- Loudspeakers. Yeah, I know. We don't make loudspeakers (yet) and I am raising the collective hair on those who believe the opposite
- Power amplifier. Uh, huh. Right? Who cares about power amps? They sit like lumps of coal and take up floor space. We never interact with them. They must do something important but exactly what we're not too sure.
- AC power. Get this right and nearly all your system's other ills fade to the background.
- Preamp. I can't think of a system that doesn't benefit from the addition of a world-class preamplifier. There's a magic, a synergy, that happens with these beasts.
When marriages struggle counselors mediate. In a marriage of hi-fi components, dealers were once arbiters, but times have changed. Where once high-end audio dealers were as thick as two short planks, today customers generally chat amongst themselves on forums or seek out advice from those they feel they can trust. The problem with all this is there are as many opinions as there are people and it's difficult to uncover the truth if in fact there even is a truth. And I believe there is. The best marriages of people and equipment come from synergistic matching—disparate strengths and weakness matched to form a greater sum. Weak elements can sometimes be aided by overwhelmingly strong counterparts, like a lush sounding cable placed between two bright products in the chain. But our best results come from strong, well-performing, foundational products relied upon in the mix. This may surprise you but here's my list of critical foundational pieces to the chain (in order of importance):
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