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?




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

This is great thread!  My answer--I have no idea.  

How great is Roxy's metaphorical assessment of the system? 

Speakers = Body & Voice

Amplifier = Heart

Pre = Soul

I would add that Source = Blood 

For years I fought the notion that the preamp was super important.  Then I got a legitimate phono preamp (Manley Chinook--still own it despite lots of swapping around).  That made me realize that if a phono preamp could make that big of a difference, how about the preamp itself?   That was eye opening. 

Maybe I should be asking myself, What component is the one to skimp on, if you had to? 



My ears are only 51 years old but I can only hear to 13k. My 35yo wife can’t stand the super tweeters I added to our 2 way Altec horn system because she can hear 19k. I have a toggle switch that takes the tweeters out of the system when she listens with me. It’s sucks to have tweeters that you can’t hear. They do seem to add air though. Now I wear earplugs while mowing and riding my Harley to preserve what I have….

Really great discussion and diversity in views. Sadly this really adds to my confusion. I can't decide! I'm fairly new to the hobby. All this information is great.

This hobby is very personal. Then why do we rely on equipment reviews and base our buying decisions on other's opinions? Every system is different. It must take obsessive iterations in YOUR room and YOUR system to answer this question. That's the lesson I've learned so far. Thanks.