I think most audiophiles would like to think it's all about the sound, but for me there's often many factors not related specifically to sound quality, that play a big part when deciding what audio component to buy.  Perceived build quality, brand name reputation, specs, even things mostly related to appearance can have a big influence.  I have for years, pursued matched, one-brand systems and seemingly can not be truly content with my two-channel rig otherwise, regardless of the performance or build quality of specific components.  I sometimes think the whole process is, for me, more an exercise in obsessive behavior than a rational pursuit of a logical outcome.  So how about you?   Any tales of audiophilia nervosa  you'd be willing to share? 
I have for years, pursued matched, one-brand systems and seemingly can not be truly content with my two-channel rig otherwise, regardless of the performance or build quality of specific components. I sometimes think the whole process is, for me, more an exercise in obsessive behavior than a rational pursuit of a logical outcome.

Congratulations, for you are living the First Commandment of Audio: Know thyself.

I'm pretty much the opposite: all rational pursuit of a logical outcome. Aesthetics, ergonomics, image, reliability, etc all are there to be weighed on the blind scale of performance. 

Long ago when shopping gear I got so tired of the routine. Having to tell you all about the company, technology, workmanship. Didn't take long to hear just how irrelevant these things are. Two of the best most expensive impressive build and brand names in all the audio world- Wilson and Mark Levinson- are also two things I have never heard sound good anywhere ever. So I don't care if it's held together with bailing wire and bubblegum. Just play the damn thing let me hear how it sounds.

In my system, which is freaking spectacular by the way, I have a Herron phono stage that when you take it apart and study is built like some kind of cross between a Swiss vault and a Grand Seiko Spring Drive. Also have Tekton speakers that look like really good DIY. But if I had to call it the speakers are probably the more impressive of the two- and the Herron is no slouch by any means.

Audiophile nervosa by the way is when you spend so much time analytically evaluating every little thing that after a while you're unable to shut it off, kick back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labors. I did have that once, many years ago. Detected it, saw it for what it was, saw how it could ruin the whole thing, which is not what I want and so no more of that. Same logical process. It's just that simple.

I care only about price, and quality design....

Vintage mythical product for my amplifier...

Vintage good one for my speakers...

My Dac is contemporary but is minimal design with internal battery, externally coupled to a transformer, a NOS one design using a "single" old TDA 1543 chip...I paid it 20 bucks on EBAY bid....😁 This dac for the last 2 years reveal to me no defect on any count and improve with my improving system controls....There is better dac but what is their price? Many thousand dollars not hundreds....Anyway this dac well embeddded will beat many costly one badly embedded... This truth is misunderstood by most alas!

After that the only important factor is how do you embed all that ....I listen to it and then to correct its way in my room i created my homemade controls devices....Better to create than to buy.....

The final results is not a feast for the eyes.... 😁 Said my wife who blissfully say that to me listening music, but it is the best sound ever! ( she exagerated here but without knowing it)

But no one can made me really jealous.... It is not necessary to own the best system , it is only necessary to recreate a good instrumental timbre experience...

If the vibraphone is in your room with an aural hues in the tone variation and perfect decay and the sound dont come from 2 speakers thats all....

For 500 bucks+peanuts all included who can says better?

The only audiophiles suffering from a disease are the one who upgrade endlessly without even knowing how to embed their gear....

I sometimes think the whole process is, for me, more an exercise in obsessive behavior than a rational pursuit of a logical outcome ...
All joking aside, obsessive behavior is a behavioral disorder. If you truly feel what you wrote is actually true, I urge you to get help. Seriously. When people talk about "audiophilia nervosa," they are just joking. It's a nutty hobby. But being genuinely obsessive is not amusing or healthy.
"...I have for years, pursued matched, one-brand systems..."

That is a habit that needs to be broken, way too limiting.
I won't buy anything made by a company owned by the government of the Peoples Republic of China.  Don't care how great it sounds or what a "Deal" it is. 
Interesting; I'm antithetical to the OP's MO of one-brand systems, and I'm really not sure why except that it seems too pedestrian. Which is a crap rationale, I realize. But I tend to get nervous if I have even two components made by the same brand (maybe cables are an exception).

