What proportion of your total money was spent on each component type [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-12-2009, 11:23 AM
Hi all. This poll will get your thinking caps on, if not your calculators.

Work out what you paid for each component (not what it's worth, not what it's worth today).

If you paid $4000 for a component 5 years ago, use that.

You will need to work out how much you paid for each component, then work out a grand total.

This is purely for the 2-channel exercise. I'm not interested what you paid for your viewing screens, LCDs, plasmas, projectors, sub woofer, centre channel. When I am referring to speakers, that means only your fronts (1 pair). You may count your PC as 1 source.

Phono, cd player, dvd player, blu-ray player, dvr, pvr, all as "source".

If you have more than one of the above, add all those up as the source final amount of money you spent against the total spent on your entire system.

Don't forget every cable pair you are using to hook up each of your 2 channel equipment.

I was always taught that 10% of the total cost go to your cables, 30% to speakers, 30% to sources, 30% to amplification.

There are not enough options, which means I have to leave out power surge protection, and power regulation :( More or less it does help define the overall sound quality at the end of the day, but I'm limited to 10 options.

I'll start the ball rolling, hopefully this won't be too painful for you to try, but if helpful, it will give you a good indication where your strongest components lie, and what you can safely say you got good bang for your buck.

I know there's a good chance your proportions may not be any of the 10. Try to use the closest "highest" percentage, option, if the rest are out by 5 or 10%, it doesn't matter so much.

I'm trying to find anyone who's hit the really high proportions on certain types of components. Now I recently purchased a Xindak power amp, which is basically my most expensive component. I now must use my Yamaha receiver as the pre-amp, but I must count BOTH in the amp section. If I upgrade to a better pre amp, then I'm sure to skew my proportions even further. Logically, I will upgrade my CD player next.

Have fun voting :)

09-12-2009, 11:53 AM
First I don't think there is any rule that anyone should follow when it comes to how much you spend for each component or for that matter any percentage. It's wrongheaded thinking and probably started on forums or profit seeking dealers. An example of this is that I prefer the $700 Audio Note AX Two by a very significant margin to the $2,300 B&W 705. So if I was building a system around two way standmounts and my budget was $5,000 then with the B&W I would have nearly 50% of the total budget on speakers while the AX Two speakers I would have less than 20% - but I'd have much more in the front end giving me an even bigger advantage over the B&W based system.

You can achieve a balanced system in a number of ways. But if I were to go the route you suggest I would make a HUGE distinction between two channel with a turntable front end and one with a CD player front end.

Turntables show massive huge gigantic improvements when you start spending more and more - that is not true at all with CD playback. Where it generally take a significant expense to outstrip "good" $1000 - $1500 players. So in a CD playing system I would put the vast bulk of the money into the speakers. In a turntable based system I would dedicate a huge chunk of the money to the turntable.

My system is about 36% speakers 25% amp 13% turntable 13% tone arm 8% cartridge(34% total turntable rig), 5% CD player and about 1% on cables (however it should be noted that the turntable includes rather expensive 27 strand silver Litz and part of the added expense is included in the 34% figure - possibly a good 10% of it).

This is just interesting information - I would be quite happy to run the same amp with speakers ten times the price which would make the amp 2.5% of the system. I consider the amp to be one of the most musically satisfying amps available in the right system. And that's the key isn't it. How the synergy of the system works more than the actual components. I can make my amp sound pretty dreadful real fast with different loudspeakers. Conversely, I have run Bryston with my speakers and that was a match made in hell. Bryston though was quite fine with PMC loudspeakers - while it's not my taste it does some things frightfully well and for not a whole lot of coin.

I would really avoid percentages. Concentrate on system matching and IMO the best thing to do is figure out what the manufacturer recommends and uses and start there. It doesn't mean you should necessarily end there. A company like Audio Note does all the work for you - they've spent countless hours trying and selecting the right parts that work with their speakers in a symbiotic relationship. But, other companies who don't make everything also have their choices. For example Audio Research makes amplifiers and they use Wilson Audio Speakers to voice their amps on. So it's not a bad idea to listen to a system of Audio Research front end and Wilson Loudspeakers. If you trust the maker to build quality products and you trust them enough to part with your money it's odd that people don't trust their ears as well!

09-12-2009, 12:20 PM
Hello, RGA you have a point. There "shouldn't" be a rule about proportions. I never said it was my rule. When one gets started, it's normally "cheaper" to go by those proportions. I ended up upgrading my speakers to DynAudios. Bit of a step up from $200 to over 4K. Then after some years, I recovered financially lol... enough to get the most out of my speakers by getting better amplification. It took me more than 5 years to finally find something that I could be happy with. I don't choose quickly. I think when one is parting with money for something they will use for many years, should take their time with their decision.

