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. 


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.


@4krowme I agree with you 100%. It goes one way and back to another. Everyone  has something that works for them and others will totally put it down. I just wanted a general thought of what everyone’s options are in which way to go. 

@minorl Thanks for the advice, I think that’s the best advice I have been given. I already have my pre amp, amp, and speakers. Now I have been trying to decide on cables and an all on one dac and streamer. Although few have told me it’s good to get a streamer and a dac but I can upgrade the dac later when technology improves. I really like the idea of the aurender n200 with a sep dac. Another option is the lumin t3 but technology changes so fast it’s like owning a computer for a few years then moving on to something else. I do feel like the Cardas cyngus is a good place to start for cables to, I can get them at a decent discount. It would be around 2600 on cyngus cables which is not to bad. 

minorl Thanks for the advice, I think that’s the best advice I have been given.

yes @minorl  presented a good case.