Which components produce a convincing 3-D image?

Hi. Like many of us I've been through entirely too many pieces of quality gear and I've managed to get close to what I think I should be hearing. However, I've read some comments on Audiogon by folks who claim they feel like they can "reach out and touch" the performer, their systems being so convincing. Keeping in mind that one's listening room can can make or break a system's ability to produce a convincing image I would like to know which components, whether they be amps, preamps, speakers, CDPs, cables, whatever, have contributed the most to your system's ability to provide that illusion of being there with the performers.

I'm currently running two sytems:

For two-channel A/V: PMC FB-1 speakers, Sim Audio Moon I-5 integrated, Sony DVP-S9000es, Silver Audio Bullet 4.0s, Analysis Plus Oval 12 shotgun bi-wired 8' speaker cables.

For two-channel stereo: Tyler Linbrook Monitors, McCormack DNA-125 amp, Marantz SA-14 SACD, Creek OBH-11 volume control, 2 pairs Homegrown Audio .5M Silver Lace interconnects, AudioQuest AQ-8 bi-wired 8' speaker cables.

Thank you.
I'm a big believer it tweaks. Every time I find a new tweak that works with my system I'm simply amazed that there was another level of detail or clarity or pace or what-ever.

Tweaks I've found to work include:

Dedicated power line
Audio grade outlet
Audio Prism "Quite Line" filters
Power conditioners
Power cords

Footers; "E-A-R"
"Orchard Bay" titanium cones and pucks
Black Diamond Racing cones and pucks
Aurios "Pro" isolation bearings.

"Neuance" by Greater Ranges
"Bubble Wrap"
Black Diamond Racing "Shelf"

Walker "High Definition Links"
Aurios "Pro" Isolation Bearings
Black Diamond Racing "Cones and Pucks"

Power cords
Speaker cable

Room Acoustics
Corners tunes
Corner bass traps
Side wall reflection panels

Cardas "Caps"
"Cable Elevators Plus" cable isolators
Marigo "40mm Window Tune Kit"
Walker Audio "Vibration Control Disks"
CD disk cleaner
Bedini "Clarifier

Those are the ones I can think of that I'm using. EACH ONE MADE AN IMPROVEMENT! I've tried countless others that made a change, but not always for the good. It's important that you have the right speaker placement and room issues resolved before going to this level.

Just for fun a few weeks ago I removed all the tweaks I could to see if it was really making a difference. WOW! It's amazing how far my system has come from the standard components.
my room is a far cry from optimal, a corner of the basement that makes me feel like a mutant red-headed step child with the plague, but i have just inserted a pair of tyler linbrook monitors with the cardas wire/posts into my system and ... wow
jesus christ, the imaging ability of the linbrooks is several orders of magnitude better than with my previous loudspeakers, see my system post for new and old.
soundstaging is excellent as is, but must be fabulous when the linbrooks are set further apart than my current space allows. also, my linbrooks would probably like to enter the room another foot from the rear wall, but i have little choice in this matter now.
before anyone asks, i could not pass up the opportunity to own these babies. currently i am extremely satisfied with the imaging, soundstaging and lack of cabinet artifact in my less than optimal setup. i feel like homer simpson thinking about beer when i consider a proper room and setup for the linbrooks.
they are breaking in right now, about half done by ty's measure. so far i am impressed with the prat and accuracy that has been evolving as breakin continues.
upon full breakin, i expect an extremely fast and accurate speaker free from a box sound, capable of casting a 3d image and large soundstage while maintaining very well-defined separation of instruments. about theonly thing i do not expect from the linbrooks is the very lowest and deepest bass found on music i honestly don't listen to very much at all. this is not to say bass response is weak, hardly. so far it sounds tight and focused with plenty of ooomph for me.

prior to the linbrooks, the most dramatic change in the imaging capability of my system came when i introduced the rogue 99 magnum linestage. that change was in no way subtle.

i should say i expected very good things from the linbrooks based upon my conversations and emails with ty and threads i had read, but hell... i got a lot more than i expected and it seems like more everyday as the break-in continues

btw, jadem6, how long have you lived with your linbrooks and what have been your impressions and experiences? as stated, mine have been here about 1 week, and im really not one to rush to judgements/opinions in such a short period of time, but i cannot deny my observations and reflections so far nor my sense of things to come

