Thanks for starting this thread
I am one who recognizes the value of good power and power line conditioning. I also recognize that it is not for everyone, as a good deal of the brands out there are little more than snake oil. the same for cables and speakers for that matter.
I approach the system of electronic components as just that, a system, made up of many parts which all bring to or take away from the overall experience.
It is a team that works well together and has no prima donnas'.
Synergy is crucial and can be difficult, and for many, impossible to achieve.
Think I'm crazy? Spend enough time ( about 2 hrs) truly listening to what most would consider high end systems and you will come to see what I mean.
I think that all should try to build a system that spends your money in equal proportions across the whole system. If I were to spend the the largest portion it will ALWAYS go towards source componentes, ie dvd, cd, sacd, dvd-a, and record players. From here you will try to balance your spending across the rest of your system. You should have in mind, roughly, where you want to end up as to performance and cost.
I approach the system this way (in no particular order)....
Room acoustic treatment
Rf and emf blocking
Contact cleaning and enhancement
Calibration and setup
ALL of these areas MUST be addressed. Remember a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. Thinking that one can be left out is a sure fire way to miss out on the benefits it would bring to the overall presentation.
The real question is ... How much should each area need in order to deliver the necessary level of performance?
This depends on the value you place on the music you listen to. Some will spend $100,000+ others $10,000 and others still $200 for a small boom box.
I think you need to figure around $10,000 as good place to start for a 2 channel music system or a multi channel movie system.
If a bit more is available then this should be spent on acoustic treatments to further enhance the overall balance. I would continue to improve the rooms acoustics until it is dialed in and then and only then upgrade other items in the system. The room acoustics will have the single largest negative effect on the sound and thus should be the primary area of attention until it is repaired.
Yes ALL ROOMS ARE BROKEN acoustically speaking and MUST be repaired before the true nature of ANY system can be known. I would not follow the theater room treatments that are shown with all the walls covered with some form of treatment as this would harm the musicality of the room and would be far to over damped and sterile sounding. The main stream thoughts are sadly to heavy handed as a rule. These room treatments are like salt while to little is still on the bland side too much is unpalatable.
The best systems are just like the best sports teams. They are the ones that play well together, and are truly balanced. These yield a truly emotional and involving experience.