Listening to music - What's most important?

Music has great influence on our life, and resembles a distraction from everyday life. Listening to music should be enjoyable. All you need is:

How the sound quality can be judged

The sound quality can be judged by the amount of linear and non-linear distortion, frequency range and timing, and on top of that, one can simply judge by wether the music is enjoyable or not.

Involved components

Let's take a look at the components of a system. Some will effect the sound quality less than others.

A quality CD player or amplifier and the interconnect between them and the loudspeakers will cause less distortion than 0,01 %. Variations in frequency range or timing are also close to none.

On the other hand, a loudspeaker will cause up to 1% distortion, with it's frequency range and timing being far from perfect.

Try a (blind) test:
Borrow a second sound system from a friend or hifi-shop, and swap only the CD player and/or the amplifier, whilst using the same speakers. It is important that you:
a) use a record you play often and know well
b) play both sets on same volume
c) have a friend switch sets while your eyes are closed.
d) As a second test, now swap loudspeakers!

The most critical component

Alcone AC 5.25 Now you know what is most important: Speakers!

Chose your loudspeaker based on the type of music you like to hear. Classical music for example requires best possible accuracy (linearity, transparency) whilst sub-bass below 50 Hz only plays a minor role. On the other hand, if you like to induldge in deep powerful bass, you will need to get big speakers with large scale bass drivers.