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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious, what is your opinion on the importance of a stereo system? And if possible, put a % on it?


Example, I've heard some say that speakers are the most important part of a stereo system, then amp, then cd, then the rest. 70% speakers 25% amp, then 5% source (0% for ICs, cables, etc...).


Others have said room makes up for 75% of the sound, all the rest would only be about 25%.


A salesman was telling me that the source is the most important, following by the amp and THEN the speakers.


I would have liked to make this a poll, but there's just too many possibilities...


So what do you think?
 

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Woah, that's a slippery slope!!!


I'd go off the board and say:


40% receiver/amp, 40% speakers, 20% room.


Notice how I put receiver and speakers at the same importance. You simply cannot ignore either, as either one can destroy your sound. I had an old Sony receiver and Bose 301's (roommates). When I replaced the Bose with my own Wharfedale Valdus 400's, it sounded 10X better. When I replaced the Sony Receiver with a Harman Kardon receiver, it sounded 10X better again. Bad speakers on a good system, or good speakers on a bad system, both sound bad.


The room is important, no doubt, but more for the sub than anything, in my opinion. Since most speakers fire directly at your head, the room acoustics will have some effect but nowhere near the same effect as the quality of the gear. For a subwoofer, however, placement is a HUGE factor, as is the room size and composition as well as whether it has anything that rattles...


Anyway, you'll probably get as many different answers as you get replies, but that's my 2 bits.
 

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I feel that speakers make the most difference in sound. Having said that, the electronics driving them also contribute to this difference. A case in point - for several years I had my Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home's running off a B&K Ref 20/B&K 7250 amp. I was happy with this set up until I upgraded the B&K equipment to a Parasound Halo C2/A52 prepro/amp combo. I was shocked at how much better the GPH's sounded; it was as if I had upgraded my speakers in the process. But don't get me wrong, the Sonus Faber "signature" sound was still there, but the entire spectrum had increased in detail and dynamics. Even my old (early 1980's) CDs, which I wouldn't listen to with my old B&K set up, sounded so improved that I thought I had gone out and bought remastered versions.


Having said all of this, my best take on a percentage would be:


60% speakers

30% prepro/amp (+ DACs)

7% source

2% transport (not DACs)

1% IC's, etc.


I had to throw in the 1% for IC's, speaker wire, etc. since I do think they make a subtle difference (at least in my system).


Slip slidin' away :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
similar question, maybe instead of using percentage we could use dollar figures. Say if you had 5000$ (or 10000$ or whatever), how much would you spend on speakers, receivers, source, IC's, speaker cables, magic stones, etc...?


This would probably make more sens, since for example replacing a 300$ amp with a 5000$ tube amp would totally change the sound of the system..


Note the original question was for audio, not really for HT as its probably a different ball game for HT (if a reply is for HT it should be specified! :) )
 

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40% room

40% speakers

15% source and preamp

5% amplification


I may have been a bit generous on the source, pre, and power amp percentages. The importance of the room could perhaps be bumped up a bit, but I think this is a good overall balance.


These aren't percentages of dollar figures, but importance to the overall sound. They don't translate well into dollars. For example, it might take $5000 to maximize the sound of a room but $25000 to maximize the performance of the speakers. Same level of importance to the sound, but different costs associated with the improvements of each.


The amplifier has some importance because it needs to at least be of competent design, meaning sufficiently low distortions and frequency response abberations, and it should be powerful enough to drive the speakers in question. I think it would be rare to ever need to spend more than a couple of grand on amplification to a two channel system, no matter the final cost of the system. The exception is multi-way active speakers, which might drive the cost of amplification up simply because of the number of channels required.
 

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I think this is where we are going to get slippery....


After you pass the $1000 mark for a receiver, the differences in sound get more subtle. But getting a $200 Sony receiver to drive a set of Krell speakers isn't a great idea. When these people weigh the importance of the receiver, I think they are assuming the receiver will cost at least $1000 so will be decent, in which case I agree entirely, but if you spend $300 on a receiver and $5000 on speakers you won't be pleased (and vice-versa for that matter).


Again, once you pass about the $1000 mark for a receiver the differences aren't as drastic, but the difference between a $300 receiver and a $1000 receiver can be huge. When it comes to speakers, there isn't as much of a breakpoint, since the difference between $50 speakers and $300 speakers is big, so is the difference between $300 speakers and $800 speakers, and so on.


So I guess my advice would be to spend $1000 on a receiver and use the rest of your budget on speakers.
 

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I agree that percentages are a tough way of doing this, but using dollars has its pitfalls as well.


Two issues that neither seems to fully encompass are:


* Minimum level of quality. At some dollar point, the sound is so terrible that even if it is a lower-priority item you really need to spend more money. A $25 CD player, for example. Each of us has a different minimum level of quality. For me, a $200 CD player is good enough. For you, it may be $1000.


