There has been a lot of talk about this subject that has lead to various opinions. The general opinion is that the so called “garbage in, garbage out” concept applies – the source is the most important, then the amp and then speakers.
To me it is the component that influences the sound the most and therefore I believe speakers are the most important in your choice, followed by a suitable amp that can drive the speakers and then the source components. However a balanced approach must be followed. For instance it does not make any sense to buy a cheap CD player and a very expensive speaker set or even worse, a very expensive CD player and a cheap speaker set.
The overall result is determined by the weakest link in the system. You will find that by changing your CD player to a more expensive one will make small improvements in your sound, but changing speakers will make a huge difference. The higher you go up the ladder in quality of a speaker then everything in front of them will start to make a difference, amplifiers, CD players and even cables. Note: Better cables cannot improve any component’s sound they can only have less influence on the total sound of the system. So if you do not hear any difference in the sound with different cables do not spend more money on them.
If you got money to burn rather spend it on better speakers.