I need to upgrade my amp but it sounds really good. (Wife in corner shaking her head)


  I guess its time to upgrade my amp. But I want to start streaming and buy a DAC instead. I guess I could buy both. Well, NO. I’m retired but still retain my champagne taste. But now I only have a bottled water pocketbook...not even a domestic beer pocketbook. But who wants to drink domestic  anyway?
The problem is my amp sounds very good...but it shouldn’t. Everything around it is 3-4-5 times its cost MSRP. Final straw was exchanging a Conrad Johnson PFR for a CJ CT-5. But this little ST-70 doesn’t even realize it has been outclassed by a mile.  It just keeps singing along as if it was meant to play with the upper classmen. I guess its confidence was boosted when it took the place of a $4500 SS amp back some years ago. But I just can’t believe that there isn’t a used tube amp in the $2500 range which can show this little Bob Latino ST-70 a thing or two. But I’d still like to get a nice DAC and just listen to this little upstart and its more respected family members perform for me. And I would, but I have to know the answer to the question, Can a used $2500 a tube amp take this system to a much higher level. I think yes. Still, I have nothing but respect for the value and sound this amp brings.
artemus_5
My amp cost less than the speaker cables and interconnect connected to it. Less than the phono stage. Less than the cartridge. It cost more than its power cord, and the Dayton sub amps, but that's about it. I have way more in tweaks than the amp. In fact I have way more just in Synergistic HFT and ECT than my amp. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367 

What I would do, budgeting for value being second in my mind only to sound quality, is look at .. wait, what? Streaming? DAC? Sorry. I thought we were talking music systems. Nevermind.

I have heard your Silverlines on a few occasions when they were introduced. Get an opportunity to listen to the Klipsch Cornwall IV, as they will sing with your system. Full disclosure : I am partial to Klipsch Heritage, especially at their price point.
@millercarbon

Nice system I have thought about the PPP tweaks. I do need to work on power too. I agree with your philosophy that everything counts, No better than the weakest link IMO. I do need the digital side though because not everything was put on vinyl. Besides that, I am near 69 yr old and I envision a time when I won’t want to go through the vinyl ritual. I do have about 4k albums & probably the same amount of digital albums. So I have plenty to listen to.I like your tweaks as well. I have some an am surprised at the results. I believe we think a bit alike.....ya poor soul LOL

@mrdecibel @millercarbon

There is one BIg restriction I have which is that my system is in the Living Room. Therefore I have a limited space and limited aesthetics. BTW, I just looked at the Pictures on Agon. They are about 12-15 yrs old. I'll post some better up to date tomorrow.
But as you can see, the system is not even centered in the room. I’m surprised it sounds as good as it does. A lot of that is due to the imaging characteristics of the Silverlines. Their weakness is bass. But I have 2 S-10 Sumiko subs which have really done wonders for the bass and imaging too. They are really Rel S-5 clones (Sumiko was the Rel distributor) The Klipsch Cornwall IV may sound great but I can tell they are too wide for the space I have. I’m kinda kicking myself for not building my room about 10 yrs ago. Oh well. Life isn’t over
I can upgrade anything my wife loves it.
An EL34 RM 9 Mk2 Music Reference amp from the late great Roger M or for a sweet taste but more ST70 like get a tube CJ amp. Or a non SE ARC ref75. The SE will bust your budget.

dont let the narrow minded scare ya off digital 

@tomic601  

I have considered the RM-10 and the CJ Classic 60se. AAMOF, I think I've looked at every tubed amp that is 60-75wpc. Carver 275, various Cary's, I've  also considered a custom ST-120 (Big bro of ST-70. Don Sachs has put one together with all the nice parts & supposedly is very good. My speakers are 93,5 db efficient. I've had high watts on them and they seem to prefer low wattage. They were shown driven by 8 wpc SET. One thing I don't like on my amp (and Latino ST-120 is the layout with IC's on the front and the power switch on the back. But I'm surprised at how many tube amps have this type of arrangement.
To answer your question yes the right tube integrated can elevate your system to a higher level. Tube integrateds are the sweet spot in high end stereo. It may well be impossible to match the performance of a good integrated with separates, at least without spending a whole lot more. The killer deal would be to step up to something like a Raven Blackhawk or Osprey or if that's too rich new maybe take your time watch for one to surface used. May not happen... would be worth it if it did... or more likely would be to find a used Prima Luna which you might find around your $2500 level.
@millercarbon


I looked at the Raven Blackheart & Osprey. Looks enticing. Used are hard to find. Then too, they have a return policy. It could be in my price range If it was better than the CT-5 plus whatever amp. I know people are drifting towards integrated and it would answer some space issues.

I've considered Primaluna and should have jumped on a Dialogue 44 amp for cheap when it was for sale. Ah well. not the first dumb thiong I've done. The CJ looks interesting  with the nice caps they use in teh SE.. Wonder if their is some magic juice ion a CJ pair. But I had a CJ pair back before the ST-70. There was magic when the power was just right late in the evening. But thats all