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I vote for a Yes to that.
My reason is just from the veil lifting analogy. You start with 100 veils of cloth over the window, all equal, for example. Light gets through a bit but nothing can be seen through it. Taking one off only helps 1% at this stage.
Take 99 of them off, and one is left. You can see some shadows and light in an image now, much better. Take the final veil off, if you could, and you see through the glass window.
Or is every veil lifted something like only taking 1/2 step there every time? More logarithmic than linear?
My experience tells me that the closer I get to "near perfect", the crazier it gets trying to get a full balance and not overshoot the mark again.
While the last veil may be the most important in a window, I think it is important to remember that a stereo isn't a window.
A window and a veil can be a useful metaphor for a certain effect in certain cases. It is also possible to stretch a metaphor too far, past its best use.
When that happen one starts thinking about things backwards--judging reality by how it conforms to the metaphor instead of the metaphor by how it represents reality.
I rather think the metaphor has been stretched in this instance.
"Or is every veil lifted something like only taking 1/2 step there every time? More logarithmic than linear?"
Actually the "veil analogy" is nearly valueless so it doesn't matter a great deal just how you think of it. Stereos are complex systems with multidimensional difficulties. If you are going to think veils you may as well believe that there is only a single dimension, say THD, that affects audio enjoyment and you're in business. As THD approaches zero, happiness approaches infinity, QED! And of course there IS some correlation, a perfect system would have no THD...
In the real world you fix first the things that bug you the worst and carry on until you're happy. No matter what you do your stereo will never be perfect. From my experience there are perceptual thresholds for imperfections (and I bet they are vary with individuals) below which they don't matter. But...it can be tough sorting them since they may bother you but still not be something that you can put your finger on.
In most optical or audio systems there is seldom a free lunch since improving one parameter may mess up another and even if it doesn't, what's optimum for one user's sensibilities may not be for another's. On top of that we change with age and wear. What matters, the final 'veil' for you at a given time, is the last one that your sub-conscious needs to say "ahhh" and quit fidgeting. That's the magic threshold and audiophiles have a harder time getting there than most folks, hence their willingness to invest large amounts of time, money and effort.
I fall into the camp where Bill is at, speakers vary a lot in sound and probably would make a large difference in sound but the front end is where the overall upgrade is. If your source doesn't lift the information from the disc or LP nothing you can do down stream will allow you to hear that lost information. Keeping mind as already stated, a good recording is a must in the first place. So milk the recording for all it's worth in the source and do your best to maintain it throughout the rest of the system. A lot can be said as well for a good listening room.
So can we say it's a case by case basis in which the system and room needs some analysing for the weakest area, taking into consideration any issue the listener has with the current set up?
One other very important thing is synergy, how well components sound together, at least in my opinion good synergy can sometimes edge out in my system over maybe a stand out piece that you know sounds better but just doesn't seem as pleasing.
And, as some one else stated, be careful, sometimes changing that one piece just sends us off again messing with the whole system. From one addict to another :)
If one part of the system is seriously deficient it affects everything! This is one of those theological questions with no answers that plague forums. If the source is bad information never gets into the system; if the speakers are bad it never gets out. The trick is to have a balanced system with good synergy; easy to do [LOL].
Speakers are most critical simply because they are the highest distortion producing component. So even though they are at the end of the line, they have the largest impact on the voice of the system. They are in fact, the "mouth" of the system where the actual sound emanates. other than that exception, the closer to the front end, the more dramatic the difference an upgrade will be.
> > My experience tells me that the closer I get to
> > "near perfect", the crazier it gets
... that the longer you spend chasing things in a hobby, the more your obsessive-compulsive behavior increases.
... or that, since recordings are widely variable, the "perfection goal" changes position every time you play something different.
... or that, since you're human, you're going to find that your own desire for periodic change and "new" makes perfection an impossible goal.
"Crazier" is a good word for many in this hobby. ;-)
The trick is to know when you have it as good as THAT system gets. But if you are comfortable spending thousands of dollars for what would be very little to no change - then go for it.
Upgrades are good are a just a good way of saying you're bored and need a new toy.
If one is borne with the "improvement" gene then an upgrade is merely the next step in the improvement chain. And improving this year over what you had last year ... is a way of life!
Not boredom - simply a constant desire to move up to the next step. :-)) I am deleriously happy with what I have ... but I know I can improve it.
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