Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Not me. Start with the room, then loudspeakers, sources, amplification, both preamplifier and power amplifier, or integrated amp and then AC power, unless your AC power is so bad that it hums or sags and then cabling.

The room has a bigger impact on sound than anything else and speakers have to belong in their room, or no chance of truly great sound.


Whenever I give advice about the order of importance for building from scratch a magical audio system I start like this:

  1. Speakers
  2. Amplifier
  3. AC power
  4. Source

This order is based on a few ideas, chief among them building a solid foundation of which the loudspeaker is key—if your speakers can’t disappear or lacking in musicality, not much that comes before them matters.

If the question is not how to build from scratch, but rather where to begin with an existing system, the sequencing order changes:

  1. Setup and room
  2. Examine the outcome
  3. Identify the weakness
  4. move forward

Here, the process is more layered. If we have great loudspeakers but a weak power foundation, we take one set of steps. If we have great sources and amplification but loudspeakers that refuse to disappear, the answer becomes obvious.

It is rare we get a chance to start from scratch.

Mostly, we’re sequencing our system improvements.

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