Poll: Most impactful component

Given all the technological advances over the years, audiophiles have very different perspectives on equipment.

This likely reopens an age old debate, but which component has the most potential to improve a stereo system? Or can it?

If you could upgrade one component to take your system to the next level which one would get the investment? Speakers? DAC? Pre? Source?

Or is this the holy grail that no one can achieve?




Let's say you have your speaker / room interaction and placement ironed out , the Preamp is the most impactful "component" .    Don't believe me?  Insert a world class preamp into just about any system and you may be in for a shock.   

I agree with Roxy54 in the Preamp being the Soul....   my most dramatic upgrades have been preamps .  A good pre is crucial to great sound.   Yes there are some DACs that function as a preamp , some very good ones , but I really think there is no substitute for a great preamp.  

I owned a Zesto Leto preamp ,  amazing piece of gear. I had it for a year and it killed me to sell it .  Putting it in the chain felt like I upgraded my whole system.

 I am having a DHT preamp built,  I sold the Zesto to fund it and am now using a 30 year old SFL-1  temporarily and it was a major downgrade .   Still sounds good but that Zesto was revelatory.