Which attributes do you value most?

Here is a list of attributes commonly valued by audiophiles, in no particular order:

1. Resolution
2. Soundstaging
3. PRaT
4. Dynamics
5. Tonal balance
6. Harmonic content
7. Accuracy
8. Coherence
9. Frequency extension
10. Scale

The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. I’m interested to hear which attributes people prioritize above others. I don’t really have an agenda, except to learn more about how people’s values influence their approach to system building. With that in mind, it would be helpful if you listed a few of your components (assuming your system isn’t linked). So...

Which attributes do you value most?
one value you have not listed for me would be reliability.
PRaT and dynamics are more important to me than the rest. Coherence would be next. I can listen to a good boombox if it does them reasonably well but I will not listen to speakers that do everything well except this.
Having said that, I of course value everything you mentioned.
1)Tonal balance- first thing I notice
2)Coherence- can be distracting if not done right
3)Dynamics- very important, often missing
4)Frequency- extension-helps create the illusion
5)Resolution- draws you in

something like this...
Add musical too.
I prefer a system that is musical, organic, emotional, involving, glorious, stylish, satisfying, fun, and soulful.
Lifelike-Real. I can sit front/center at a recital at the University and with my eyes closed it sounds like my stereo. The same goes for listening to street musicians. I have heard some systems that have pin-point imaging. I find that distracting and unrealistic. Voices and instruments should have body to them. Even after all these years of listening I still get startled now and then when starting the music and a voice or instrument appears out in space in the room. The dark background is one of the best attributes of CDs. Fun to watch the faces of people when they hear it for the first time.
Openness/clarity is paramount for me. Not that the others are unimportant.

But get rid of those veils. All of them.
Involving (period)
1) resolution
2) harmonic content
3) tonal balance
4) coherence
5) accuracy
6) prat
7) dynamics
8) frequency extension
9) scale
10) sound staging
I value them all together.

Individually, they have no real value.
A superbly engineered and well recorded musical performance.If you do not have that all the things on your list become obstacles,not attributes.The value of a great sound engineer who understands the music,instruments and the critical placement of microphones to achieve that goal is the blank canvas that all recorded music stands before to paint it's masterpiece.With a great recorded performance you can start on your path to reproducing that audio image through your system,and start working on that list.
1)Harmonic accuracy.

Which in turn encompasses or is affected by many of the factors that have been mentioned (tonal balance, harmonic content, accuracy, clarity, resolution, coherence, lifting of veils, freedom from distortion, etc.). To me "harmonic accuracy" is the most significant determinant of how "real" the instruments sound. I realize that by lumping its contributing factors together I am begging the question :-)

2)Clean transient response.

3)Dynamic range.

4)Frequency extension.

5)Image scale.

Best regards,
-- Al
Natural. Don't really know what that means but I've spent a lifetime training my ears to hear it.
you made a good list and lots of gear brings these attributes to one's listening experience. every once in a while you hear a system and go wow!!! what's going on here because it's so engaging? this is what i look for and try to build around. it is interesting to me that the usual recommendation was to put the most of your budget into speakers. i don,t think this is true anymore as i think source and speakers and wires are equally important. just some thoughts. john
I'm real glad someone else puts "harmonic content" at the top, and it's Al no less.

There's a post somewhere on this site which says that the mind can "fill in" when some things are missing -- dynamics and detail for two -- but cannot do it for tonal colour. When my system's charm at last came to include that, I realized what it was all about for me.

Next would come timing. If I can't keep time with some body part, I can't listen.
timbre is #1, tonal balance, harmonic content, coherence, bass extension,

the others are unimportant.
Not wanting to turn it off, Just one more album , well maybe another, and not thinking of all the audio rag tags and just listening to music.
Goosebumps ...
Natural, I like that one word description. I want to hear music, not electronic components.
Credit to Ngjockey.
One that SHOULD be valued by more audiophiles? HUMILITY!
What is PRAT? That is one term new to me.

