What was the most impactful addition to your system?

Even in a setting absent resource constraints, the bug to “upgrade” is limited by space, power plugs, connectors, WAF, etc. Therefore, most of us must prioritize our additions or upgrades in our systems. I’m frequently seeking opinions on what chnage had the greatest impact to your system. For me as a gray-haired audiophile, it was the addition of a pair of subwoofers - even with a high end system. I am not dismissing the audible improvements from high end cables, pc’s, cartridges, sound treatments, speakers, TT, room placements, etc. But my auditory peyote moment came with the subs. Wish I’d known decades ago 😊


Honestly, I am an old fart as well. The last fifty years I have had quite a few jaw drop moments.


My first piece of audiophile gear: a 7 year old Nakamichi tapedeck that absolutely blew away the sound of my highly reviewed Onkyo (now I realized mid-hi, but that was not how advertised).


First audiophile amp… Threshold s500… 1979 (in todays dollars $18,800) there was nothing else on the market like it.


‘’First digital cable swap… “this cannot make a difference”… but like someone upgraded the components… ~1987


My first high end turntable (VPI Aries / Van den Hull Frog) 1989


My first high power tube amp ARC Reference 160s (2020)


My first really good speakers Sonus Fabre Amati Traditional. (2020)

When I plugged it in, last night. I swapped and went to a pair of PSVANE ART series12AX7 in a just repaired C2500. 2 hours later I was impressed. They sounded better than my humpty dumpty pair of Blackburns. I didn’t try them in my C20 but WOW. I’m a Telefunken, Mullard Blackburn or certed BP RCAs guy.

These are a dynamic valve and very closely matched. That could be my supplier. Excellent matching on his part. He actually checks ALL his valves..

PSVANE ART series ++++ I’d like to try them in a power amp pre section.. I got a good feeling here.

My McIntosh MC302 amp.  I was using a McIntosh MC152 amp prior and my system sounded really good.   when I set up the MC302, there was no comparison. The bass seemed to dig so much further, mid bass tightened up and the sense of ease and flow to the music was unmistakable. 

 a year ago I put IsoAcoustic Gaia footers on my speakers. Slam dunk the biggest non component upgrade ever.

Nak 500 tape deck internally biased for Maxell UDXL ll tape. Cheap NAD flat tonearm table which eviscerated my expensive Denon direct drive table, next stop AR belt drive. Weiss 501 DAC which clearly bested my Mojo Mystique' 3 which I thought was perhaps endgame.

1983 nakamichi tape

1985 a subwoofer

1993 tube preamp

2005 B&W speakers

2007 krell class A amp

2010 Rega turntable

2021 moving coil cartridge


Dynaudio Sapphires ('11 demos) were a huge jump over older (ca '95) ML SL3s.

Raidho D2s in ('16 used) were just as huge a jump in sound quality difference.

But, bang for the buck, nothing has ever touched the improvement the (cheap) DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 made to an already enjoyable system. Night and day after the bass humps are removed (I can't/choose not to alter walls/windows). It's adjustments/corrections allowed the speakers to really shine. I'd never go back.

Sub for me as well @wfowenmd . The rest was pretty much smoke-n-mirrors in comparison.

Biggest by far has been recently acquired Hegel H390. 

Before that, acquiring Symposium Svelte Plus shelves and Rollerblock Jr.. footers for use under integrated. transport and DAC.



Lucas Audio LDMS Music server.  It took my Lampi Pacific and increased my overall SQ by a lot.  

Treating my room acoustics made a big difference for me but for actual components, I’d have to say properly integrating a Seaton Submersive dual 15” driver sub as recommended by my audio calibrator. It’s integrated seamlessly with the main speakers and has about the lowest distortion my calibrator(and I )have  ever heard in a subwoofer. Great for both music and movies.

Like the poster above : room acoustic and acoustic homemade devices...

After that in the opposite move of the OP i disconnected my subwoofer because the bass was so well improved i dont need it...It is the reason why i also put my 8 headpgones in a closet.,.. 😁😊😎

Coordination of subs can be a great upgrade for sure like the OP suggested , but in my small room i dont need it at all...

Acoustic is the KEY UPGRADE for all other upgrades... And after acoustic like me perhaps you will forgot about any gear upgrade....


Come to think of it… buying this house and finding it had the best audio acoustic space I have ever heard. The choice was completely by accident, a very happy accident..

Buying a new house was probably cheaper than purchasing some high end systems. And you get a tax deduction. 

Post removed 
Post removed 

Recently it was my Zesto Leto preamp.....  insane how much better my entire system sounds.   Incredible upgrade.

D A C  

Aqua La Scala together with a Aqua LinQ 

Nothing is more important than a really really GOOD  D A C  PERIOD 

Enjoy the music




Altec A7 speaker that I got last September at 750$.


It made most of effect at bargain.


The irony is that I had spent more than 10k $ for bi amping since I got the speaker.

Denafrips Pontus II DAC purchased last year as I primarily listen to CDs and occasionally stream.

Thought of another one.

Graduate school, without which, I would never have attained the income with which to purchase my last couple systems… and the fantastic acoustic space in which it performs.



