What is your cost for each system category ?

What cost priarity do you have for each system category: Speakers, Amplifier(s), Preamplifier(s), Primary Source (CD, tuner, turntable, etc.), and cables. This will help to determine where money should be spent in developing the ideal high-end stereo system regardless of total system price. Notice that I'm limiting the source to the primary unit only. You may have spent a bundle on all of your sources, but you can only listen to one source at a time. I'll start off by providing my priarity list.
Speakers: $20,700 37%
Amplifers: $16,800 30%
Preamplifier: $3,900 7%
CD Player: $6,700 12%
Cables: $7,800 14%
Don't base your components solely on cost. Pick the gear based on how it sounds to you and not by the price tag.

The pricing guidelines should be just that & use them as an aide, as not to go over you total system budget.
The main emphasis is %, not cost, for each category to determine the priority of each.
Here's an example of why such questions are next to meaningless. I'm in the process of replacing an integrated amp with separates. (I'm getting a new cabinet, with somewhat limited ventilation, and I don't want to put an amp inside.)

Now, this will approximately double the cost of the amplification portion of my system, and substantially increase its percentage share of the total cost. Is the new ratio better than the old? Worse? After all, the percentage devoted to speakers, which I would argue are the most important component, will go down. Have I done something wrong? Is my system now "out of balance" until I upgrade to a more expensive pair of speakers?

Of course not.
I like to start with the cables, and I think that they should be at least 50% of the total system budget. Every erudite audiophile knows that cables are components, and the electronics and transducers are nothing without them.
I leave everything up to my ears and what I can, comfortably afford. Out of balance $$ wise? Don't relate. Out of balance sonically? Intimate experiences with that. I never really looked at my system in the way of ($) percentages. For my taste, my system is sonically, and thoughtfully balanced. peace, warren

I do not truly know why you have posted this question. But I have seen many, many discussions on this matter of component cost vs. percetage of total system cost. I must say, with all respect, that looking at building an audio system by ANY set standard or formula, not make you right about anything, and will not GUARANTEE the proper balance and synergy that is possible regardless of cost v. percentage of system cost.

This hobby has been an incredible journey of discovery for me and a real life-learning experience. Let this discovery happen by careful planning based on knowing yourself and what is right for you. I mean it. After immersing myself in this hobby for the last five years by going to dealer showrooms, 5 CES shows and 2 Stereophile shows, I am finally at peace. I now understand the true subjectiveness of this audio hobby.

Is it wrong to pair a $5000 amp with a 2K pair of speakers and then cable it up with a $200 set of DIY cabling. I don't think so as long as it sounds right to YOU in your system.

Balance, to me is most important sound-wise, not percentage-wise. Honestly, I have owned a $40k retail system (front end) and had to pair it with a crappy pair of $300 DCM speakers. The DCM's never sounded as so good. Really! I hated those speakers. They were just all bad....with my all bad crappy starter gear.

If you ever hear 7k pair of cables, or whatever, elevate your system to the level of revelation and righteousness like you have never heard before, I believe you will have found the right percentage ration for YOU.

I guess what we have here is a good lesson in humility. It's fine to start off with general formulas. Your right that as one gets deeper into this obsession, the more individualistic the system becomes. The only thing that we all have in common is to have a system that pleases ourselves.

I tried to follow the "Golden Rule Formula" to the letter of the law for room dimension and speaker position, but found it to be impractical due the speakers that I have which are Khorns. Instead, I tinkered with rear speaker position and levels to get the imaging that was missing from using only front speaker Khorns.

I was told by the maker of the subwoofers that I bought that I MUST place the subs in room corners to get the best effect. That was impractical, because the Khorns were there. To solve this problem, the subs were positioned above the Khorns in the corner. Although unorthodox, the setup works.

As mentioned in responses to this thread, cables should be treated as seriously as the other main units in the system. I spent a bundle on cables after listening to this philosophy for the past year. Personally I found little difference between the top of the line Nordost and it's middle of the line Red Dawn. It certainly was not worth spending $2,500 more per meter. However, I found a big, big difference between the middle of the line Madrigal Proceed, and the top of the line Mark Levinson amplifiers.

I know that most of you think Wilson Puppies are God's gift to mankind, however, I have found them to be too tame and sound weak. To me nothing even comes close to the dynamics and lifelike sound of, please forgive me, Khorns.

The purpose of this thread was to see how close most of you came to a general consensus of priorities. The general consensus of priorities for experienced "Goners" is simply to have a system that pleases the individual.
I didn't plan on it, but it ended up equally divided.
cable cost the most, but only because they require a long run.
BTW: your orginal formula,if you will, does not have racks, stands (amplifier and speaker) OR power conditioners. Just some additional $ mania to add to the pie. FWIW, the above are, (especially power conditioning) significant elements to a WELL balanced audio system. peace, warren
Seriously, I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about the absoulute percentages, but I'd try to make sure that you spend the least on cables. You have far, far less to gain from an expensive cable than from a better component.
I recently came to the same conclusion. Does anyone want to buy my Virtual Dynamics highest end cable?
Doesn't it suck to make a joke and nobody gets it? Rest assured, it cracked me up.
Karls, that's OK; everytime you buy a Valhalla cable, Nordost laughs all the way to the bank.
It was interesting to view the system from this perspective. I have long considered the front-end to be the most important part of the whole. I did not expect the Amplifier and Speakers to make up such a large percentage of the total cost.
Speakers = 18.75%
Amplifier = 18.75%
Turntable/arm/cartridge = 11%
CDP = 11%
Pre-amp = 14%
Phono Stage 12.5%
Interconnect/speaker cable 14%
Do I win anything? Am I well balanced? Am I single ended?
I wouldn't talk too much trash there Nrchy. This thread is a cousin to your "signal" loss thread. I'll give you a blue ribbon for your well-balancedness, though.

With more system information I think a cost ratios do mean something. It is murkied by personal preference, so one has to give the ratios a range, but after that, what does it mean? That the person with a system like mine who spends 50% of their budget on cables is audio retarded is one conclusion that can be drawn. Or maybe that person stole most of their equipment, but not their speaker cables...
CD player(dac & transport) 47%
Speakers(includes modification cost- parts only) 18%
Amp 16%
Speaker cables 9%
Power cords 4%
Tweaks 3%
Interconnect(there's only 1 pair and they're 3 feet long) 3%
Ohlala I was not aware that I was talking any trash, not that I have a problem with talking trash. I wouldn't mind being taken to task over it if I had done it. What are you misunderstanding about my post. My initial comments were somewhat introspective since I was surprised by the balance of costs.
How do you know that this is related to 'the signal loss thread?' Is there some joke taking place about which I am unaware? Have I somehow stepped on your toes? Do you have sensitive feet?
I thought I had only responded to an honest question, I guess I was wrong!
Hey guys, let's control our tempers! Audiogon has a reputation for having civilized conversations. I hope that I haven't stepped on anyone's toes.
LOL, it is just too funny listening to some of you guys. Amen Warrenh, it really is that simple. Percentages just don't apply.
I took it as extro instead of intro, I'm sorry. But I didn't feel anything on my toes.

"How do you know that this is related to 'the signal loss thread?'"

Related topics.

Everything is okay. There's nothing for you to be concerned about.
I wondered, so here are my proportions:

Speakers 29%
Preamp 20%
Power Amp 15%
Table/Cart/Arm 18%
Phono stage 13%
Cables, interconnects 5%

This is a bit skewed since I got the power amp and table used at great prices, the speakers were new.
I spend 30% on speakers ,30% on amps , 30% on source , 10% on cables & then i bag my boss for raise.