Other than that, I listen to how well it does everything. I don't have a favorite thing. The system should strive to be ALL THERE.
Pace, rhythm and timing.
tonal balance

turntables I've enjoyed: Linn, Rega, WTRP
amplifiers: Naim, Linn, AVA solid state
current speakers: Bose 301 series V, 141 series II

I've found turntables and amplifiers to make the most difference in the first four attributes. Even very cheap cartridges and speakers can sound good when used with a quality turntable, tonearm, and amplifier. Different cartridge/speaker combinations can give me the tonal balance I want (tending toward the Grado ideal of "warm, smooth, full-bodied, non-fatiguing and rich"), and I prefer speakers that don't depend on my sitting in "the chair" to get satisfying sound, but sound good whether standng, sitting, lying on a couch off to the side, at the computer desk, etc.
I'd say engaging it the utmost priority for me, but that's pretty generic. So I guess the question is what makes a system engaging to me.

My system - Bryston B60, Theta Cobalt 307 DAC (hoping the yet to be released Rega DAC will be everything my Apollo was and then some), Apple TV with internal HDD as music server, Audio Physic Yara Evolution Bookshelf. My Pro-Ject 1Xpression with Speed Box II and Dynavector 10x5 are boxed up until I have my own dedicated room again.

1) PRaT - If it doesn't groove, the audition is over about 10 seconds into the first track.

2) Tone - Even if it grooves, if it doesn't sound realistic, I'm done.

3) Tonal Balance - I don't want all bass, all highs, mids, etc. None should jump out at you.

4) Soundstaging and Imaging - I hate listening to 2 speakers. If the sound comes from the speakers themselves, I'm looking elsewhere. It doesn't have to be cavernous and pin point to be acceptable. I've enjoyed the wall of sound approach. My speakers are soundstaging and imaging champs. That helped, but wasn't close to being the sole reason why I bought them.

5) Color/I don't know what to call it - I've heard some systems that do everything right, yet they sound bleached. Or they sound cool and distant. Or they might sound etched. Not good.

6) Scale - If an instrument/voice sounds oddly large or small, it's distracting. Extremes of it will be an instant disqualifier.

7) Dynamics - If the sound falls apart or feels forced during a dynamic peak, it gets pretty irritating.

Obviously there's varying degrees as to what's acceptable and what isn't. There's no substitute for PRaT IMO. I've heard very expensive systems do everything so well, yet get this so wrong to my ears. They were great at reproducing sounds, yet fell on their face when actually reproducing music. It seems like the designers of gear like that get hung up on the wrong sort of details IMO. I've never designed anything audio, so what do I know?
Smooth , warm , and rhythmic with no piercing or ringing .
1. Harmonic content*
2. Coherence
3. PRaT

*Al's term 'harmonic accuracy' might be a better term than 'harmonic content' for expressing my preference, since 'harmonic accuracy' implies a resemblance to reality, while 'harmonic content' does not.
at heart , i believe most owners of stereo system, want their music to be listenable. the attributes listed as the subject of the thread , while important to some , to varying relative degrees, pale in comparison to the ability to listen without being offended, even if their favorite attribute is not satisfied to the extent desired.

i think ranking the 10 factors listed above is more an intellectual exercise and less an instance of reality.

there are variables which cannot be completely controlled, which impact the 10 factors.
i think ranking the 10 factors listed above is more an intellectual exercise and less an instance of reality.

The OP did not ask anyone to rank the ten attributes listed. It asked people which attributes they valued the most. The ten attributes listed were merely examples.

It seems to me that priorities among audiophiles vary, and that the variation in priorities is reflected in the variation in systems. In my view, understanding how people's priorities influence their approach to system building is a genuine attempt at learning, and not merely an "intellectual exercise."
The "PRaT" acronym is new to me and seems to be a valuable descriptor for a large part of what I value in music reproduction.Without this,I find a system and in many cases a recording to be less than engaging.
Soundstaging is quite a fascinating phenomena for me and frequently a factor in choosing source material for listening.
A systems inability to project this information is not crucial IF the dynamic weight,tonal accuracy and frequency extension are all extant in the playback.

