Nak TA-4A upgrade path? amp or pre first?

Hi folks,

I've a second system built out with a pair of latter generation Audio Physic Spark 3s, technics deck with Denon 103R and an old Sony transport hooked to a W4S DAC-2, plus computer setup plugged into same.

Everything's currently running through a TA-4A. Wonderful integrated for cost, but I'm looking for an upgrade path. It's nice to have the FM and the phono stage, so I was thinking of first bringing in a new amp (like a CJ tube stereo) and running the Nak as a pre only, but I'm wondering if it would have more impact to get a new pre first, and use the Nak as pure amp. I will eventually need to update both. A new pre would need phono stage ideally. Budget for either is 1500-2500, and ideally I do one piece at a time.

I have a Nakamichi SR-4A and it has a "processor loop" that is shorted with jumper plugs. I tried to use it as a preamp, but the voltage was a fixed line level that wasn't controlled by the volume control. You may want to verify that you can use your TA-4A as a preamp or amp only.
Hmm, I'll have to check that.

The TA-4A has a jumper set of RCAs labeled "pre" and "main" presumably like your loop (maybe? although would make sense as a sub crossover loop), and a second set of RCAs just labeled "pre".

I do have a mccormack dna-125 I can test that with.
Well, having tried out the McCormack DNA-125 connected to the "Pre" (non-looped" output I have discovered a couple different things:

1) This Pre output is working as a true pre-amp output.

2) The TA-4A amp section is struggling in the upper mids and highs on my 4 Ohm Audio Physic Spark 3s. I think this might be an impedance issue, but maybe the Mc is just that much better in this frequency range. My Paradigm S1s didnt show such an extreme difference (they are 8 ohm). Bass is taught, clear, and lovely on either amp on these speakers.

3) The pre section of the TA-4A is nicely paired with the DNA amp. The phono stage sound is much improved in this setup. In addition to more neutral sound with a much improved high end, the channel separation is notably improved by a more discreetly laid out sound stage.

So, I think I've answered my own question!
Get in touch with Stephen at for a price on a full upgrade of a SR-4A.

You won't be able to match the sound quality/price ratio and you can't believe the magic this guy performs on these receivers (silver wiring and cap upgrades,etc).

And no, I don't have any financial relationship with this firm, but I believe that you would be well served to check him out. If you speak to Stephen directly, be prepared to be overwhelmed with tech-speak and enthusiasm.