Avivey, I believe that money is better spent at the front end of a system than the speaker end, so I am not surprised at your reaction to a great improvement in your phono section. This was a good place to spend some money. However, once you have that great front end, don't underestimate the improvements that can be made in the amplification chain. The Berning amps are a revelation in sound quality. I'm running a Teres 245/OL Silver/DL103R thru a Cotter Mk2 into a highly modded MFA preamp, and I am patiently waiting for my new custom Berning 45 amp to arrive(next week). I previously had the bottom model Berning, and will now have even higher than the top-line model, because this is a custom-made prototype unit that is not even available to the general public. I fully expect this to be a "religious" experience. My Lowther single-driver speakers are better suited to the single-ended tube design of my new amp than the push-pull tube design of my previous amp.
What do you think about running the output of the Hagerman through a transformer-based passive stepped attenuator like a Bent Audio? Does it have the ouptut strength for it? I'd like to move away from my active preamp with all the inputs and switching and line stage, because I use only a phono in my system, nothing else.