ok folks take it from here
thats my 2 cents
when i asked about the linbrooks i meant to address beemerrider
Speakers, room, source material. Nothing else even comes close.
When I bought my first pair of ProAc monitors I experienced a portion of the 3d phenomena. Then, when I inroduced tubed components such as the Blue Circle BC21 preamp and Kora Hermes DAC into the chain this was extended even further. Virtual Dynamics power cords increased that effect even further, in a big way. Along the way I've also been able to improve the 3d soundstaging through adding a Neuance shelf under my tranpsort, and going with an all Virtual Dynamics cable scheme, a lot of pieces have contributed to my 3d enjoyment in my terribly acoustic unfriendly room. However, last weekend I replaced my Virtual Dynamics Audition digital IC with a Kimber Illumination D60 just for kicks and lost a great measure of that holographic presentation. The Audition went right back in.
Fujindemon, thanks for your comments. Regarding the Linbrook Monitors you do have a treat awaiting you. When I first got mine they...well...ahh...sucked! They had the old "voice in a barrel" midbass emphasis that made everybody sound like they had the flu. However, 200 hours or more of throwing my most dynamic and wide range music at them, at higher than normal volume levels, got those SEAS magnesium drivers singing like Kiri Tekanawa. The bass emphasis disappeared entirely and I was left with the finest sounding dynamic speakers I've yet owned. I found they can be placed within 8" of the front wall provided they are well clear of side walls by 3' or more. If side walls are close they need to be into the room a minimum of 20" to avoid overblown bass. I have their stands filled up with clay-based kitty litter, so each side weighs well over 100 pounds. Be sure to Blu-Tak the speakers to the stands.

I sometimes wonder if tube amplification would add to the sense of 3-D but yet without actually adding something that isn't on the recording (i. e. - tube amps have higher orders of harmonic distortion, which is not usually unpleasant and can be euphoric). Also, as wonderful as the Linbrook Monitors are I am haunted by comments from Maggie owners who, as a percentage, seem more often to rave about the palpability of the imaging they get. My only experience with planars is a pair of Quad '57s that I owned probably the longest.

Regards, Lee
I'm with Bomarc - speakers, room and source material have had the greatest impact for me. After that, tube electronics have consistently given me the greatest sense of dimensionality and palpability to instruments, vocalist and soundstaging.
I feel that excellent imaging is a combination of things, but is primarily dependent on maintaining phase coherence throughout the chain. Without good phase coherence, the result is a discombobulation that cannot give you a good image. The speakers are one of the main problems with maintaining good phase information. Unless great care is taken in the design the drivers, crossovers, and layout, there are more ways to lose imaging there(in the speakers) than just about anywhere else.

Generally, the best imaging layout is point-source, followed by line-source, and lastly, array. The more complex the system, the more likely that things will get messed-up.

I have opted for the single-driver concept in my system because of point-source imaging capability, and no crossovers. I traded-off some other characteristics to get these benefits, but the imaging and soundstage capability is tremendous.

Outside the speakers, the baffle diffraction and 1st reflection zone activity will detract from imaging quality. Reduce these as much as you can. Speaker placement will also play a role. In most cases, out into the room is better than near the walls.

Listening position is also critical. On-axis listening will yield better imaging. If you don't listen on-axis, you are reducing the imaging qualities of your system.

I know you asked about components. If you want to see the components of a system that images extremely well, then click on my "system" link next to my name below. This way I don't have to take up space here to describe it. Mine is not the only way to get great imaging, but it is one way. And I am an imaging freak.
yeah, but those maggie owners need a nice large room so that the planars can be brought out into the room for maximum benefit, at least this is what i seem to remember from my thread trolling. thats something we linbrook owners are not subjected to as much.
can't wait for the full break in period to pass, boyo that will be fun
another 2 cents
if your speakers can handle them a good tube amp can make a huge difference in creating soundstage. they only down side is that like a beautiful woman they require more maintenance than the ordinary (ss) ones. not for the faint of heart or the picky picky's.
Speaker placement (including stands if you have monitors), room treatment, and power conditioning, in that order of importance. I'm still amazed sometimes at the differences resulting from tiny changes in toe-in. Diffraction and side wall absorbtion are also big players here. And certainly the lower noise floor resulting from good cords and/or AC conditioners adds a lot of depth to the soundstage.
In general analogue components produce more convincing 3D image than digital.
Thanks for the responses written so far. You folks have already given me some food for thought. Regarding monitors and stands, I have the Linbrooks Blu-Tak'd to their stands, which are filled with clay-based kitty litter...each side weighs in at more than 100 pounds. With previous speakers this has always worked to sharpen focus, clean up the leading edges of transients, and make bass reproduction more solid. My room is smaller than I'd like. I can bring the speakers about 20" into the room but no more than 2' (left side) or 3' (right side) from side walls. Currently I have them toed in directly at my listening chair.

Please keep the ideas and observations coming! I find this all very interesting and I personally believe that if one's system images well the other desired qualities can't be far behind.