Climbing the mountain
Started to put together my system 16 months ago and have swapped upwards ever since. My initial goal / budget was quite modest ($1,000) as I have three kids that have managed to overlap in a way that has me paying two college tuitions simultaneously for six years ( $450K down - $450K to go). However, I suffer from some impulse control and too much time on these forums.
Today I picked up my 3rd cd player from a very nice fellow Audiogoner at a very fair price ( I was quite envious of his rig - he appears to also suffer from upgraditis). I have been very brand loyal, starting with a Marantz CD-5004, then an SA-8004 and now the SA-11S3. I had purchased the companion integrated amp (PM-11S3, which replaced a PM-8005) a couple of months ago and hoped these would pair well, but was concerned that the improvement in sound quality might barely be noticable and I would have been a victim of the law of diminishing returns.
No regrets on this decision. I did a (sort of) a/b against the SA-8004. Now the SA-8004 is excellent and, in my opinion, great value for the money. But the increase in clarity, presence and level of detail was immediately apparent These two pair beautifully with my Focal Chorus 836v speakers.
Both the PM-11S3 and SA-11S3 have just been discontinued and replaced by the Pm-10 ($8,000) and SA-10 ($7,000). I have been impressed with all of the Marantz products and each has been a material upgrade over its replacement in my system. Not sure I will make it to this next level - or will ever need to. While there is a lot of mountain left to climb, the view is pretty nice right where I am.