hardware or software: which is more imprtant ?

the best sound is achieved with the best source, regardless of the stereo system.

a master analogue tape recorded on a tube ampex tape deck is an excellent source. if you listen through a mediocre stereo system, the sound will be more satisfying than a poor recording played through todays high quality stereo systems. the flaws of the recording will be obvious and the result will be unpleasant.

unfortunately there is only one master tape. so, one tries to configure a stereo system and look for "good" recordings and hope for the best.

perhaps, we should be focusing more on the software and less on the equipment.

i notice there are two threads dealing with recordings.

i have a suggestion:

each of us should think about his/her 5 "best" sounding lps and 5 "best" sounding cds and list them, with a brief comment as to the particular characteristics of the sound.

it's not easy finding recordings which recreate the timbral accuracy of instruments.

i will think about my own collection of lps and cds and indicate my top 10. if someone else wants to initiate a thread, requesting such information, that's fine.

i think the criterion for quality of sound should be the rendering of instruments as realistically as possible, rather than issues of dynamics, soundstage, pace, rhythm or timing, resolution or frequency response.
While well done recordings are nice, I am more into the music that is recorded. It can be an awesome recording and if the music sucks, it won't get played again. So I may not be the best to participate in your thread.

The longer I am in this hobby, I don't think I am an audiophile. While I appreciate well recorded music, it isn't an absolute neccesity.
So, I guess my answer would be neither is most important. I think that belongs to the music.

Forgot to add that in my first post.
I would think that a good recording is more important than the hardware when looked at in extremes (=if the recording is way below todays standard in quality it ruins everything). I must say however that for current CD or SACD releases I can happily enjoy the average recording on my system, they are good enough if the music delivers. Then of course the top 10-20% of extremely well recorded material are a true delight if I happen to also put them into the top 10-20% of how much I like the music.

For a long time I felt there were only very few really enjoyable recordings, but I was wrong. Many good enough recordings were killed by the bad room acoustics. Now I am convinced that the room acoustics are the biggest barrier to good sound at home. There are sufficiently good recordings and good enough hardware available to really enjoy!
I can control my system, I can't control the recording.
I'd rather have "perfect" recordings than a "perfect" system with hit or miss recordings.