The Audiophile Bug Is Biting…

Lately, I’ve been thinking I want a major overhaul in my system(s) as I have some gear that is either long in the tooth, but still good; or I’m just ready to try something different.

I’m actually looking at buying new, because that is not how I usually shop, but want to treat myself.

I have lots of ideas, but am interested to hear from forum members, presupposing a $10k budget, what you guys would put together for that amount.

To narrow this down a bit, I have recently decided the following are my system priorities:

1) I am considering CD players/transports, DACs, Preamps, amps, and speakers.
2) Prefer silver aesthetic; or duotone black/silver
3) I’m not considering turntables at this time.
4) I’m not looking for cables at this time.
5) Would like to steer clear of ugly gear (e.g. W4S, for example 🤷🏼)

Following is some of the equipment I intend to keep in case that may influence suggestions/combos, or how much you might allocate to a certain source/preamp/amp/speakers.

DAC:
* Jolida Tube Dac III

Transport:
* Audiolab CDT6000

Preamp:
* - -

Amp:
* PrimaLuna Prologue Five

Speakers:
* Bookies - Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 & 10.2; Kef Q100 & Q300; Monitor Audio Silver 1
* Floorstanding - Dynaudio Audience 82 (sometimes think about modernizing, but they usually dissuade me after comparisons; had since 2004!)
* Subs - REL HT1003; SVS SB-1000 Pro (about to purchase)
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Comments

  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    edited February 2022
    Some of my considerations so far:

    * PrimaLuna Evo 100 Preamp + Klipsch Cornwall IV = $9400

    * Jays Audio CD transport + Kinki Studio (EX-M1+) + Denafrips Hestia + Martin Logan Electromotion ESL = $9,500

    * Jays Audio CD transport + Denafrips Pontus II + Kinki Studio (EX-M1+) + Martin Logan ESL = $10,300

    * Denafrips Hestia + Pass Labs X150.8 + Martin Logan Electromotion ESL = $11,000 😬

    * Denafrips Hestia + Pass Labs XA-25, or (INT-25 only) + Klipsch Cornwall IV = $12,600-$13,850 😬
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,692
    The struggle is real.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,913
    edited February 2022
    Instead of transport + DAC take a look at the SA-KI Ruby.

    https://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/184660/marantz-sa-ki-ruby

    Also don't overlook Benchmark. A LA4 & AHB2 will bring out the best of any speaker you connect them to.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    Nice photos of the SA-KI Ruby player. Thanks for the suggestions also.

    The Benchmark LA-4 has R2R volume control, which is of particular interest to me.
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,692
    jbreezy5 wrote: »
    The Benchmark LA-4 has R2R volume control, which is of particular interest to me.
    Yeah, that volume control is a noisy, clicky thing when turned, but it works well, and has 0.5db adjustments.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    jdjohn wrote: »
    jbreezy5 wrote: »
    The Benchmark LA-4 has R2R volume control, which is of particular interest to me.
    Yeah, that volume control is a noisy, clicky thing when turned, but it works well, and has 0.5db adjustments.

    I actually like the clicks; the sound of precision. 1/2 dB adjustment is nice too.

    I’ll be looking at this more.
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 24,216
    edited February 2022
    Check out dCS and Esoteric as well. Used components from them will still beat new from anyone else.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, Arcam AVR20, Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk Audio Legend L800 with height modules, L400 Center Channel Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds. Marantz MM7025 stereo amp. Simaudio Moon 380d DSDIn retirement...TriangleArt Reference SE with Walker Precision Motor Drive, Yamaha CD-S2100 SACD Player.“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,913
    Now there is two brands I wouldn't mind getting ears on!
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    Check out dCS and Esoteric as well. Used components from them will still beat new from anyone else.

    Any particular model you’ve experienced that you’d suggest considering?

    Amp/Cd Player/Pre?
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,913
    edited February 2022
    You could consider having your Dynaudio Audience 42 crossovers upgraded. Stock ones appear to have a lot of room for improvement:
    r1dleoh627d5.png

    Edit: Apologies, that is from the 42 not the 82, but guessing yours uses equivalent parts quality.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    Mine are the Audience 82s, they were the top floorstanders of that line; 3-ways.

    I’m certain they’d also benefit from a crossover upgrade.

    I like this suggestion!
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 24,216
    edited February 2022
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, Arcam AVR20, Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk Audio Legend L800 with height modules, L400 Center Channel Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds. Marantz MM7025 stereo amp. Simaudio Moon 380d DSDIn retirement...TriangleArt Reference SE with Walker Precision Motor Drive, Yamaha CD-S2100 SACD Player.“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • ZLTFUL
    ZLTFUL Posts: 5,579
    There are only 3 pieces of audio gear that I ever regretted selling. One of those was an Esoteric DV-50S. Even though it was a "universal" player, it was leaps and bounds above the quality of any other disc spinner I have owned.
    47lbs, Esoteric build quality, balanced analog stereo outputs as well as digital outputs if you wanted to run it through a DAC...

    Anyway, enough rambling, I am in total agreement with John. Esoteric used gear is still better than so many new.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    There are only 3 pieces of audio gear that I ever regretted selling. One of those was an Esoteric DV-50S. Even though it was a "universal" player, it was leaps and bounds above the quality of any other disc spinner I have owned.
    47lbs, Esoteric build quality, balanced analog stereo outputs as well as digital outputs if you wanted to run it through a DAC...

    Anyway, enough rambling, I am in total agreement with John. Esoteric used gear is still better than so many new.