* Point of diminishing returns. Would I prefer to move up from a $5000 component to $5100 or from a $100 component up to $200? For me, definitely the latter.


So, how would I define all of this? First, I would define the minimum level of quality for all components or room issues. If this isn't supported by your budget, wait until you have more money. If it is exactly your budget, stop. If there is still budget remaining, look at investing the remainder in the percentages that others have listed (yeah, a cop-out on my part, deal with it).



Cheers,

Bill
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Grandarf


A salesman was telling me that the source is the most important, following by the amp and THEN the speakers.
So if you had $4000 you should spend $2000 on a CDP, $1500 on an amp, and $500 on speakers? I don't think so. I don't know how anyone could say that speakers come in 'last'. While this is all a matter of preference, I'd think that it would be hard to find someone that does no think that speakers rank near the top in terms of what changes the sound the most.


Personally I'd do around 60% speakers, 30% prepro/receiver, and 10% for the rest.


If you are going to treat your room, then I'd go with 50% speakers, 20% room, 20% prepro, and 10% for the rest. You can get away with spending very little on a room if you have complete control over furniture, carpeting, etc.
 

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As a relative newbie to this, I think it is all relative. You should follow your budget. I, in the future, will be looking at replacing my HT setup (75% Movie, 25% music) from the exisiting HK520/HK PA2000 with something with staying power and upgradable. Being Canadian, I am biased to Canuck products and would like to get an Anthem PRE/PRO - (perhaps the AVM20, but I want DVI/HDMI inputs/outputs for video switching - so I will wait) with Bryston Amps.


In Canadian $'s this will cost quite a bit, and will require me to save up a bit. Then, once that purchase is made, I will have to get new speakers, but not right away, as my exisiting speakers can handle the power. My budget at that point would 70% to 140% the cost of the Receiver/Amps. So, lets say the receiver/amp setup runs 10 grand ( god, I hope not :( ), I would then spend $7000 to $14000 on the speakers (my wife is going to kill me).


The speaker price would be for 7 channels (I have my sub and I cannot upgrade, the PW2200 is already too much for the wife, so upgrading it would be a waste). Probably Paradigm, but I would listen to all speakers in my budget with my new setup before making up my mind. Oh, sorry, to clarify a bit, by 'all' speakers I mean 'all' that the store carries where I buy the Pre/Pro and Amp(s).


Gee, that lottery ticket better be a good one :)


For my existing system , I have it in dollars (Canadian) $2400 speakers, $1700 Receiver/Amp, and $350 DVD and CD player.


I really believe that for sound, the DVD player and CD player are the least important. I personally have two cheapo 5 disk Cd players, and two DVD players. The CD players are Sony (won in a golf tourney - wife not me, she is a much better golfer :( ) and Kenwood. No diff in sound at all. Your Amp/Receiver from what I understand will convert the signal no matter what is received. Although, I'm sure much more expensive components may sound 'slightly' better, I would only look for 'features', not sound quality.


Just IMHO, although I am a newbie audio enthusiast, so I'm sure there will be some disagreements with the DVD/CD players.
 

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Hi


I believe that it depends on the budget. If you have $5000 and a bad room it make no sense to spend 4000 in room treatment. For 2 -channel.


For up to $25,000


15% Room

40% Speakers

20% Amplification

20% Sources

5% IC and accessories


For over $25,000


20% on Room

30% on Speakers

25% on Amplification

15 % on Sources

10 % on IC and accessories


My current distribution is inching toward these, I have recently become a convert of proper room acoustics treatment. It may be the most important aspect of accurate reproduction in the house. It depends however on the room whereas one can chose components Room acoustics are usually dictated once a location is chosen unless one is building a house (my case)
 

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My system is more or less:


$ 1,000 on receiver (Denon 3803)

$ 2,000 on speakers (B&W's 600 series and Infinitys)

$ 1,500 on sources (Denon 2900, Marantz 3100, Yamaha Cassete deck)

$ 500 on IC and accesories.


Doing the math:


Receiver (or pre7pro + amp) = 20-30%

Speakers (35-45%)

Sources (25-30%)

IC and accesories: 5-10%


Room treatment may well be an additional 10% out of the total ammount.


Regardless of what your budget is, IMO you should spend AT THE VERY LEAST the same amount on speakers and on pre/pro+amp or receiver.
 

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I think the tricky part is that as you spend more on speakers there comes a point where you have to spend more on the electronics to drive them to really appreciate the speakers.I'm thinking maggies,but the same thing would probably apply to any 4ohm speaker,plus a lot of 6 and 8 ohm too.So ideally I would say 50% speakers,asuming your budget is high enough to get the bare min.in power for your chosen ones.
 

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never underestimate the importance of a good source, especially for stereo listening. What comes out of those speakers is only going to be as good as what went in and generally the better the speaker the more it will reveal weaknesses in other components. I remember when my dac went in for an upgrade i couldn't bring myself to turn it on.
 
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