Priorities


Seems Ive read a lot of discussions that ask "which is more important, amps or preamps?" or "what will give me the most improvement, speakers or amps, or cables, etc?". From my perspective, there is a priority that should be followed to achieve the best sound. Some may disagree, but to me it's pretty logical that the order of importance is as follows:

1) Your ears. Get them checked, keep them clean, and consider a hearing aid if your hearing is compromised. If you cant hear well enough to appreciate the sound of your system, nothing can improve it.

2) Room acoustics. The best system will sound mediorcre if the room dimensions and or acoustics are not addressed. Deal with the obvious first then fine tune acoustics after your system is set up.

3) Speakers. Besides cost and aesthetics, speakers should be chosen that will work best for the type of music you intend to play and what the room dimensions will allow relative to your intended listening position. You cant stuff a pair of large Maggies in a small room that won't allow them to be properly placed nor should you expect a pair of smaller stand mounts to work in a large room with any authority. Some speakers work best with certain types of music but fall short with other types. If you have the wrong speakers for the room's size or musical preferences, it doesn't matter what components are feeding them. It'll always be a comprimise.

4) Amplification. Once you have correctly chosen your speakers, and only after having selected your speakers,  can you chose the amplification that will properly drive them. There are many issues to consider here (SS vs Tubes, impedance matching, cost, etc) which warrants a whole other discussion. The point is, you cant hope for optimum SQ without first addressing items 1,2, and 3.

5) Preamp. This assumes you need the phono stage or line stage gain a preamp provides in addition to the switching capability inherent in preamps. I say this because some source components have sufficient gain and controls to eliminate the need for a preamp. That said, a quality preamp can have a huge beneficial affect on SQ.

6) Source component. Whether CD player, streamer, turntable or other, this should be chosen based on preference as well as quality. Again, the best source components cannot reach their potential if the above items are not first addressed.

7) Source material. No amount of money spent can improve a poorly recorded source. Shop carefully.

8) Cables/racks/tweeks. These all may have an affect to a certain degree but if items 1-7 are chosen correctly, I wouldn't expect significant improvements. 

This is only my opinion of course and I realize some may take issue. I'm open to constructive comments if you disagree but, in the spirit of the holiday season, please keep it civil.

Merry Christmas to all,

J.Chip
jchiappinelli
Disagree? Only on a few details here and there.

1) Your ears. Don't matter. If you can hear, good for you. Listening is a mental activity, not mechanical. 

2) Room acoustics. The best system will sound mediocre if the room dimensions and or acoustics are not addressed. Sort of. Kinda. To a certain extent. Maybe. For sure its in there somewhere. Prolly.

3) Speakers. Besides cost and aesthetics, speakers should be chosen that will work best for the type of music you intend to play and what the room dimensions will allow relative to your intended listening position. That's the colored good enough point of view all right. Never lasts. People always tire of it. Thus all the incessant trading. Sooner people give this one up and admit its all about compromise and doing as little harm as possible sooner more people will make better choices and be happier for longer. Like me.

4) Amplification. Once you have correctly chosen your speakers, and only after having selected your speakers,  can you chose the amplification that will properly drive them. Yes and if you were smart and eliminated from contention everything under 92 dB sensitivity then amplifier selection becomes a breeze as just about anything will drive them.

5) Preamp. This is built into your integrated. See #4 above..

6) Source component. Turntable. CD is for background music and has little if any role to play in a high end system. Please. 

7) Source material. No amount of money spent can improve a poorly recorded source. Shop carefully. Better-records.com White Hot Stampers make this easy. But seriously, this creates a false impression. Its not the system's job to make recordings sound good. That's your job, to feed it records that sound good. The systems job is to play them back, whatever they are, for good or otherwise.

8) Cables/racks/tweeks. These all may have an affect to a certain degree but if items 1-7 are chosen correctly, I wouldn't expect significant improvements. Ouch. Slight disagreement here. These are all equally as important as speakers, source material, amp, and room. As will become crystal clear within an hour of listening to mine. All this stuff you think can't make significant improvements, listen as I take them out one at a time and you hear the music go from better than you ever heard to just like everything else, only of course a little better- but only a little.

This is only my opinion of course and I realize some may take issue. 
Not me. We are on the same page: Merry Christmas!

Chuck
Wow i did not know that.
Build a dedicated room.

After that, start a thread on an internet forum for endless debate on everything else.


Your ears. Don't matter. If you can hear, good for you. Listening is a mental activity, not mechanical.

Apparently doctors are worthless in helping anyone hear better and listening is all in your head and not in the functional organic parts of our body.  Focus on your mental abilities and stop worrying about whether your body parts are functioning correctly.

Is this MC guy for real? Does he truly believe his own b..s?
@three_easy_payments  
Is this MC guy for real? Does he truly believe his own b..s?
Three, not sure what you are talking about, give him credit.  Isn't he the first one to break the news that the Covid-19 pandemic is just a political hoax?





