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?




To be meanful, I think you should reframe your question to what component(s) you have changed so far make(s) most impactful improvement, instead of what would you predict it to be. In my case, the first time I felt the system had an dramatic improvement is after changing the amplifier to Parasound A23 and NC 2125 v2. The bass is weightier and more nimble. The second experience I had is after changing my source from laptop/Mac to a streamer (ifi ZS), the top is more open, more airy, all range of sound has more clarity, background is quieter, etc.  The third improvement is resulted from a $5 gadget, i.e., drum stopper gel silicon. I double stack them and place on each corner of bookshelfs.  The bass is more solid and a bit more "bouncy".

I've always thought this was not a fair question as a wonderfully fulfilling system is the sum of its parts so it usually boils down to that last piece that completed the fulfillment puzzle be it a cable, an amp, a speaker, etc. 

All the best,

It was the Preamp for me. I had a solid system and when I upgraded preamps it was staggering. I had spent about 10k on speakers and 10k on a turntable and truthfully only had midfi amplification so I had to choose. I flipped a coin and upgraded the preamp and was blown away. 

Oh I forgot room treatment.  I bought approx 100 Auralex tiles and 24 bass traps. Honestly this did more than any component.  Actually it did more than all of my components.  I know there is still some room correction to gain and I only spent about 1500 but it made a GIANT difference in my room