Sorry to be so vague in the heading, but I would really appreciate help from the Audiogon experts. Anyway, I can only make one upgrade at this time and would like opinions. Right now my system consists of the following:

VTL MB185 Mono Amplifiers
Counterpoint 5.1 preamplifier
Sony C555ES SACD Player
B&W 801 Matrix 3 speakers.
Cardas Golden Cross Speaker Cables
Various Audioquest and Siltech interconnects.

Now, I only have about $1800.00 or so to spend on the next upgrade and was wondering if anyone could tell me which of the following they think would give me the most improvement (until my next upgrade in a couple of months)

1. Sony C555ES cd upgrade by SACDMODS. about $800.00

2. VTL 5.5 preamp. (to replace unmodified Counterpoint)about $800.00 final cost, because I'll be welling my old preamp.

3. Northcreek B&W 801 crossovers. $1600.00 final cost

I could do the first two upgrades for the same final cost, but I'd really like to keep the Counterpoint for a week or so to compare to the VTL before I sell it. Either way, I really could use some advice.

Buy my SP6B its a wire with gain and expand your budget, do the CD mods and the Speaker mods, you have a great system. You just need to buy my ultra clean super modded legendary preamp, while your at it.
For your Sony, check out Tube Research Labs(TRL) mods. Must be heard to believed, $550 plus shipping.

I am in no way affiliated, just an extremely satisfied customer.
I would upgrade the Sony...everything else looks pretty darn good to me unless there is something you don't like about another component in the chain.

I had the Sony XA-777es for around a year...very good sacd player, but only a fair cd player.

unless you are unhappy, i don't see a need to upgrade for the sake of an upgrade. i would think this is one fine system.
I would attack the source first. Either get the player modded or get a DAC(this depends on how much you listen to just SACD as well).... The rest will follow as you feel the need to change or upgrade.
Wow! Actually that does make sense. Attacking the source first is probably the most logical approach. Any suggestions on the next step. Preamp or speakers? I hear that the Northcreek mod is outstanding, but if the source isn't up to it then I might not be hearing everything that I could. However, Northcreek will be phasing out the crossover upgrade very soon.
I would follow the source upgrade or addition with the Preamp. If you play your cards can come out with extra cash to go towards the speakers or the preamp....your choice.

Honestly before I paid to mod the Sony. I would just add a DAC.It is the safest way to go. You could always return it if it doesn't work out. Use the analog outputs of the player for SACD.Use the digital out for your redbook thru the DAC.

I came across a fellow(dcbingaman)on audiocircle with your cd player. Here's his comments regarding the stock Lite Audio DAC 60 compared to the Sony SCD-C555ES. Never heard this DAC but it does look like a viable move. You may want to check return policies with the companies you deal with. GR Research sales this line of DACs and they also modify some of the units.
Nice system Pal.
I'd rather go somewhere in Jamaica and have some good time instead.
What’s your power source?
Do you have dedicated circuits including upgraded AC outlets?
If not, I’d start there. I believe you would hear a significant improvement for a relatively small expenditure.
Nice system. What's the problem? Follow the sound for upgrade. Usually improvement is in getting better recordings! Spend your money there and get to listen to 'live' music events.
Well... All of you make me feel pretty good about my choices of components... although, I am starting to hear a tiny bit of noise coming through the speakers.. Since this noise is there even when the amps are turned off, I'm going to assume that it's time to have my 17 year old Counterpoint preamp looked at. Any ideas why I have a tiny bit of a hiss when their is no signal.
If it did not hiss in the past...check tubes. BTW, what tubes are you using?


I did recently change the tubes, but I did have a slight hiss prior to this also. Right now, I believe that I have Telefunkens in there. However, I collected tubes for years so they could be Amperex or Mullards, etc. I have about 30 NOS 6DJ8s by those manufactures. Actually, come to think of it, I think I actually have Bugle Boys in there. To tell you the truth, I never really believed the hype about differences in tubes until I replaced the Platinum Ram tubes with the Bugle Boys. Oh My God!!!! The Bugle Boys buried the low noise Ram tubes that I had in there. Perhaps I should did into my private stash of unused tubes more often. I'm not sure why I collected them since I never actually used them.