometimes the urge strikes to try out prospects who 1) may be better and 2) may be cheaper. Of course the other truism is that the best trades sometimes are the ones you don't make. I regret selling off my Krell Audio Standard 2s a couple years back. That was a poor GM decision. Sort of like Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen?! Or Babe Ruth for $100,000 to finance Hello Nanette?! Audiophilia is bad but Red Sox disease is worse.
Tenor Audio amplifiers. The Michael Jordan of audio!