In order:
Brand recognition

@mahgister -- Your system has to be one of the most unusual and unconventional I've ever seen; you have the freedom to change and adapt your room as needed which many of us do not.
I understand that there are people who feel like the OP, but it's not for me.
The only non-audio factor that enters into my decision is price. If I can't afford the tariff, or if the price of something sends me into paroxysms of guilt, I'll pass.
Sound is most important but looks are too. If I was rich I would get some Dan Dagostino gear
@aewarren well played. Reminds me of the classic Sansui adds I would watch as a kid. 
"I always buy the audio gear that has the hottest looking chicks in their ads."


In my "audiophile journey" (puke emoji), I've assembled essentially one-brand systems comprised of products from (in roughly chronological order): Realistic, Pioneer, Luxman, Sony ES, Pioneer Elite, Onkyo, NAD and currently, Denon.  I'm not saying I seriously believe I have a problem and need professional help, but maybe I do.  In either case, it's been a lot of fun, and no body was harmed in the process, as far as I know.


And do what you like, but listen and learn. And learn to run from those who know all.
Everyone has a given budget. Everyone has a given listening space. Nearly everyone has other uses, and other users, of the same space to be considered. And we all have different aesthetics. For instance, I won't display a black component unless it's the last stereo tuner on the planet and unavailable in silver or otherwise visible finish. So the actual answer to the actual OP is DUH. "How much do non-audio factors influence our audio purchases?" Hugely. You might live in an auditorium, you might live in a bungalow. You might be a billionaire and also an audiophile. Or you might be like most of us and making the best compromises possible given the inevitable limitations of our specific situations, with the quest for The Absolute Sound remaining a forever unrealizable ideal.
Sound quality is so important to me that I have a procurement specialist select the next piece, have it shipped, prepared in the room behind a screen for a blind demo, and only after it passes do I see the component. 
Because the sound is the only thing that matters.  ;) 

I think this is the ultimate puzzle. I know there are companies that manufacture the whole system from the wall to the speaker. Two problems occur. It’s out of most people’s price range or there is a weak link. My preamp and DAC are Emotiva, but I do not like
The sound signature of the amps. There is usually a weak link even at the higher end companies. I do not care about the looks as much as the sound. I have black and silver components. I too love the sound of my system. If I find a product that sounds better I try to squire it. If it makes it the same or worse it goes back to the store. I have had $16,000 integrated amps in my house that do not sound as good as my amp and preamp. 
There are lots of great sounding components, and lots of different price points. Obviously, sound is important but all things being equal, I'm likely to buy the one whose looks appeal to me. I'll also consider the brand reputation, build quality and size constraints. If it's used, I'll consider the condition and perceived value relative to its age and original MSRP.
I don't know if anyone here watches Andrew Robinson's "Recovering Audiophile" videos or not, but I kind of feel like he does when he states that it's hard to find a/v gear today that isn't quite good (I paraphrase).  Yes, there remain potential issues of compatibility, but even those are pretty easy to navigate with just a little education, which leaves non-audio factors to assume more importance in the decision making process. 

But...I may be on irrational extreme of that viewpoint, in that such relative minutia as the color of the LED's or the color and style of the footers on the component can take on way too much importance.  But I do tend to believe that other than with transducers, there is not much significant audible difference in the sound of properly functioning audio gear when it is used properly and within it's linear limitations.  But then, I traded my tin-foil hat for a pair of tin ears long ago.
I agree with the LED color because most cannot be dimmed or shut off. I get the red led color for lights off listening. I have blue led on my gear. Very bright, almost too bright. Sound comes first. 
Fun topic!

I'm in the early stages of building a system in a recently vacated room (empty nesting has SO many advantages!)
Going to side with andysf on this issue. Being a small business owner myself, the perfect scenario for my room would be made in the USA gear that I can buy from a locally owned hifi shop. If I have to pick one or the other, the domestic product will nearly always win. To this point I have purchased Dac (USA), two sets of IC (USA), a turntable (USA), and have a Tavish (USA) phono amp on order.

It is a very small room, and I have no doubts about achieving a very pleasing to my ears result from US/Canada sources and from my local shops. With that said, I have seen some gear, not mentioning any names, that fits my criteria but lacks the aesthetics that appeal to me.
I like the concept of home-grown audio...but often I succumb to the lower price of Asian-made audio.  But lately, I do try hard to avoid spending serious money with the PRC.  Nothing against the people, but I do not wish to support their oppressive, one-party system.
Speakers, especially if floorstanding and tall need to be reasonably attractive ie any normal medium to dark wood (or black) and no weird/ugly shapes.
"...often I succumb to the lower price of Asian-made audio."