Aqua La Scala together with a Aqua LinQ

Nothing is more important than a really really GOOD D A C PERIOD

Minidsp shd studio… cheapest component, biggest impact by unmuddying the bass 

In this article, we will consider the phased connection of a mobile device to the radio using Android Auto.
1. First, you need to install the Android Auto application from the Play Market on your mobile device and run it.
2. Turn on the ignition.
3. Turn on the radio.
4. On the radio, press the APP button to switch to Smart Link mode.
As a result, the Smart Link menu opens.
5. We connect the mobile device to the radio via a USB cable.
In this case, you need to enable the file transfer mode on the phone, otherwise it will only charge the phone. To do this, on a mobile device, you need to open the "curtain" of notifications (swipe down from the top of the screen, after which a submenu and notification area will appear).
Click on the "USB Charging" notification.
Next, click the "Show advanced options" this blog.
And select "File Transfer".
6. After that, the connected device is displayed on the radio and a request is issued how the mobile device will be connected to the car. We choose Android Auto.
After the connection has been made, a welcome screen appears (when connecting for the first time).
After the welcome screen, the main screen of the program will appear, after which you can use all the functions of the Android Auto program and your mobile device.
For example, listen to audio files through various applications.
Or use Google maps and Google navigator to plan routes.
The center button is used to return to the Android Auto main menu.
The lower right button is used to return to the menu of the car and radio.
Thus, the Smart Link function allows you to combine the functions of a car and a modern gadget in ŠKODA vehicles.

For me most impactful by far is Cardas Clear Beyond IC and SC.

Best purchase i've ever done period.

The most important addition was book and articles about acoustic and psycho-acoustic relation..

Not a dac, an amplifier, or speakers, not even cables... guess why? 😁😊

For me it was getting the room right. Asking someone who actually knew what they were doing (in my case an aquaintance who worked in the industy) with placement and treatment.

My room is basically a square, so its not "supposed" to be good acoustically, but putting time into the room and speaker placement can make an astounding difference in sound quality (as I learned).

My room is a square too, and one of my speaker is in a corner...

Thanks to acoustic basic  my S.Q. is anyway marvellous...


Hi. I bought myself a computer and just used it for a long time. But then I decided to modify it a little and bought software from https://sirinsoftware.com/ for it. I still can't get enough

After years of searching and buying over and over, I hate to wear this out but....the Raven Nighthawk opened my ears to the possibilities of really going into the music in a way I'd never imagined short of the mega systems we've all experienced at special venues. It's cost was reasonable as a next leap from the common "super" receivers and typical "MacIntosh" proprietary sound signature. Bells and whistles it lacks but sound? It provides the experience I'd been dreaming of. Hyperbole? Not from this seat.

Like @ghdprentice, my buying a house that had an unexpectedly good listening room was by far the most impactful addition to my system. And it took me about 8 years of living in our current house to figure that out. Right before COVID, I convinced my wife to take the big flat-screen TV out of our bedroom that is roughly hexagonal in shape with cutouts on two sides of the room (where our queen sized bed sits and opposite from that).and about 20 from wall to wall. There's only one 1st order reflection that I managed with a 2 inch acoustic panel. After that one tweak, my room is one of the best sounding rooms that I've heard anywhere.

Getting a Pontus II is up there in value as well.

Conrad Johnson Art 150 Stereo Amp. Brought everything to life with good detail, solid mids and bass. 

My Chalice Audio 'Grail' SET monoblocks..by far..and I have Tidal Audio Contriva Dicera-SE speakers..

I am thinking about this on more of a macro level comparing speakers, amp & preamp.  I have Wilson speakers and Audio Research reference electronics.  I had a couple service events recently where I used my backup B&K preamp and amp.  They were each used separately and while the sound was definitely not on the same level as ARC, it still sounded damn good.  I had Platinum Audio speakers for 15 years before getting my Wilsons and the move from B&K to ARC was huge.  I got these Wilsons about 3 years ago and have loved their sound 100% of the time regardless of source or album.  To me this says we should find the speaker that connects to us and just sounds 'right'.  I never used dealers or went to demo but am thinking this would be the best approach to find the speakers, bring them home and then build around those.

I recently got a really expensive pair of another brand speaker that received grand praise in Stereophile but simply did not work for me like the much older and less expensive Wilsons.  

My advice is that one should invest in speakers before spending thousands on tweaks.  Save those thousands after you take your speakers to a new level.  


In nearly twenty years of hanging out at Audiogon I can’t recall ever browsing the Best Of category. So I kinda stumbled on to this thread.

I want to simply say that like you adding a pair of subs has been the most impactful addition to my system. I tried a sub about 12-13 years ago and it was a failure. Could have very well been operator error but it was awful.

So with hope and some trepidation I decided to give subs a go again and added two to the system. It has been a complete success. Besides going with two subs this time and placing them next to the speakers, setting the crossover at 80Hz may be on of the biggest helps in achieving what I believe is excellent sound.

Glad you have found satisfaction with subs in your system and like you I wish I had tried this years ago.




I’m happy for you Scott. You’re another verification that we are a community.