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?

Michael Holmes's picture

It's always the room. Equipment can be upgraded—that's a spending decision. Very few of us can change the room.

Jim M's picture

It's my ceiling, which has a steep change in height 1/3 of the way into the room.

jordan's picture

It's either the Rega P7/EMT JSD6 or the Wavelength Cosecant. I think my amp and preamp are revealing their limits (Shindo Masseto/Cortese).

HK Mendenhall's picture

CD. I will go DSD some time in the future.

James's picture

It's not big enough! The next house will have a dedicated listening room to solve that problem.

Todd Collins's picture

My well-regarded CD player is my weakest component. I've ripped all my CDs to FLAC, which sounds better than the original discs. Additionally, my CD player can't even come close to competing with my turntable. I probably listen to one CD a month on it now.

Daniel's picture

Using computer headphone out. Very bad until i get my modded X-FI sound card back.

Glenn Loving's picture

An audio system can be perfect if you perceive it to be perfect. With my system, I have been trying to create the perfect listening system for me in stages. Right now I need to upgrade my speakers because I do not believe that they can "see" everything that the source, pre-amp, and amp is giving them. Once I get new speakers I am sure that I will find room problems that are limiting my system. Or, I will find that I will need new speaker cable to power my new speakers. Anyway, I'm sure that I will come up with a satisfactory system—eventually. I think the real question here is not if your system can be perfect but, whether you can perceive it as perfect. Happy Listening!

Frederic Aubourg's picture

It is not the only one but the first one to correct otherwise no matter hoz good are your other doznstream components ...

Anonymous's picture

Limited budget so I've got good record player and amp first.

L.  Ralph Mellon's picture

I have a room that's almost bare, too big, and full of echo. It's actually a space between my sitting room and my dining room, all located in a loft style area. Finally, it opens in my living room and there are no doors (yet) between the two of them.

Keith Mitchell's picture

The source material!

Timbo in Oz's picture

it's an L-shaped room, so twice the problems. Next the speakers. Even with quiet enclosures and the best possible diffraction behaviour.

KJ's picture

No question: it's my room. My system has fortunately reached the point where the individual components are largely satisfactory. But I've only ever used standmounts for one good reason: I don't have any experience with room-tuning devices, and even the limited bass of a standmount speaker has already given me headaches (I hate even the hint of boom). For this reason I continue to use electronic room correction. In recent years I've also begun choosing speakers with waveguided speakers to control in-room treble splash, which has also helped postpone the inevitable,(ie, full-blown room treatment).

jun's picture

Oh, without a doubt, speakers. My speaker is well known English moving coil speaker mainly used as a studio monitor for classic music but it still sound bad. Real high performance domestic speaker must be superior “transducer” AND “radiator” simultaneously. It is extremely difficult to design speaker that have good acoustic transducer (freq. resp. and minimum energy storage) AND acceptable radiating characteristic (maintain ideal wave front characteristic within audible range without interfering with the room) simultaneously which is mutually exclusive to have both good. In practice, there is lots of so-called high performance audiophile speakers that even cannot satisfy good transducer characteristic. Hear some powerful pop vocal (note: singer must have “true powerful ability to sing”) and most speakers make there transducer “sing by itself”, sometimes making a impressive vocal sound, which is untrue sound, but sometimes people like that kind of presentation right? Unfortunately my speaker has this fault. Most speakers are faulty even in the vocal range. My only acceptable transducer for true hi-fi speaker is well-designed film transducer. But that transducer is really bad at radiating sound. One acceptable speaker that I know uses a full range acoustic lens to the very good film transducer. I don’t have that superb speaker; my father has it and still using that 28 yeas old speaker (very long life for a speaker that uses film transducer in humid Japan). Unfortunately although that speaker is may be acceptable for true audiophiles, it seems that it is not acceptable in the business standpoint / economical standpoint.

Al Earz's picture

If I could eliminate the "human" factor. I could make the room work better with my speakers. Someday in a future time far far away I may be able to add the perfect room to my home. But for now I have to leave the front door accessable.

Thrane's picture

It is pysical

Rodolfo B.'s picture

HDCD, Upsampling, Noiseshaping, SACD, BlueRay. Can we please have some sanity?!

Reza Habib's picture

Starts at the source. Weakness will reflect throughout the 'chain'.

L.  Johnson's picture

Very large listening room which has some irregularties and low ceilings. This causes lmited placement of speakers resulting in no deep bass reinforcement and too much early reflections from the ceiling.

Esa's picture

Lack of properly recorded music and especially in the multichannel format

Anonymous's picture

still working on hearing everything I paid for everywhere else

Eric Ekern's picture

I know my system would be taken to the next level with a properly-treated room. Convincing the wife is the biggest obstacle. $1000 cable? No problem. Hang somthing on the wall? No way!

Anonymous's picture

Always the speakers.

Graham, London's picture

If my (linestage) preamp had a headphone socket I could forgive it the fact that it has no balance control, mono option, tone controls, or loudness button for late night listening. And it has far too much gain and no low gain option, forcing me to insert attenuators between pre and power. The most annoying omissions are probably the balance control and low/variable gain setting. Having said that, it’s always sounded fine (Class A rated). But next time I'd buy something with as many of those features as possible.