My system is more along the lines of ...

30% speakers, 38% power amp, 14% pre-amp (total for amplification 52%), 9% source (PS3 I paid under $500 for, plus a DVR), 9% cabling.

If I get the source I really want, that will push up the source from 9% to 25%.

I've been on 7th heaven before, listening to my favourite music in the hi fi specialist stores. This is bringing in both my CDs, and my pre-amp. So... the power amp helped me one step closer to that. The source is next. I really do not want to buy more cables, I spent quite a bit as it is. The buck has to stop somewhere. I think upgrading the pre amp will be better bang for my dollar in overall 2 channel performance.

Hook it all up finally via XLR, that removes the interference from the final equation.

Pity we all live so far away from each other, I think we could all bring over our favourite CDs, have a listen, and find out just what our ears are missing at home :eek6: , that's after a barbecue of course. I feel that I'm the only person in my area who's even heard of XLR (that doesn't work in a hi fi shop) to be honest :lol:

09-12-2009, 01:22 PM
I have NO rule... If there's a piece of gear or kit I want AND I CAN AFFORD IT, I get it. Most if not all my speaks are "vintage" or orphan so... I don't know if my calculations would even give you the information you're looking for, but I did it anyhow. If you check the results you'll see I generally spent along the same ratio you did.

Da Worfster

09-12-2009, 08:04 PM
Despite what proportions we vote/have. It is not so simple, as some components just do not perform as good with specific combinations of some set ups. Nor are some components suitable for specific room set ups/spaces.

A painful part IS the room, but it often makes it worse when one has to move and the new space is totally different. If you're lucky the overall acoustics are improved and no additional equipment is necessary.

I'm so jealous 80% of components out there I will never have the chance to find first hand just how sensasational they are :frown2: but it also prevents me to experiencing the not so crash hot components as well. I'd rather be spoiled for choice than to have little choice.

Please post, describe your setups, don't just vote. Explain your passion behind your favourite component.

09-12-2009, 08:22 PM
I couldn't find one that was a very good match, but I voted anyway. I suppose mine is 35% speakers, 25% amp, 35% sources and 5% cable. That's assuming the phono preamp and the DAC are sources and it's still probably a little high for what I've spent on cables. I mostly take the approach of upgrading the weakest link or whatever is intriguing to me...not any particular strategy. After doing the math, I was surprised at how low the amp portion is.

Mr Peabody
09-12-2009, 09:41 PM
RGA, I have to disagree with your statement on CD playback. Only putting 5% there you should be a bit more objective. I've heard some state of the art CD playback including your beloved Audio Note and it can become quite spectacular when finding a quality unit.

Most of the areas in my system are pretty close in price range. I mostly resemble #10 but I don't have that much percent in cabling. It could be more than 10% but definitely less than 20%.

Using separates is going to boost the amp percentage up versus using an integrated I would think. So having two mono power amps and a preamp caused the amp area to have a slight percentage hump.

09-12-2009, 10:54 PM
Deleted due to a misreading

Jack in Wilmington
09-13-2009, 05:28 AM
The closest fit for me is the first---------30% 30% 30% 10%
If I upgrade my turntable I'll be closer to the second. It will be my single most expensive piece of audio gear. Though I don't have a large collection of LP's, I'm not sure if this is the best route for me to take.

09-13-2009, 05:32 AM
How high do you plan to upgrade that turntable, Jack? I'm tentatively in turntable-upgrade mode, too.

Jack in Wilmington
09-13-2009, 08:06 AM
How high do you plan to upgrade that turntable, Jack? I'm tentatively in turntable-upgrade mode, too.

I started out thinking Project Xpression III ($699). Small upgrade at best. Then I listened to a Music Hall 5.1LE ($1099). Then the dealer took me back to the Clearaudio area and I really liked the sound of the Emotion ($1400) with Maestro cartridge he said he would hook me up for under $1900 total. I've also heard the VPI Scout and the Project Perspex. Right now I'm probably looking at one of the last three. What are you looking at?

09-13-2009, 09:56 AM
I started out thinking Project Xpression III ($699). Small upgrade at best. Then I listened to a Music Hall 5.1LE ($1099). Then the dealer took me back to the Clearaudio area and I really liked the sound of the Emotion ($1400) with Maestro cartridge he said he would hook me up for under $1900 total. I've also heard the VPI Scout and the Project Perspex. Right now I'm probably looking at one of the last three. What are you looking at?