MC is a fiction of his own imagination.  Not everyone can manage that.

And oh yes, the malleus, incus, stapes, cochlea, etc. etc. are utterly irrelevant.


I’m afraid you guys are simply not paying attention.

First, the Pandemic is not just a hoax, it’s a “Democrat” hoax—and as one of the crisis actors paid to make it look like the nation’s ICU’s are “overflowing,” I oughta know.

Second, the idea that the health and condition of one’s hearing apparatus has anything to do with the ability to perceive sound and music is just flat-out socialist propaganda.

How do I know?  I have it on the very good authority of one of the members here, who claims not only to be an X-ray technician, but also to be “in medicine.”

Which brings to mind the old classic of the two old ladies who haven’t seen each other in decades:

  • So, do you have any children?
  • Yes, I have two wonderful sons.  One’s a doctah, and the other’s in medicine...Medicine, Visconsin.


Best wishes to all for a very Merry Christmas!🎄🎁 

(Sub-Commandant Abdul, regional coordinating commander of the [thoroughly imaginary] War on Christmas)

   --


@twoleftears   

MC is a fiction of his own imagination. Not everyone can manage that.

I can picture MC mumbling to himself all day "The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club." lol  Yeah, I think your thesis is likely spot on.
So many people think that just getting better equipment will solve all their listening problems.  But I have to agree that fixing the room / room acoustics, even by only adding a small forest of properly placed artificial ficus trees, will create a very good listening environment.  This will help the overall sound and maybe elevate the sound quality to the point where many listeners may be satisfied with their systems.  
Most important aspect of our hobby is to enjoy the music and share that joy with others. All the talk about best this and best that is the proverbial p.....g contest. That said OP spelled out a nice roadmap for reasoned improvement. Glad to see he put the Tweaksie Railroad last. 
@mc ....to pontificate that a power cord is equally important to sound quality as the speakers you choose is pure nonsense.

Merry Christmas
You have to give him credit...he had the opportunity and didn’t take it...MC did NOT mention Tektons at all, let alone his model of choice.
Is this his way of admitting he’s registered deaf???

It would explain a lot.




Probably claim he’s Beethoven reincarnated next.
@mc ....to pontificate that a power cord is equally important to sound quality as the speakers you choose is pure nonsense.


Not if you rely on daily Shock Therapy!
Can you be Beethoven and Einstein reincarnated simultaneously?  Tricky....
MC, MC....to say ones' ears are irrelevant in the mix is fallacy.

I had mine checked...spouse made it a 'must do', and I'm happy she made the fuss. Nearly my entire mid-range returned....remarkable how 'noisy' the day2day is with it back...*G*

Ignoring the last element of ones' 'listening system' is roughly comparable to spending the ransom on the front end, cables 'n all; then feeding the output to a pair of Red Light Specials @ Walmart, from the 'Return Rack'.

You're more than welcome to do whatcha' do.  But unless you take a pause for your cause and have a pro peer into your lovely lobes and the depths next to....

I've spent enough on the devices in my ears as some may spend on a SOTA DAC.

Best $ spent on fi of late.

Do it because it's intelligent, whether you think it's silly or not.
(Unless you're concerned that you've been fooling yourself of late....and having to 'begin, yet again' is an issue you'd prefer not to take...;)...)

Happy Post Xmas...and here's to a Better New Year.

Toast:
It's not the vehicle, but the destination that counts.
Enjoy your arrival.

Cheers, J


Thank you rel, I needed that. Millercarbon, you never want to go up against the US Navy.
J.Chip, nice Italian name. By all means take care of your ears because when they go forget about your ability to evaluate Hi Fi's. Hearing aids, at least at the current state of the art are poor from a fidelity standpoint. Hopefully, by the time I go deaf like every other member of my father's family they will have improved.
I have never liked the proposition that one should choose speakers based on genre. The best speakers will play anything. Truly great speakers will do it at convincing volume levels. Thinking that mini monitors can not drive larger rooms is a mistake. Many manufacturers use the same tweeter and mid/woofer in their mini's as they do in their biggest speakers. All you have to do is take the low bass out of them by using subwoofers and they can go very loud. Certainly, you are not going to put Maggies in a 10' X 10' room. 
Acoustics can be important depending on the room and the speakers. Most point source radiators require substantial help. Horns and some open baffle speakers less and line source dipoles sometimes none at all.
asvjerry, smart woman your wife. More often than not the hearing impaired become more of a social problem than anything else. They are usually quite happy not having to listen to everyone else's oral detritus.
On your last comment I have to whole heartedly disagree. The destination and the destinating are always a lot more fun when you arrive in a 911 particularly when it has bicycles strapped to the roof.  The kids doing the valet parking always give you special treatment. 

The most precious commodity of all is time.