    Ah, yes, Esoteric had the legendary high quality transport mechanisms on their players. I will definitely be looking at these.

    What were the other pieces of gear you regretted selling?
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    heiney9 wrote: »
    Buying new higher end gear you really take a beating, so if you don't care for the new piece and want to sell it, in many cases you'll loose 15-20% right away, plus the sales tax you paid. Just letting you know if you buy an amp for $5K new don't expect to get $4900 selling it used. As a round figure 10% sales tax on a budget of $10K is $1K.

    If your patient there are always very lightly used pieces at a good savings over buying new from a dealer. I also have noticed that they are in the same boat as any other product. Meaning prices have increased, very few discounts and little to no stock. Supply and demand means fewer deals. I just bought a new integrated amp/dac for the office rig and I was able to get in before a price increase from $629 to $749.

    Not trying to be a buzz-kill just something to think about. I am in the same situation in wanting to upgrade/get something different so I've been doing a little research.

    Good luck
    H9

    Much appreciated wisdom.

    Particularly with Pass Labs, I like going through Reno HIFI, but, as you said “supply and demand”; he just doesn’t have the used deals like he used to.

    Going to be patient and watch for clearance deals. I’ve purchased a lot of NIB stuff through authorized dealers with steep discounts like my PL Prologue Five ($1100) and Monitor Audio Silver 1s ($600/pr.).

    Good luck with your upgrades!
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 24,216
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, Arcam AVR20, Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk Audio Legend L800 with height modules, L400 Center Channel Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds. Marantz MM7025 stereo amp. Simaudio Moon 380d DSDIn retirement...TriangleArt Reference SE with Walker Precision Motor Drive, Yamaha CD-S2100 SACD Player.“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 24,216
    Where are you located @jbreezy5?
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, Arcam AVR20, Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk Audio Legend L800 with height modules, L400 Center Channel Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds. Marantz MM7025 stereo amp. Simaudio Moon 380d DSDIn retirement...TriangleArt Reference SE with Walker Precision Motor Drive, Yamaha CD-S2100 SACD Player.“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • BlueFox
    BlueFox Posts: 15,251

    If you get the Pass XP-20 then you definitely should upgrade the stock interconnect cable.

    https://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/161895/review-revelation-audio-power-umbilical-for-pass-xp-20-preamp


    Lumin X1 file player, Westminster Labs interconnect cable
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD; Pass XP-22 pre; X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers; SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on source, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    Where are you located @jbreezy5?

    MO
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    For me Pass amps > Pass preamps in terms of priority at this time.

    Not that I wouldn’t consider a Pass preamp, but would more likely go for the XP12 as I like single box solutions where possible.

    My curiosity on R2R volume control sound is most piqued right now, so The Denafrips, W4S STP-SE (if it wasn’t so fugly), Benchmark LA-4, etc. are the direction I’m leaning if I get a preamp.

    Obviously, aesthetically, Pass pre/amp is quite ideal; I don't doubt sonically either.

    Right now, no cable upgrades on the agenda.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    As far as preamps, came across BAT VK-33 and VK-33SE; very pricy, but have R2R volume controls AND tubes!

    6922s in the regular VK-33, and 6h30s in the SE version (which also has output transformers) 🤤

    Man, this is the kind of thing to make one stop and re-think everything already being considered.

    Anyone heard either of these two pres?
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    I went to Best Buy last night and listened to some ML ESL 13x, I think. WOW!

    Too big for my space and out of my price range though.

    Also listened to ESL X, which has two 8” woofers, would fit in my space, and is $4,500/pr. in gloss black.

    Sonically, wasn’t a comparison for the 13s, however, the ESL X was only being driven by a slimline Marantz surround receiver and streaming; while, the ESL 13s were driven by a Marantz surround processor/Rotel Huge amp (not sure the model), and Marantz cd6007 cd player.

    So not apples to apples in terms of source and amplification.

    Both sounded really good though.

    Honorable mention goes to the Marantz CD6007, it had a smooth disc tray and opened at a moderate pace. I didn’t note mechanical noise during playback; nice work Marantz.

    Still forming opinions and planning. But this was a fun visit.

  • ZLTFUL
    ZLTFUL Posts: 5,579
    jbreezy5 wrote: »
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    There are only 3 pieces of audio gear that I ever regretted selling. One of those was an Esoteric DV-50S. Even though it was a "universal" player, it was leaps and bounds above the quality of any other disc spinner I have owned.
    47lbs, Esoteric build quality, balanced analog stereo outputs as well as digital outputs if you wanted to run it through a DAC...

    Anyway, enough rambling, I am in total agreement with John. Esoteric used gear is still better than so many new.

    Ah, yes, Esoteric had the legendary high quality transport mechanisms on their players. I will definitely be looking at these.

    What were the other pieces of gear you regretted selling?

    Cary Audio SLP-03 Preamp
    Musical Fidelity A5CR Amplifier

    Those 3 pieces together had some seriously magical synergy.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 857
    I eye-balled the SLP-03 quite a bit through the years. Circumstances prevented pulling the trigger. That’s a beauty.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,913
    You're getting distracted. Keep your eye on the prize. Benchmark LA4 & AHB2 combo.
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,692
    The Benchmark LA4 has a great headphone amp as well, and includes a 4-pin XLR jack as well as the standard 1/4" jack.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,913
    **The HPA4, that is. LA4 is the version without the HP amp.
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,692
    Doh! Of course...thus the HP part.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon