What is the weakest link in your audio system and why?

What is the weakest link in your audio system and why?
Source component
13% (48 votes)
4% (16 votes)
Power amp
2% (7 votes)
Integrated amp
2% (7 votes)
2% (8 votes)
20% (74 votes)
38% (140 votes)
3% (11 votes)
14% (52 votes)
It's all perfect
2% (6 votes)
Total votes: 369

Nothing in audio is ever perfect—or is it? If you have a weak link in your audio system, what is it and why?

James Kontol's picture

Speakers are electroacoustic tranducers with most distortion, most non-linear, and project acoustic field to rooms which changes in frequency and time.

Jeff's picture

My stereo is in an unfinished basement. Very hard to fill.

xuxusung's picture

The brain. If you aren't in the proper receptive frame of mind, almost anything can sound like crap.

T.J's picture

No matter how much money I spend or have spent on my audio system, the room in which it resides has a tall ceiling, hard surfaces, and two huge openings leading to other parts of the house. The only thing soft in the room is the couch. At high levels it can be unbearable. In serious need of some acoustical panels

Bruce M.  Scheiner's picture

Almost every listening room has more sonic aberrations than all of the components in the system together.

Nick A.'s picture

Preamp: My Creek 5350SE has a passive preamp, and although it sounds terrific on its own, it was terrible when combined with an Anthem A2 amp.

Deep Purple's picture

Most definitly the speakers with their rubber spring return force for the cone. People are spending up to $100,000 for a speaker controller (the amplifier) but 50% af the movement is handled by a 10-cent rubber ring. Why are there not any push/pull elements with current feedback and with integrated amps? Three of these in a box, I think will make an excellent "speaker."

H Tekneci's picture

Quality of AC that could not be improved with power conditioners. Apparently there needs to be an infrastructure overhaul (read re-wiring).

Scott's picture

I simply can't hear the difference between $50 cables and $500 cables.

Hogio Setiawan's picture

My ears and brain.

j.e.n.'s picture

I cannot locate my speakers far enough out from the wall behind them. I would also like to place them a little further apart. The soundstage would then be wider and deeper.

Dr.  Herzenstube's picture

Room acoustics! That will be the next big "upgrade."

B.Parker's picture

My room's to small to allow speakers to breathe (that's UK living).

Al Marcy's picture

Me. Too old. Too sick. But, still grinning.

Jimmy's picture

My house wasn't custom-built, it was a pre-built home. The acoustics in it is average at best.

Pradeep's picture

For the budget of my system, it is all perfect. If I have to move up I have to swap every component in my system.

Jose Freire's picture

I'm wayting for the new version of Chord Blu transport (soon to be released) to pair with my QBD 76!

Butch Blawd's picture

My ears. They could be a little bigger and stick out a bit more. Audio monkey ears, I will make a fortune.

Pem~NC's picture

I have a Rega/NAD/PSB setup and far from being "audiophile", it is perfect for me. I've heard much superior systems, but they came in at a much superior price and I couldn't justify the cost. About the only thing I can think of improving on is the acoustics, and/or adding a power conditioner.

Mirek G's picture


un-addicted's picture

My attitude was the real problem. I purchased more and more expensive gear, always expecting better sound. One day, I connected my old Dual 1245 to a pair of original PSB Alphas through an inexpensive amp, put on a good record, sat close, and was amazed at what I had overlooked.

tonyE's picture

Me. I'm the imperfect one. Love the way my Maggies sound, hate the look. Love the way the CJ sounds but want a smaller thing. Etc.

Mark L.'s picture

The two protrusions on the sides of my head are my weak links. They are never quite satisfied.

Dan W's picture

CD not so good.

Fearless Leader's picture

Source component: cassette deck. Still searching for an affordable ReVox B215 or B710 that doesn't need hundreds of dollars worth of repairs.

Bill Lund's picture

Lack of sufficient disposable income to indulge myself.

Ramon De la Cruz's picture

The source material, the recordings. While there is some excellently recorded material out there, at this moment, it's the weak link. It's not that studios aren't using the latest 24-bit 192KHz gear. It's that most of the recording/mastering engineers don't know how to properly use it, are already deaf and can't hear the difference or don't care. From re-reissues to newly recorded material, it usually takes buying about 200 CDs in order to get one great sounding album (or some tracks of some album).

Spicolas's picture

I have 3' thick adobe walls, and I absolutely love my Sansui speakers. The only thing I would like to convert would be to tubes.

Agnes Monica Bogel's picture

The brain. Too easily be fooled by placebo effects.

John Gossman's picture

Plaster walls with no sound treatment and no practical way to properly set up the stereo. Other than that, it's great!