My systems are made up of mostly older but well maintained stuff that may be more mid-fi than audiophile but I'm trying. Dynaudio Special One, Harman Kardon PM655-vxi integrated, Dynaco st-70, Large Advents,DCM Timeframe 600,
Pioneer PL-71 turntable, Elac-Miracord 40H turntable...
I agree, this is not merely an intellectual exercise; in fact ,nothing of the kind. It shows that we are both similar and different. Threads like this can actually strengthen the community.
Intellectual push-ups or belief system?

Therefore, I'd probably go with 5. Tonal balance, 6. Harmonic content and 8. Coherence. Those would be the most relevant ingredients for an emotional presentation, I guess. A huge soundstage always pleases me too. :) 

If Tone is not right nothing else matters .
I'm with Al +1
I believe tone and timbre (I’ve been hearing it mispronounced a lot lately. It’s "tamber") are synonyms, so I concur with schubert.

I've always understood "timbre" to refer to a realistic portrayal of that particular combination/permutation of tones and overtones that makes one instrument sound different from another, so that we can distinguish between a Gibson and a Fender or a violin and a viola.  Tone can refer to a fundamental, and also to shadings of the sound: dull, bright, etc.

Timbre is also crucial to me.  Though I'm also a sucker for soundstage.  Width seems fairly easily achievable, but depth really adds something for me.  And then that ineffable something that makes it come together and move you.

Timbre/Tone is the very first thing I notice that grabs me.   It's what got me into high end audio (and I guess imaging/soundstaging did too).

If a soundsystem doesn't have an attractive tone, I have no reason to sit down in front of it and listen.  (Whereas I can listen to any other systems doing other things, e.g. background music, driving in the car, whatever).

Ideally what I hear are voices and instruments sounding similar to real life timbre.  The problem is most reproduced sound is homogenized in timbre.  Once I hear a pair of speakers play a few tracks, especially ones I'm familiar with, I know how drums, cymbals, trumpet, sax etc are going to sound through those. 

Given very few if any systems can truly reproduce the complexity and range of instrumental timbre, what I ask for as compensation in a speaker/system, is a beautiful tone that is at least complimentary.  If I'm choosing between a silvery electronic timbre imposed on the sound, or a warm woody organic tone, I'll take the latter.   Especially when I hear an acoustic guitar (metal string) I like to hear that woody, sparkling golden harmonics that I associate with most acoustic guitars (including when I play my own).  If a speaker can get that right, I know it's going to generally grab me.

Though beautiful tone isn't enough.  In order to hold my attention I want a very good "disappearing act" with excellent imaging/soundstaging.  That is after all what stereo is all about and why it makes sense to sit between two stereo speakers in the first place.  Otherwise I could listen to the music in the back ground from anywhere else.

But tone/soundstaging also go only so far.   I need some excitement, so I need some dynamics and physical presence.   I started off with Quad ESL 63s and they did beautiful tone, a wonderful disappearing act and soundstaging, but after a while I missed the physical connection to the sound that I got from dynamic speakers.

Though of course it turned out not all dynamic speakers give enough of that.  I went through some that had richness, fullness and wide frequency response....but still a bit too "airy" and polite.   I wanted more solidity to the sound.  Horn speakers tend to do that well, though I never went that way for various reasons.

Now I have speakers that come as close to doing it all, hitting all my buttons, as I've ever had.  The imaging is dense and convincing, with a particular sollidity and "thereness" to objects in the soundscape.   Instruments just feel like they are there, not see-through.  In electronic music, which I love, when a new synth sound appears it just ripples the air, appearing almost like a new physical presence in the air like I could reach out and grab it. 

But I also know that no matter what system I have, in time I will be aware of it's imposed voice and I'll start sniffing around elsewhere.  That's one reason why these days I tend to keep more than one pairs of speakers around (actually, I have at the moment about 5 types....I need to cut back).

Anyway...sorry for the dissertation.   As an audio-geek this kind of stuff gets me going.

Everything and my system has it all i love it.Enjoy!!
Nothing worse than a dull, warm sound, lacking in detail and bogged down by bloated bass. It has to be light, airy, fast, transparent, seamless, rich in timbre and color but not have a color of its own.
Air and dynamic range. Everything else is secondary.