Cost break down of hifi system

Hello, just curious on what you guys recommend for the cost breakdown of a hifi system ? I have heard a lot about 15%-20% for cables and roughly 30% on speakers. Right now I am in the middle of building my new system. I currently have pass labs xp-12 demo model and an x250.8 NIB from Reno Hifi. I got a hell of a deal at $13500 for both. I also got a very light demo pair of Dynaudio contour 60i for 25% off. Based off what I have given, could you guys give me a breakdown on what I should spend on source and cables ? I was leaning at the Cardas cyngus cables. For dacs I was looking at the all in one lumin t3 or an aurender n200 with the chord qutest dac. I am also debating which audioquest niagra to get, the 1200 or 3000 ? Seems the me the 1200 does everything.  I’m open to suggestions so please tell me if I am off track. I wanna get it right the first time. 


Oops, principle #2 was supposed to amount i’m willing to spend on cables should be correlated with amt i spend on system..

@hilde45 I was leaning at the Cardas cyngus. I have talked to a few people that say they would do Cardas clear but that it’s a lot to just start with in my opinion. To top it off I have not had a chance to here the system yet. I was also looking at the dragon cables from moon audio as a place to start, that and they are cheaper then the Cardas cyngus too. I don’t wanna go crazy out the gate but I also don’t want to feel like the cables don’t bring my system to its potential. 

@mdalton I do agree with you on experimenting and wanting to read/ask options on audiogon. You can get a real sense of what works just by asking like minded people. I was looking at moon audio which have good feedback and are cheaper then Cardas Cygnus. I did find a dealer that will do 20% off on the Cygnus so that’s the route I will likely take for now. A 2m pair of speaker cable is $1200 and 1m pair of interconnects xlr is 680. I am going to stick with the power cords that came with my pass labs for now. 

It is interesting how lop-sided some of the posts are. it is true that each part of a system has its own 'weight' in the final outcome, but none are the end game either. 

 In one post though it was the truth as to what your mood might be for music one day and not as much the next. That might mean that where a certain cable or speaker set up decision leans towards one side of the musical spectrum more than another. I come across this in my system too, and most often the difference may depend on whether I listen to vinyl or CD. For me, they are not the same so there is one way to determine what source I will choose. Aside from that, using acoustic panels are another thing that I decide to use or not. This has way more to do with the trouble of putting the panels in place and then taking them down before the wife gets home.  

Quite honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about cost breakdown on source and cables.  Quite a few responses above centered on what the OP didn't ask, and didn't address what was asked.

To save on money and heartache, I would suggest that you borrow midrange audioquest, cardas, or other nice cables and try them in your home.  Dealers have demo cables lying around that they are trying to get rid of.  Ask to borrow some for a short period and try them. 

Get a baseline on what is acceptable in your system and go from there.  The upgrade wheel will always be turning, so, borrow first.

as far as sources are concerned.  What exactly are you interested in? 

CD player/transport?



I read a few of the earlier responses and got frustrated that many didn't address your original concern and didn't read the others, so apologies if I missed responses to these concerns.

Many good dealers will let you take equipment home (with a credit card deposit on file) so you can "demo" equipment in your house.  Find a dealer that will do that.  

Determine what "source" you are concerned with and borrow one.  A mid level Aurender, etc. and try it at home.  

When you get to the point of "I'm happy with this sound", good.  Live with it for awhile and then borrow equipment slightly better quality and try it in your home system.  See (hear) if you can determine a significant enough difference to "justify" purchasing.

One thing to be aware of.  Match levels first before listening to new (different) equipment in your system.  Simple gain level differences can be mistakenly perceived as better or worse.

I always listen at a certain level with the original equipment.  Then I Place a test CD or album on a play a 1 khz tone, use a inexpensive sound level meter and gauge the level at the listening position.  Then I swap in the new piece of equipment (one piece at a time), play the same test tone and adjust the level to match the previous level before seriously listening.

Determining a particular costs percentages is in my opinion not accurate.  Find pieces you may be interested in (expensive and mid priced and inexpensive) swap it into your system (one piece at a time), level match and listen.  listen to music you are well familiar with that is revealing.  Then ask yourself, is it better, worse or the same as what I have and does it justify me coming out of pocket for a change.  

The sound quality actually determines the price point, not the other way around.