my experiences, findings and recommendations for a buy
1.) In my opinion the speakers are by far most important for the music-reproduction. Speakers influence the sound decisively. The best way is to spend as much money as possible on the speakers. Speakers often differ in sound, a test and a comparison are very important. The quality rises with the price, in some cases up to about 2.000 dollars. Therefore a good idea is to buy a better model for the same amount of money, but second-hand. Audio-magazines are unqualified and misleading for a purchase decision.
2.) Devices (CD-player and amplifier) have, apart from low-budget-devices, a surprisingly small influence. If you have a CD-player (about 300 dollars) and an amplifier (about 600 dollars) you don’t need to look for new devices. It’s better to spend that money on the speakers as well.
CD-player: often sounds different because of differences in the analogue section or digital filter with different sound-characters. Often a more expensive CD-player sounds different, but seldom better.
3.) The cables have no influence on the sound. A solid cable (speaker-cable, interconnecting-cable or power-cable) costs about 10 to 30 dollars, more is not necessary. In professional use (recordings from concerts or in radio-stations), expensive cables are not used as well.
4.) Build up your High-end-system from the speakers to the sources. First, choose the right speaker, after that choose (if it necessary) the other components.