Check Accuphase.
I buy only what I can audition and return if unsatisfied.
Exceptions are some chi-fi brands like denafrips which can be resold at acquisition cost in a matter of minutes for free on USAudioMart.

In the past I only bought "sought after" brands. This way when I want to trade up or change direction I can move the gear in a matter of days.

I do find a special attraction to the Scandinavian brands. Why?
I think they are all pretty darn good. 

That said I'll buy Bulgarian gear If I think it is the best SQ per $ offering. 

It is very satisfying to have someone over for a listen and play some obscure gear that is either no longer made or very obscure and have the guest love it!!!
My decisions in audio are and have been solely based on sound only that is what has led me to a much different system than i would have ever imagined i would have had twenty years ago. When you base your decision on sound and create a system on sound it is so different from the norm and it is definitely not one brand at all but it can give you a lot of options.
I have adapted a no People’s Republic of China policy for the last 8 years.

Once I am past that my decision factors are.

sound quality
duels quality
customer service

I'm a McIntosh fan, need I say more about systems with components from the same manufacturer.
Made in USA #1 if not Canada or Europe never never China.
I like the Pass look quality and sound.
wfowenmd10 posts01-24-2021 9:18amPrice
Sound, as per

Well said. I have to also add that I really try to scrutinize my purchases from China these days as difficult as it is to avoid. Just not too big on the whole religious/political reeducation workcamp thing.....
It’s never made sense to me why you can’t have audiophile sound right along with beautiful gear. No offense, but the all black, dust and fingerprint grabbing electronics so common today may sound great, but they’re an eyesore to me. Also, how can anyone consider a power amp without big, gorgeous meters that glow so magnificently in dimly lit rooms. Nope, with all due respect, as long as there are gorgeous silver faces with meters that sound like heaven, I just don’t get plain black equipment. Probably biased from growing up during the watt wars of the 70’s with so much eye candy and wonderful sound !
I like black and I like silver.  I would love it if everything was available in either one.  As for meters, well, I think they're cool, but I also think they can be  distracting.  I grew up in the 60's and 70's too.  Remember SAE?  Sexy and black!  But it's all good!!
This has been a nice thread. Thanks everyone for the air in which the discussion has been conducted. 
This is not the easiest question to answer, because I think there are many conflicting criteria that I have. Sound quality? Of course. But having stuff fit in with space the family uses is important. My wife and I are negotiating that right now after some work done in the listening room. 
I like beautiful design, and at the same time I don’t want to have a system that screams excess. So I have sometimes chosen the best sounding equipment at a price that also has some visual subtlety to it. For example, I appreciate that my Totem speakers have no branding on the front. I think Parasound’s Halo line is fantastic quality for the dollar and am pleased with my JC designed phono stage. It is also completely nondescript visually and sometimes unattractive to my eye. No money spent on industrial design there. 
At the same time, I chose the Naim Uniti Atom both for its sound and its industrial design. I was comparing it directly with another brand which had maybe a 1% better SQ (yes, a ridiculous statement) and I went with the Atom because it was more beautiful and had a smaller foot print. 
One of my turntables, the Bryston BLP-1, is matte black. Very low key. On the other hand, my Thorens TD124 has a beautiful wood plinth which says “look at me.”  I think because it is vintage, and because the aesthetics are wood based and thus timeless, that is ok despite my other visual concerns to not telegraph cost. And I have that table not purely for SQ—though it is heavily modded and sounds great—but also to have a piece of vintage reference sound and to own a piece of audio history. So that is an audio factor but not a pure SQ factor. Now that I am in the market for an amp, many of these issues are rising up for me again. 
Also, build quality matters. If something sounds a cut above, I might hold on to it for a very long time. 
In conclusion, I am a bundle of impulses and my stereo shows that. 
Regarding non audio factors. Question: is the “nothing made in China” policy based on quality for most people? Or ideological/moral? A bit of both? A lot of the stuff going on there is really bad and I am seriously considering a Chinese DAC. the first made in China piece of gear I have considered. But I also want to sleep at night. It brings up some serious reconsideration for me. I am sure I have plenty of non audio items made in China in my home. So does one go all in and change the entire lineup of all items purchased or limit to high dollar items like audio gear? Is it even possible to eliminate Chinese made items from your entire life? Lots of audio tubes are made in China. Maybe even parts like sockets and wire or knobs. Switches. How do you know if every little piece is domestic or non Chinese? Do you control what you can control or do you go obsessive? Should I buy the Denafrips Venus or not?!!