I've been looking at the Rega P5, the Clearaudio Emotion and the VPI Scout. I also was very tempted on the Marantz made by Clearaudio. A dealer had a bargain on one listed on Craigslist. I toyed with the idea of a Clearaudio Champion, used. It had the Unify arm and a Benz cartridge. In general, I keep going around in circles.

09-13-2009, 10:26 AM
Hi all.

Yes count phono, cd player, dvd player, blu-ray player, dvr, pvr, all as "source".

If you have more than one of the above, add all those up as the source final amount of money you spent against the total spent on your entire system.

Jimmy C
09-13-2009, 01:08 PM
...I was just thinking the other day, coincidentally, 4 out of 5 components costs exactly the same. Table plus cart, integrated, speakers, and sub came in at the same price. My Rotel CDP comes in at half of those.

So, let's see... if we lump the sub with the mains (2-channel only), as well as the 2 sources together, we get 43%, 21%, 31% and 5% on wires.

Didn't include speaker stands, Bellari phono pre, or Rotel line conditioner (err, spike protector).

09-13-2009, 03:02 PM
Mr. Peabody

I should clarify - While I agree 100% that top tier CD replay can be "spectacular" what I am saying is that percentages are better shifted depending on the system financial allotment. Audiofederation which carries some top end decks also said the same thing. For example - If I am going from a $1500 cd player to a $2500 cd player in a smallish budgeted system will the $1000 make more of an improvement than spending the extra thousand on speakers. In virtually all cases I would say buying the better loudspeaker is the smarter move. Granted it may depend on "which cd player" and which speakers we're talking about - but that too is kind of the point to not follow basic percentages.

IMO CD replay is limited - even the top CD replay regardless of cost would have serious difficulty in matching my turntable or similar turntables in this class at a fraction of the cost. That does not mean CD players should not be invested in or people should not try to improve their cd playback. I just believe you have to make very large nearly exponential financial leaps to make truly valuable improvements to CD replay - where as a couple of hundred bucks on a turntable can yield quite massive differences.

Another factor with an "only cd replay" front end is that it's easier to upgrade cd replay at a later date. So If I had $6k and I was looking at a roughly $2k amp, 2k CD player and $2k speakers I would be very tempted to buy a $1500 amp $500 cd player and get much better $4k loudspeakers.

The upgrade process is easier because the cd player will have a digital output to a DAC that can be added later - the amplifier will no doubt have pre-outs and can be upgraded in stages. With the speakers you're largely stuck. My example means you could get an AN J/LX over a K or a Magnepan 3.6 over a 1.6 and the examples go on. Besides the DAC is the bigger importance in the cd player anyway and transports in $1500 players are not all that much better if at all than the ones in $500 players.

So perhaps the biggest reason to spend the most on speakers at the outset is that while it's true you can't fix the source after the fact - you will have a speaker that can show you more of the differences in the upstream components and is the hardest thing to upgrade.

JoeE SP9
09-13-2009, 03:39 PM
It's been more than 40+ years since I had to budget percentages of money for gear. Once you have a system that sounds halfway decent most just start upgrading. From that point, budgeting specific percentages for a CD player or TT is not how it works. You buy what you think upgrades the weakest link, usually. Your formulas and calculations are just not relevant unless you are buying a totally new system from scratch.

How about a new proportion suggestion. The cost of your recordings compared to the cost of your system. How about a rule that the cost of your recordings should be at least 1/3 of your equipment cost.

I agree with RGA.

09-13-2009, 03:55 PM
...budgeting specific percentages for a CD player or TT is not how it works. You buy what you think upgrades the weakest link, usually. Your formulas and calculations are just not relevant unless you are buying a totally new system from scratch.

I think the OP is asking us to calculate what we spent to get where we are, rather than what we budgeted or would expect to budget.

Mr Peabody
09-13-2009, 04:47 PM
JoeE & RGA, you have one way to look at it but you both have modest CD playback in comparison to your systems and your turntable. The Marantz probably cost a fraction of what your TT total rig did. I would agree that for less money you can achieve what I'd call true high end sound from a quality turntable set up or said a bit differently you will have to spend more on a CD player to reach a certain level of fidelity versus a turntable rig. I think you just prefer vinyl which is fine but I have both and want the best out of both formats.

If all sources are included then my system levels out to closer to #1. Although, source and amp percentage are slightly more than my speakers.

