Best way to spend my income tax refund

Ok guys, I'm jumping the gun and already pondering the best way to spend my income tax refund. I'm considering 2 totally different options and want to put them up for your opinion.

1. Upgrade McCormack DNA 1 Deluxe to Rev A. I really like this amp and I'm curious to see how far the mods take it. Seems like the general opinion is favorable with this upgrade. How does it compare to a totally different ~$2k (sale of amp plus cost of upgrade) new/used amp?

2. VPI Aries Scout. I admit I'm a digital guy with hundreds of CDs and not a single record. However hearing this turntable made an impression. Was it the Hovland Saphire/Audio Research (SS model not sure which)/Maggie 3.6Qr system that made it sound this good? Would my Musical Fidelity A3cr phono stage do it justice?

Current system, ARC CD1, Musical Fidelity A3cr, McCormack DNA 1 Deluxe, Von Schweikert VR2s, RGPC 400s.

1. Are you married? With Kids? Then spend it to your family.

2. At school? Tuition fees my friend, tuition fees!

3. Renting? Save for downpayment for a house.

If any of the three mentioned above does not apply to you,
then go ahead. Blow it on analog!!! The Scout is a very good table. Might want to look at Teres tables as well, they on the otherhand are "lifer" system additions. 2 cents....
You will never regret going to the REV A, infact, spring for the extra $ and get the soft recovery diode bridge as well. IMO.
Never spend more than half of your refund. You can keep it all for a year and then use half of next year's refund to complete the upgrade.

If you use this strategy and continue to do this regardless of your other savings/investment plans, you will be shocked at how much you will have, and by spending half you will still be able to play with your refund.

Trust me.
I guess I could have been more specific and said that I'm going to use part of my income tax refund supplemented by extra cash I already had planned to go into my system for a new purchase. Every year a portion of our refund goes to my wife and I for toys, travel, whatever and the rest is invested. Details, details...

Swampwalker, I was actually thinking Rev A or maybe Rev B with the transformer upgrade, any experience with these? I plan on calling Steve to get his opinion and advice as well. I guess option 1b could be a DNA 225.
Get the Mc upgraded. Second the soft-recovery diodes, too.
Get the Scout. Better than ant digital I have ever heard.

Start an IRA and think about the rest of us poor saps who still have to pay the theives at the IRS more money than they've already stolen from us.
One of the big reasons President Bush worked so hard to reduce the exhorbitant taxes paid by us is so that we would be prompted to save for more for the future in addition to being more fair to us. Our spending habits are already a bit excessive so, investing and saving is my first recommedation. However, if you have managed to put 10% or more of your income into an IRA this year then I guess you deserve to splurge a little bit on your refund. Assuming this is the case then I would heartily recommend the Magnepan 3.6's. A simply outstanding and, most of all, a fun speaker to own. I bet this was the main contributing factor in the Hovland/AR system that floored you. The speaker ususally is.
It's time to upgrade your CD-1. Check out Xindak SCD-2
I think the amp upgrade may be the way to go. My reasoning is that a TT is quite the continuous investment. TTs are really picky about setup and cleaning, and buying records is an entire hobby itself. You may really enjoy it, but going analog is not the soft option your enquiry implies it is. Think about it and have fun. (I just filed and am "investing" my refund in art :)
Talk to Steve McCormack about what the uprgade will mean to you, and what it will do to your system. He's incredibly cool, and it seems to me that he takes an earnest, honest approach when answering questions about his upgrades. I've heard his upgrades, to his already really good-sounding equipment, are fantastic--bringing more liquidity, musicality, and effortlessness to the sound of his equipment.

With analog, I've found that it brings an intimacy to your listening room that isn't always available on CD. When I bought my turntable, I had only 8 albums, but felt that the intimacy was worth the upgrade, despite that I wanted other upgrades in my system. I've since bought many, many more albums! :-)

I would say that you perhaps jump into vinyl, and save to do the upgrade later. I say this because if you currently feel that you want something new from your system, you can go all for getting an alternative approach to music playback. If you indeed enjoy the sound of LP-playback in your room, you can then think about what other components will do to the system as a whole.

Best of luck!
I shouldn't comment on how you save your money, you sound like you have given it some thought. Having said that while vinyl is very rewarding it has a fair number of startups and you don't have any software, so factor that in when you are making the decision. I got back into it a few years ago and love it but I had several hundred perfect lps. I used the phono stage that I had in my nuvista which I think is similar to yours and it is very servicable. Given the quality of your equipment I wonder that the biggest bang wouldn't be from 1 dedicated power if you don't have, 2 room acoustics, 3 speaker upgrade - you might move up the von s line. good luck
I guess what this boils down to is given my current system will the addition of a turntable or amp upgrade provide the biggest sonic improvement?

I'm open to suggestions on the vinyl side of things. I admit I know nothing about turntable maintenance and set up. Perhaps a better starting point would be a step lower on the vinyl food chain, maybe a Rega P3 is a better entry point for me? Is that easier to set up and maintain without a significant drop in performance?