Sorry I'm not much of one for percentages, but I'll give you my general opinion. The source is primary[it's first after all]. Pre/power combo is important, but not as important as the speakers. You need good cabling but no need to spend vast amounts, as most designs are limited by conductor geometry. The new Analysis Plus speaker cables out perform many more expensive types due to their unique hollow oval geometry. As for others, it depends on the level of your system. Power conditioners and assorted tweeks can make real contributions to a revealling system, but you need the basics right first. Good stands should not be considered optional- good acoustic isolation is essential to hear what your components are capable of.
I never did like numbers. But I advocate spending roughly equivalent amounts on source, amp, speakers until you are spending more than say $10k, and above $10k I would allow a greater weighting towards speakers. I am ignoring the preamp because the best amount to spend there is $0 - if you get what I mean. I make the point regarding the $10k limit because spending less than $3k on either source or amp is likely to get you something that a very revealing speaker is going to expose - to the detriment of long term listening enjoyment. There will be exceptions to this of course. How much to spend on the rest - interconnect, speaker cable, power cords, vibration control and room treatment - also depends on the value of the system, and is not a fixed percentage. On average I would advocate around 20%. I find the question concerning what is the most important component difficult to answer. It is a bit like asking which of your bodily organs is the most important. While both questions are answerable, the most relevant answer is that all of them need to be up to the task or it isn't going to work as well as it should. I find the points above on speaker cable and vibration isolation very easy to agree with. I often hear that speakers are the most important. I agree that this will always appear to be so in response to a brief listen. But I think the effect of long-term listening to poor electronics is underestimated. From one speaker to the next there can be dramatic differences in the performance envelope. But within the performance envelope of any speaker, the differences between electronics, while at first subtle, can be critical to long term musical enjoyment. Most speakers can be made to sound musical with appropriate electronics. Poor electronics can never be saved by a great speaker - they can only be masked by a poor one.
1- 7500 2-11% 3-14% 4-17% 5-7% 6-6% 7-36% 8-8% This is how currently it breaks down. As you have found my experience with speaker cables outweights interconnect changes case in point I went higher (it was first) upgrading interconnects and the differences were subtle, speaker cable did a major difference. In general we´re close with my heaviest investment at present in speakers. My source is for upgrading when digital format dust settles up and my amp is next. Besides the breakdown I agree with turntablemind on basics right i.e. power grounding and specially vibration control on components, this set up variables have been very important in improving total chain quality output that currently I have a match in general to friends systems costing much more. Regards
I have to disagree with all of the above. Nothing will influence the sound more than the speakers themselves. Would you connect a Krell amp to a pair of PSB alphas? A good speaker will reveal all the good and bad that your electronics have to offer, but you won't hear that Krell with a $200 bookshelf. After that, go for the source next. Getting into serious interconnects/speaker cable only makes sense when the rest is done right. 1)$26000 2)%15 3)%12 4)12% 5+6)11% 7)%45 8)%5 Room treatment is also most often ignored, but is usually one of the greatest influences. It's also not very practical for most of us(ie: spouse/pets/cost) and is the one area I do nothing about either. And when you're done driving yourself crazy with combinations, grab a beverage, forget about the equipment, and enjoy some fine tunes. Shayne.
Hi, I'm not one for numbers either, but upon thinking about where the money is in my system, I'd say it breaks down this way. 1)Source 2)Speakers 3)Amps 4)Interconnects/speaker wire 5) Pre-amp 6)Other tweaks (isolation/power line cond., etc.) The only reason I spent more on the source than the speakers is that it is a digital front-end and I'm taking into account the transport/DAC/Jitter-reduction. I would like to tell you that in a perfect world you would not have any one area that is "more" important than another. The whole system's synergy is what will give you the best sound. If I were to build from scratch, I'd say speakers first, followed by source component(s), amplifier and interconnects. I have heard a LOT of amps in my day and when you get down to it I don't think they influence the overall sound as much as other components do (I'm comparing similar price/power models!). Interconnects and speaker cable are not to be overlooked - it still amazes me that every one of my non-audiophile friends drops $2-3K at Best Buy on a complete system and uses the El-Cheapo color-coded cables and lampcord! I always say; "You wouldn't put bald tires on a Ferrari would you?" - or in their case, a Mustang! Invariably I always get a reason why they don't think its worth it - after getting asked "What can I do to make my system sound more like yours?" The fact they're getting their equipment at Best Buy should tip you off they aren't listening to me. ANYWAY - sorry for the digression - I think from looking at the above responses, speakers are the #1 expense and for good reason. If you like the way THEY sound anything else will just be an improvement to that. HAPPY LISTENING!
I'm afraid that the question assumes too many things for an answer to be very helpful. I have a high percentage allocated to my preamp, but thats to some real degree because I have a large number of sources, so the primary chain condition is distorting. In real world systems, upgrading is often incremental, not all at once, so the oldest link is likely to be a lowball share. Preferences for speaker types and room size make different demands on amplification, and therefore affect the allocation (if I lived in an NYC studio apartment, I might well spend under 2k on a really good headphone amp and set of phones, which would leave a lot for the source).
Not sure what it means but here ya go: total msrp $11,189 100% source 4,000 36% preamp 1,085 10% power amp 3,900 35% interconnects 387 3% speaker cable 32 0% speakers 1,700 15% other 85 1% CD's 10,000 In the age of the www, and here at Audiogon, perhaps the ratios by the actual amount spent are as relevant as msrp's: actual price $6,449 100% source 2,200 34% preamp 1,085 17% power amp 1,050 16% interconnects 297 5% speaker cable 32 0% speakers 1,700 26% other 85 1% It just feels right to allocate equal resources to each part of the hardware chain. Coincidence?
Total(excluding CDP,Tuner,VPI HW16 & associated misc))$16,500 Source(TT)-32%, Pre-15%, Amps-13%, Interconnects-3%, Spkr Cables-2%, Loudspeakers-18%,Misc other-17%( Isolation stands-11%,line conditioning-6%) It appears that I'm totally in sync and in absolute agreement with Turntablemind.The best cabling is not necessarily the most expensive, just the most compatible with your associated components.Isolation from resonance and mains quality are the key to maximising your investment and are not just accessories but nearly components in and of themselves.