JoeE SP9
09-13-2009, 05:22 PM
My MSB DAC has to be included in the CD playback chain. The extra's that have been added to the MSB make it cost more than the Marantz. The cost of both should be included.:yesnod:

Marantz CD-63SE modified with tube outputs etc. ~$600
MSB DAC with all options including new power supply. ~$800

Total around $1400

True, my CD playback chain is quite modest when compared to my LP playback chain. What is demonstrably better is hideously expensive. It's in the area of diminishing returns. That said, I'm replacing my old VPI with something new. I may just buy an Oppo BluRay player and be done with CD playback devices for a while. What am I saying? I'd have to get a new stand alone DAC. :out:

Real Audiophiles have to have external 2 channel DAC's.:rolleyes5:

09-13-2009, 09:07 PM
Whoa Joe, if I were to go by that rule,

Let's see...

What I paid for at the time, not what they are worth today,

I purchased at least 1000 CDs, at $30 a pop, which equates to 30K.
(in Australia CDs cost $30, not $13, 14 like they are in the US).

That implies my system should be worth 90K !!. Mine's not even worth 13 !!.

Seriously however what proportion of those CDs would I listen to a year ? hmmm about 25%.

If I had 90K spare only to ugpade my system, WoW, I'd first move to the UK (or other European countries) or US lol the equipment available there, be very nice.

I can only really consider substantial upgrades after I sort out my debts, and after the recent Power Amp upgade, maybe get the CD player upgrade within the next 6 months, then I can be happy for a few more years yet.

I THINK !!! anyway...

Mr Peabody
09-14-2009, 05:03 AM
Ozzie, how much were LP's? if CD's were $30.00 I don't know if I'd even have them, or if so, I'd be much more selective and buy more used than I do now. I think most who have been in the hobby for years have probably built up collections that cost more than our equipment.

Bill K Davis
09-14-2009, 06:26 AM
I have a Jolida 202 tube amp for about $500. If you want tube sound ,you got to pay.Otherwise used solid state amps are very cheap.Used speakers are a great bargain. I have Fried A/2 and Norman 8 speakers for about $125. Dual 1229 turntable ,about $100,AT95e cart. about $40. The world is almost giving away great cassette decks. My 400 records, bought in many places, cost at least $1500. Cables have to be paid for,about $80.:ciappa:

09-14-2009, 08:08 AM
Mine came out to 61% speakers, 17.5% source, 17.5% amp and 4% cables.

I choose the closest match of "60% spks, 15% amp(s), 20% source(s), 5% cabling "

09-14-2009, 08:40 AM
Nice work GMichael.

Mr P, oh my I didn't even count my LPs towards the 30K ouch that is a lot of money for lots of round plastic :22:

Well my LP collection isn't huge, but I think there were about $10 about 20 to 30 years ago, which back then was quite a bit if money. I'd say I have at least 100 LP's in my collection.

I don't really listen to them anymore since my LP player died years ago. No matter, it's the CDs that my bread and butter of my favourite music lies.

There are several reasons why my CD collection keeps growing.

1. I simply cannot obtain 95% of all the music I want in Australia. Some 'bigger' companies claim to have a good variety. However it's mainly top 40, and other music they play 900 times a year on the radio. It's pathetic, that our country need DJs to tell us what we like.

Not me. Besides even if the artists CDs are available in Australia, the rarer ones, the special editions, definitely do not see the Australian ports. You can forget 1000% about SACD, and DVD-Audio in Australia. Nope, I order online only from overseas. describe it.

Which brings me to...

2. I'm actually listening to Blade Runner's 25th Anniversary 3-CD set. The last 2 CDs you cannot get in Australia. The additional tracks from Vangelis, are sensational. The lullaby type of track Spotkanie Z Matka - is incredible. I implore you, you have to listen to this soundtrack on your systems. Vangelis is one of those artists that take your system to another place. Synthesiser music plus classical, and special effects, hardly scratches the surface.

The music on my system sounds much better played from the CD, as opposed to any other format. So imagine how much better they would sound even still when I upgrade the player. :14:

It actually pains me to listen to music through my Seinheiser 570 Syphony headphones now. This is because my amp and speakers have severely surpassed them. However I simply must play through headphones in the middle of the night. However they say it is not a good idea to listen for too long through headphones, bacteria forms within the ear canal.

JoeE SP9
09-14-2009, 03:25 PM
Hey guy's, I was kidding about the 1/3 thing.:wink5: Although with 3.5K+ LP's and 1K+ CD's I do over qualify.:rolleyes5: I guess I'll have to buy more expensive gear and lots of it.:out:

09-14-2009, 10:15 PM
Hmmm would be interesting to find out what it would be like to own a 90K system :(

I would find a way to retire and spend the rest of my life finding more music to enjoy full time, and listening to music, watch high quality picture/sound movies/shows.

Hmmmm maybe one day my dream can come true. It probably can, one component at a time :P