Hardest component to decide on

What was the hardest component to decide on when assembling your system? For me, speakers were pretty easy because the differences are large.
The amp/preamp are hardest for me to get the right combination of resolution while still being musical and being able to drive the speakers.
Speakers were the hardest for me.

I maintain that all things being equal speakers are the least important link in the chain. Recently I determined that in my chain they were also the weakest link in the chain.

When I started looking for speakers I found that there is a lot more hype about speakers than there is about other gear. I narrowed my choices down to four: Wilson Watt/Puppies; Sony SS-M9ED; B&W Signature 30; and Kharma Ceramique 1.0.

It was very frustrating to have to make the decision since none of these are bad speakers, and all of them have very good aspects to them. And none of them are cheap!

Prior to this I did a little homework for each piece of gear and then bought something. It took me probably ten times longer to decide which speaker to buy. At this price I better be willing to keep them round for a long time, where with my electronics they were not as expensive.

I decided on the Kharma's but it took a long time, and I probably even lost some sleep over the decision. I hope they get here soon!
Room treatments are tough for me. They are all unacceptable to my spouse. Comparisons and listening tests are difficult at best. Many products are so different from each other it's hard to get any idea what impact will be in a given room/system.

Digital source are tuff for me, differences are so small and yet so large. I am in that soon to upgrade digital source mode at this time. Could be a long process, for me anyway.

I've got the same dilema as Spencer with room treatments and WAF. If I kept to the physical chain of the system I'd say speaker cables as they can make a pretty big difference, yet the difference they make is extremely system dependent IME.

Turntables and phono cartridges because it is virtually impossible to get a demo comparison of even two units on a "side-by-side" basis. Side-by-side demos of all other equipment is easy by comparison.

Mr. Kidknow
Room treatments. It takes so long to get them right and it is very difficult to do a comparison since it's pretty bulky and time consuming to set up. It's probably best just to hire a professional and call it a day -- especially once you get into the "built-ins" (e.g., Albert Porter's configuration).

Close behind in difficulty is everything else ;-)