If cables are ruled out as a component, then my most changed component is the digital source as well. Amplifier would be my second choice, but not a close second
Actually I've stopped changing digital gear as well, not because my Classe CDP-1 is THE ONE though. It's very nice for digital playback, but I've realized that analogue is THE ONE. Neither my Classe or my Sony SACD sound as good as my inexpensive analog rig. I'll probably start concentrating on upgrading the analogue components now. I still listen to cd's, but only when I'm too lazy or busy to clean and setup an LP.
I'm with Sugarbrie, I have had three pre-amps in the last year. I have been fortunate to have replaced the old with something better each time. It must be some kind of foolish obsession because I still check for pre-amps first even though I really need a new amp. Is there a twelve step program for this?!?
Cables. probably gone thru 5 sets of cables, at least. as for the rest, I've changed digital front ends, preamp/amp, and speakers three times each so far. So those are about even. I've also gone thru three listening rooms/areas. Three listening chairs too. Three audio racks. Three seems to be my lucky number right now. ;-)
Ask me in about six months, and I'll probably say "tubes." Just got a valve pre and power amp. "All right partner.. You know what time it is.. Keep on rolling.." -Fred Durst. Yeah I'm definitely showing my age. 24.
I remember back in the mid 80's Digital was the advertised as the perfect sound right. It's interesting how many people converted to digital at that time are now comming back to Analog. The fact that people with digital have changed there front end so much tells how wrong that mid 80's statement is. For me none of the above except cables. I ocasionally change a amp or preamp but classic quality components dont go out of style and some of the best equipment is not necessarly current production although there is some nice stuff out there now. I find that people that change ther system less are the most satisfied and those that change the most are seeking something that most likely will never be found.