The typical question is that you have a great component you want to impress people with at a show. How do you do that? The answers to this question will help explain why we see some rooms setup the way we do, and conversely why some great products do not get the show accolades they deserve.
The answers are different depending on the type of component if the component is a:
AMP: you want speakers and sources that do not detract from the fact that the amp is the most important piece in the system [i.e. not too hyped or visibly impressive]. You want well known components, that people already know the sound of so that they can attribute all of the above and beyond extraordinary goodness of the system to your amp [i.e. the other components are plain jane well known components that everyone knows the sound of]. DON’T put your amp on speakers that the amp can’t drive [please please please. But so many do anyway]. DON’T use amp stands that rob your amp of much of its goodness.
CD PLAYER: You want a state-of-the-art, GREAT sounding system and to play the CD player all the time. People then attribute the fact that the system sound does not suck to the fact that the CD player must really be pretty darn decent. Putting your CD Player in a mediocre or bad sounding system is only a slight negative – unless the turntable ‘fixes’ many of the problems with the system due to its warmth or whatever sonic characteristics – then they will think that digital sucks, especially your CD Player.
CABLES: Well, you can either do the Nordost thing, with wonderfully explanatory presentations that let you hear the sound of the cables, or you can have a static display like Kimber Kable, or you can have a mixed static display and demo system like Gutwire. DON’T put your cables into a bad sounding system with great components – especially not with signs all over the place indicating that the cables responsible for this sound are yours.
SPEAKERS: You want as good a sounding system as you can get with components that are as generic as possible [but even with famous or hyped components – they speakers will still get most of the credit for the sound].