Thanks for the input all.
My system is composed of:
Quad 21L Speakers
NAD C350 Integrated (To be Replaced)
FT Audio LW1S2 Passive Pre-Amp
Speaker Wire: NearSota - OTA Wire - Bi-Wired
Interconnects: Kimber 4 Strand Copper OEM (Similar to KS-1011)
Source: Toshiba SD-430V
First. I am of the mind that the source is incredibly important, however it was much to my surprise to discover that the NAD is a weaker link in my system than the Toshiba. The Toshiba ABSOLUTELY is the next thing to be replaced in my system.
Why do I believe that the NAD is weaker than the Toshiba?http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1083534349
That is my in house roundup of a Rega Planet 2000, Cambridge Audio Azur 640c, Arcam 73t, Roksan Kandy mkIII, Cary 308, and Creek CD50mki.
No the Toshiba was not better than any of the associated players and I have my eye on the Cary or the Creek for my next source.
Without the Pre-Amp, bypassing the NAD's pre-amp section, it was nearly impossible to distinguish between players. Putting the pre-amp in it was not hard to tell the difference. One thing came through very clearly, my Toshiba could not image / had no soundstage etc. Also the Cary had a smaller soundstage than the Creek and even had one I would describe as small - this is something I have heard from no one else.
So recently I had both the Monarchy SM-70 and the Sophia Baby Tube Amp in my system. Suddenly the Toshiba has a soundstage, and can image. I'm sure that the Cary would do a hell of a lot better (as would most of the other players in that round-up). So while the Toshiba is weak, and it is but considerably better & non-fatiguing compared to my previous Pioneer DV-353 --- the NAD is really holding back the system as a whole.
Creek + Pre-Amp + NAD is about as enjoyable as Toshiba + Pre-Amp + Monarch/Other Poweramps.
Which is why I'm looking at th power-amp first - to enable me to be better able to evaluate a source when I get to that stage, and provide me a more enjoyable experience in the interim.
I guess I've always felt that Integrateds are ultimately a compromise at some level.