Idiot trying to upgrade his system - likes the tube sound


I currently have a McIntosh C275 tube amp with Wilson WattPuppy 7 speakers, along with a MC22 preamp and redbook CD player. I don't like vinyl records (for the most part). I heard SACD's and DSD high resolution, so want to go with a better SACD / DAC combination. My local audio folks (Paragon in Ann Arbor, MI) are nice folks, but cater to the wealthy. I have $$$, having sold 2 of my biotech companies, but I am a careful person about spending money on audio. I am 62 and a professor at a medical school.

Sorry for the long intro- Here is my question: Should I trade in my Rotel (very nice) CD player and MC22 preamp - get the new Marantz SA-10 SACD player, but then what should I hook that into? A new 1100 McIntosh digital or analogue preamp? Should I buy a more powerful ampilifier then the MC275 (at 75 watts per channel)? Any advice out there - I woud be very grateful. Thank-you! 
gerryah930
Oppo is the price/performance leader for disc players, tho some like Marantz

Do you like the McIntosh "house sound"?

If yes, then will a more powerful amp allow you to avoid clipping?  You will want to find that out ...

It does sound like you will appreciate the need for double-blind listening tests, so assemble a disc or two of your music that you'll use for listening tests and buy from places that will allow a return after 30 days, etc.
As for tubes my experience with the Octave V40se (40W) - V70se (70W) and V110 (110W) made very minor differences. I started with Dyn C1 signatures and later went to Raidho D1's and D2's. The main difference was as I moved up the ladder I could hear a hair more 'control' in the music.

randy-11 as far as clipping tubes are very different and nowhere as noticeable as SS. What was noticeable was the tubes they would 'run out of steam' when pushed hard. It was much more noticeable with the Raidho's. But if you don't listen extremely loud tubes are great. Also with the 'house sound' that can easily be changed by try different tubes.
Based on Marantz's past reference products, the SA-10 sounds like a good bet for fantastic digital.  Unless you listen at very loud levels or have an unusually large listening space, your 75 watt/ch. amp should be fine.  With the warmish Marantz house sound and the tube amp, perhaps a fine SS preamp might provide some sonic balance especially through highly resolving speakers like the Wilsons.  What you end up with may in large part depend on your location and the choices that audio salons near you can offer.

If you are shopping in the SA10 price range, I think you should get in touch with your local dealer and see what they suggest.  They may be able to assist you in changing a component to bring the system more in line with what you want to hear and it's not always what you think.  I recall being floored at the difference a preamp upgrade made during a dealer demo.  I was absolutely certain I needed to change the amplifier, but the dealer showed me that it was the preamp causing the sonic issues I was hearing.  He could have sold me either, so it made no difference to him. 
Anyway, that's what I would do.  
VTL amps and Esoteric for digital.  Both can be on the pricy side but quality and performance cost!
If there’s no rush, I’d recommend going to a large audio show where you can hear many different systems.   Or see if there's an audio club in your area.  There are lots of choices out there. The final decision is very subjective to your ears.
Consider a Marantz SA8005 with Modwright "Truth" modifications.

http://www.modwright.com/modifications/marantz-sa8005-truth-mod.php
Are you willing to invest the time to rip your CDs from a computer to digital files? The best options are network attached storage drives that stream music to your DAC in the audio room. There are many threads here and at computeraudiophile that explain the most popular products that do so. 
IMHO, most are crazy to invest much in a disc spinner nowadays unless they have thousands of discs and refuse to rip them to get better sound quality. Cheers,
Spencer
@tpreaves  +1  I am now three days in on listening to my Modwright SA8005.  I know when people say things like it is hearing your discs all over again for the first time that it sounds like hyperbole but it just isn't in this case.  The great thing for me is that I'm not into break-in for 72 hours yet.  Last evening I just kept finding another song to listen to even though I had a a hockey game to watch.  Hard to leave the listening room.  A problem I'm happy to have.

OP - Please consider strongly tpreaves suggestion above.  You will not regret it!

Your MC275 actually puts out closer to 90 wpc, so they should be plenty powerful enough to drive your Wilsons.  If you haven't changed out the stock tubes, I would suggest getting some Gold Lion Reissue KT88s - big step up in musicality and dynamics. 

I run my MC275 with a C1100 preamp, but since you do not like vinyl, I would suggest you look at the new C2600 - all of the goodness of the C2500 with an improved DAC. 

I also have an MCD550 SACD player with my setup because I like the single brand look and system synergy, but you can't go wrong with the Marantz.  If you want to try a Modwright, I would suggest that you try to find a used unit.  I sent my OPPO 105D to them for the full Truth modification and upgraded tubes.  For a variety of reasons I ended up selling it at a pretty steep loss.

Hope that helps.

gerryah930,

I live in the Monroe area and have visited Paragon Audio often, nice people, nice store.

Now, this is only my opinion, but the Watt Puppy 7's can be pretty harsh sounding in the upper mid/high area. That is probably why you like the tube sound to soften the puppys.

I use a Bryston BDP-2 usb player. I spent awhile ripping my CD's onto a 4 TB Hard drive. (and then recopied to another HD for back up).

Now, I can access any song in any order easily and the sonic quality has not been reduced.


I have wilson watt 8's and have used my Manley snapper 100 watt mono amps. It sounded great. Then put back in my pass x250.5 amp and noticed a big improvement in control resolution and over all better sound. I even had someone reciently come over with a arc reference 110. My pass had the juice and the sound. My opinion if you like the speakers ( love mine) up the power with the right amp then work on the rest. I use cardas neutral cabeling.