How much of your budget went toward speakers?

How much of your budget went toward speakers?
More than 80%
1% (3 votes)
Around 70%
5% (13 votes)
Around 60%
6% (17 votes)
Around 50%
16% (44 votes)
Around 40%
18% (50 votes)
Around 30%
34% (96 votes)
20% or less
20% (56 votes)
Total votes: 279

The rule of thumb has historically been to spend more on your speakers than on the rest of your equipment. But audiophiles have found that every part of a system requires attention. Where have you ended up?

Gary W.'s picture

I'm currently in the 20% or less catagory. My components really needed an upgrade and just got it. But, when I'm done upgrading my system, I'll be in the 60 - 70 percent range.

Jeremy Close's picture

Admittedly my speakers (Epos ES14) are next for an upgrade but, I seem to be at a point where I either buy different speakers at about the same price point, or look to speakers at around five times their price. Not much is imported to Australia between these two price points. I expect the rest of my system would benefit from the more expensive speakers---if I can find a suitable room.

Al Marcy's picture

Down with rule of thumb! Up with rule of Ear! We won't buy if we can't try!

Julian Compton's picture

I spent more on my cables (total) than my speakers. They are the least expensive component in my system. There are many affordable (cheap?) speakers on the market, but few sources or amps that are world-class in the lower price ranges. Doing a Stereo Review-style system with most of the money in speakers is a sure recipe for dry, soulless, two-dimensional sound.

Graeme Nattress's picture

I've ended up at 40% only because I built my own loudspeakers. If I'd had to buy an equivalent commercial design, I would be in the 80% category. Speakers should take a large percentage of the budget, as it is impossible to make a good, cheap loudspeaker. Most decent record players pull more information from the grooves than a loudspeaker can reproduce. Most valved amps sound very good. All CD players sound very similar, so it isn't worth spending too much money on them. But speakers are just so difficult to get right. If you do find a good speaker, then you're most of the way there.

Joe Hartmann's picture

First the upgrade to a good turntable and arm; then $4500 for the preamp and amp have continued to improve my Thiel CS 2's, Rogers LS3/5A's and Met 7's. My current upgrade will again be in electronics before looking at the current crop of speakers. The electronics budget is $10,000; then Linn upgrades and by then a new pickup. Some where between $3000 and $5000 maybe used for speakers.

Gary Ang's picture

I try to spread the pie as evenly as possible, however I usually give priority to the amplifier and front end. By virtue of having a small room means I can still get a really high performance stand mounted speaker for less money than for a equally outstanding floorstanding speaker.

Bruce M.'s picture

Includes powered sub.

Peter MacHare's picture

I've tried to have a balanced system with each component being of equal quality.

Mike Sharon's picture

I didn't really plan it this way, but I ended up spending an equal amount on all five parts of my system: digital front-end, preamp, power amp, cables, and speakers.

Greg Curtis's picture

Bought more speaker than initially intended. (It was too late, I was hooked.) Added better upstream components (Class A&B). All of which made significant improvement. And the speakers were able to easily translate the improvements.

Eric's picture

As I keep improving my system, I have been spending most of my budget getting the front-end right first. The output of the speakers can never be any better than what the transport decodes.

kudoos amod's picture

cost of high-end speakers currently is overpriced.thus to match an excellent high-end setup , you need an excellent speaker which starts in the range of $15000-$20000 eg i have the krell600,wadia 860,cello palette preamplifier,velodyne uld18, von schweikert VR8 ($20000-00).the vr8 is the most expensive component in my audio system.

Kent Bozenski's picture

I have spent roughly equal amounts on all of my major components (preamp, amp, and speakers). All are of very high quality and work well together. The speakers were actually a bargain for the level of performance I receive. If I hadn't listened to the Hales Concept Five and Zero Subwoofer, I probably would have spent considerably more. I was also very impressed with their new model at HI-FI '98.

Dale's picture

My amp, preamp, CD player, cables, and speakers each cost a similar amount.

Terence Fung's picture

My new system is a DVD player and an integrated amplifier. It actually cost about 20% more than the speakers.

nba's picture

I have a rule of thumb that applies to high-end systems: To get the most performance out of your setup, the speakers need to cost roughly 4-5x more than the most expensive component. Hence, a system with a $5k amplifier should be hooked up to $20k speakers to get the most out of it. This is, of course, assuming that those are good $20k speakers.

Brian McDearis's picture

This figure includes all 6 speakers in my surround sound set up. The percentage figure is still applicable due to increased costs in amps, monitors, video devices, etc..

wes's picture

But it also depends on where in the upgrade cycle you are.

Jason Feldt's picture

I believe it is important to have a balance throughout your system. Too much in one area is sacrificing in another.

Mike Parenteau's picture

In true recognition of the hi-fi hierarchy, only 20% of my system cost is represented by the speakers. Multiple front ends (turntable, cassette, tuner, & CD player) make up over 40% of the system cost. The rest is preamp & power amps (2). With Linn hi-fi equipment you have the option of paying somewhat less for speakers and adding the electronics (in the form of passive and active bi-/tri-amped) to raise the speaker's level of performance to a much higher performance level than your original expenditure would indicate.

Carl Fedders's picture

Depends on whether we are talking 2 speakers or 5. Either way, the number is over 50%.

tony coughlin's picture

i started off with kef 103.4 speakers and as my interest grew so did the bankroll poured into electronics. so now it seems that i should have spent more on my speakers, but, the kefs are perfect gentlemen and provide excellent sound...i can't turn them out, at least not for the present. can other speakers be so much better? i think not.

Harvey B's picture

I loved the Gershman Avant Garde RX20 that I heard at the last hi-fi show in Toronto . They impressed me so much it didn't matter what my budget was. I got them.

Marc Phillips's picture

I've always felt, for no particular reason, that it's best to try to spend around the same amount of money on each component; that $1000 amps were meant to work best with $1000 speakers, etc. Most of my components hover around the $1000-$1500 mark. My most recent purchase, however, was of a Naim CD3 at $2000 . . . so I guess I'll be looking for some $2000 speakers, a $2000 amp, a $2000 turntable with a $2000 arm and a $2000 cartridge, and on and on and on . . .'s picture

I am still upgrading my audio system. I am going to by some Bryston gear in the next month or two. But for the most part, out of a $10K system budget, I would say roughly 20% will go toward my speakers (i.e.: Presently own KEF Reference 102's and will replace them with Vandersteen 2Ce's early next year). Right now, amplification and the CD Player get top priority.

Mike A.'s picture

The speakers may be the transducer that you here. But if the rest of the system doesn't match or exceed the quality of the speakers, the sound will suffer.

Todd Tracy's picture

My system is still in flux, and the speakers I am currently using were meant only as temporary stand-ins for the good speakers I haven't been able to afford (like Martin- Logan or Platinum Audio). I am currently using $200 Mirage speakers in a modest $3000 system, with pretty good results.

Craig Copeland's picture

Cost allocated to speakers is around 50% at present. Speakers are currently the high point in my system. The remainder of the system is not up to par due to a funding shortfall. At the end of the rainbow it will fall somewhere in the 25-30% range.

Alan Graham's picture

I'm from the school of Ivor T. (Linn): Garbage in is garbage out. Even though all links of the chain are important, the source(s) is (are) critical.