Spending a month's salary

I don't have much experience as an audiophile. Based on my research, the bulk of spend should be on fine speakers. I have $20k to invest in either a superior AMP, DAC or pair of speakers. What to do?

My room is on the smaller side, listening position is about 7-8ft from the speakers. I suppose bookshelf speakers are appropriate. Right side speaker is very close to side wall <1ft. Left side is open to 6-8ft. Back wall is about 10 ft from listening position. Speakers sit about 3ft from front wall.

My current setup:

Revel 106 speakers

Parasound P6 pre and A21+ amp

Node 130 streamer w/ upgraded Teddy PS

AQ cable loom.

I prefer bookshelfs given my room. Separates are ideal, though I would like to consider an all in one like a Boulder 866.

Which component is most important. I'm not looking to have an unbalanced system. Eg. $15k speakers and a $500 DAC.

Appreciate any insight.




Thanks for the replies. 

@vonhelmholtz $20 is the budget. I haven’t accounted for any cash raised from selling my current set up. 

I’m happy with the amp but I know that balancing the level of components is important.  It wouldn’t be wise to buy $20k speakers and power it with a low/mid range amp and pre. 

I stream so no vinyl here. 

First of all (please don’t take offense) refer to your speakers as "standmounts" not "bookshelfs" its not 1983! Have you demoed the Boulder 866? The mentioned Hegel could be a sideways move when compared to your current Parasound separates. Have you considered the newer Parasound JC 5 power amp? Keep your P6 preamp then upgrade your DAC/Speakers.

I have a $6K DAC and do most of my listening on a $200 balanced one.  

There's that. 

You are correct in concentrating on speakers you like, that you can afford to drive. The room is just as important for perceived SQ.


Thanks, I probably should have asked if this is an installment, or for the full system.

DAC/preamp combination makes sense. Suggestions above allow you to avoid the extra expense of needing a Roon server. Next, or concurrently speakers.  Many consider the speakers to be a first purchase around which you build your system. If time isn’t an issue, the used market for the above equipment makes sense. Then sell equipment and evaluate your needs.