Essentially, I feel its all ‘trial and error’.
Once a basic setup is in place, the actual dance begins.
I initially bought a B&K amp many moons ago. Used a Sony ES version HT receiver as the preamp. These fed a pair of BW 600 series floorstanders. Source was the FM Tuner in the receiver, or a 50 CDP carosel. TOS link connected the CDP. Monster RCAs hooked the HT receiver to the B&K amp. Speaker cables were Monster 12 ga. Bare endeed spool wire.
Quickily the new B&K amp was returned for a new Krell KAV 250 SS amp.
Wanna know how much ‘synergy’ was in that rig? Nada much. If at all. Clinical. Sterile. Only some DVDs would sound good now and then, or movies from HBO via the cable box.
So much for everything plays well together these days.
Nearly everything in that first outfit had a lot of room for improvement. Next up, I added the complimentary KAV preamp, but was still ignorant about the influence of better wires. I returned the KAV pre. Bought an Adcom pre. Took it back too.
Began rolling in and out speakers. Each more expensive than previous pairs. Ended up with Monitor audio Gold 60s.
About that time I found this site. 2002 – 2003.
Installed dedicated ckts. Began trying out wires and passive PLCs.
Still, nada so much synergy worth talking about. In fact, a lot of disappointment.
2004 got into a brand new house fully on spec. 4 ded ckts. This time.
Bought upscale Cardass cables, SR speaker wires.
Began auditioning still more. Tried more than 40 brands or models.
Sold the Krell. Bought a BAT VK500 w/BAT pk. Finally. Something worth sitting down and listening to. Added the comp BAT pre VK5. Muy better!
Sold the Gold 60s, bought VSA VR4 JRs. Upgraded the ancient velodyne sub to a DD15 series.
Bought a $3K SACD/CDP.
Auditioned half a dozen DACs. Bought one for $3K.
Got a Thor T1000 MK II line stage by selling the BAT VK5. Then, the term ‘wow’ could be injected into the conversation.
Things were the best I’ve ever owned at that point. So I sold off the amp and speakers.
Why, jim, why? Just because I feel a sound is great does not mean one will be unable to acquire better.
I’ve heard it said, ‘the good is the enemy of the best’.
I can languish in good and completely miss out on the best.
Sans amp and transducers, I bought EL34 mono blocks and Silverline Sonata IIIs.
Life came crashing thru my doors late one night and most everything went away quite quickly shortly thereafter as security suddenly had its priorities dramatically escalated. . great tunes are of no value if I’m dead.
… and the beat goes on.
I feel had I known of tube preamps at all, and added one to either the B&K or KAV 250 I might have lived with that combo for a fairly good while. As both of these amps in combination with a tube preamp demonstrated fascinating ‘SYNERGY’, they could not have displayed nor did they with SS preamps.
Consequently I agree theres little rhyme and reason for blue printing synergy after all due considerations and apparent feedback.
Achieving synergy however demands experimentation, some out of the gbox thinking, some trust, and a truly open mind.
Like my former self, some will never experiment with wires, power cords or power conditioners. On this same myopic note not many will mate tubes with SS, or go all tubes front to back as the power train for their audio arrangement.
My own only imagined fear continues to keep my hands off of ultra high eff horn speakers and low watt tube amps. Why? Beats me. I have no viable factual argument to sustain that prohibition, its all merely contempt prior to investigation I suppose.
If ya never try, ya will never know for sure.