edit: I have oppo gear. Chinese. Didn’t even realize...
I would prefer to avoid goods from the PRC, but actually doing that is very difficult if not impossible.  So I don't fret over it.  What a handful of audiophiles do probably won't make a difference, anyway.  Plus, the old saying about cutting one's nose off to spite their face comes to mind.  So, I think every individual has to determine for themselves the degree to which they want to pursue a boycott...if at all.  I don't make judgements yay or nay over it.
It’s crazy. I’ve been thinking about it and I have SO MUCH made in China stuff. I use Apple products. My monitors. My surge protectors all kinds of other small appliances. Not to mention probably a lot clothes and gear related to that. I will have to think about that DAC. 

Aesthetics is huge for me.  Especially for speakers since they are in effect a new piece of furniture introduced in to my living/listening room.I absolutely love a high quality speaker finish, especially wood (love my Thiel 2.7 and my Joseph Audio Perspectives).   Certainly sound quality is first on the list, but I wouldn't buy speakers I find ugly.   Life's too short to spend it looking at ugly or cheap looking speakers.   Fortunately some of my favorite sounding speakers are also my favorite aesthetically.(Again, like the speakers I just mentioned, but I also love the sound and looks of the Devore O speakers).

Aesthetics are big with turntables, and as I interact daily with my Transrotor turntable the sheer quality and luxury is really satisfying.

I like tube amps, and also the aesthetics of tube amps over SS, so that has worked out well (I use CJ amplification).

Over the years I've honed my purchases to reliable brands, not flash in the pans that impress momentarily and then are hard to sell.

A rather enjoyable look into what matters most to us. I have been very pragmatic over the years looking for value and sound quality over brand names. If I felt something was truly ugly I might hesitate if it needed to generally be in view.

I loved the sound of my first good speakers, Martin Logan SL3s and despite the size they looked clean and amazed all who listened. And the esthetics of the Dynaudio Sapphires in the Bordeaux finish were visually stunning but I only bought them because of the superb full range sound. And although I'd have bought 'first available' (gloss black or walnut burl) I admit to being thrilled to get the D2 (current/final?) speakers in the beautiful burl veneer.

Although I listen without vision a lot, the speakers are an integral part of the primary living area and looking beautiful helps. I'm not concerned about Chinese manufacturing. Show them the product design and quality level needed; they can do it. I also mix gear with no concerns. I'm looking for system synergy and not positive using the same brand automatically provides it. (No thank you on McIntosh speakers....ugh.)(JA Perspectives are awesome speakers in my book, prof.)

1) SQ/value/budget - beware the law of diminishing returns - avoid upgradeitis
2) Don't care about color of boxes or looks, but don't want my den to look like a physics lab and it has to fit in its space with the records
3) British design + chinese manufacturing = value if done right. Good for speakers, not much else.
4) make sure to maximize what you have - vibration control, room dynamics, electrical isolation. This is very underrated - smaller dollars invested here can have a bigger (sometimes MUCH) impact than changing boxes. Put your turntable on a wall shelf if at all possible. Just did it after 25 years - WOW. You'll never have a bigger bang for $200 in your audio lifetime.

andysf  You might check to see if you should I believe you need to dismantle your system and return most of the innards to China.  Still, all of my electronic were made in North America, and since the 1970's I have only used British (also English Speaking) British.  I do have Japanese tuners (3 of 4) and a Japanese CD player, but that country is not full of CPF's, of which I am one.
My golden, metered Phase Linear 400 was much more fun to watch than my Black, three LED (ON, Clip left, Clip Right) Audire amps, but for fun, I can turn the power way up on system 2, and watch the old B&W's  light up the LED's as it diminishes the sound to save the drivers from drunken fools.