Considering equipment upgrade. Any advice?


I am a self-confessed tinkerer. I have bought, upgraded and repaired a fair amount of vintage equipment with varying results. While I have enjoyed the restoration hobby, I am realizing that if I took all the money I invested in purchasing vintage gear and getting parts (not to mention the sweat equity) I could have bought some very nice modern gear, much nicer than the vintage gear I have. So, based on this theory, I am considering selling my vintage fully restored Hafler DH-100 pre and Speakercraft BB275 amp and replacing them with a new integrated amp. The DH-100/BB275 combo is very clean and powerful but lacks base output and musicality (in comparison to my Harman Kardon TA 5000x tube receiver, when it’s playing well... and the moon is full). The refined list has the Denon PMA-600NE and Cambridge Audio ARX85; in addition to the modern features, I expect the sound quality from either of these receivers will exceed that of the DH-100/BB 275 combo and will be different but comparable to the HK. I play this set up through either a set of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s or a set of small 3-way speakers I built; I listen in a small room (home office) to mostly vinyl and CDs but I do also still listen to FM. I’m excited about upgrading to Bluetooth. Any advice on these IAs will be greatly appreciated. Bill


Hi Russ, the 400 to 500 dollar range.  The features I need for sure are bluetooth and phono pre-amp.  


Hi Russ, the 400 to 500 dollar range.

Sorry not trying to be a snob but I don't shop in that category, so I'm no help. 

My advice is no receivers. The Denon has so much crammed in there it might as well be a receiver. Basically what you want to get the most SQ for your audiophile dollar is an integrated amp. But you kind of have to decide what are your priorities. The Denon has a phono stage, but who knows how good compared to what you have now? Likewise FM, you may get better sound overall with the Denon using the HK as a tuner. 

Also in a small home office situation do you really need 70W? You may want to consider a budget tube amp like the Reisong. 

Thank You all for the advice, your advice did not fall on deaf ears.  However , i found an open box deal on the Denon (under 300) so I picked it up. But the plan is to use the HK as my main receiver, which sounds great to me but has been a constant struggle because of the hard to get 7355 power tubes (I have had bad luck with expensive "NOS" tube availability and service life once i have found them).  The spot the Denon will play is to be the receiver while I'm servicing the HK with a possible secondary duty as a bluetooth source for the HK.  As soon as I get the Denon in place, I'm going to rework the HK amp circuits so I can change out the hard to get power tubes.   btw, I never liked the thin-bright sound of the DH-100/BB275 combo so even a sideways move there is welcome.