New and searching

I’m a new entrant to the world of hi fidelity. Being new, I have quite a bit of ignorance on this subject, but I’ve been trying to educate myself by reading forums, articles, and seeking advice from others. There is so much to consider, and I am am perplexed on what to focus on to better my system and listening experience. I am seeking the crawl, walk, run approach to building my system building my system. I want to provide any upgrades over a period of time, so I can learn to enjoy them and find a true appreciation for the improvements they provide. It appears to me that this is a never ending pursuit and I am fine with that. I just need some advice on what are the next three or four things I should focus on next to best improve my sound quality and listening experience. Should I consider investment in speakers, amp, pre amp, cables, power cords, room treatment, sub(s), etc.?

i have a dedicated 14x14  listening area with an angled 8 ft ceiling in an open floor plan space (area opens to another area in the home), the listening area is carpeted. I listen to a variety of genres of music, classical, jazz, blues, some country;  but primarily Americana rock and classic rock. 

The current components in my system are:

McIntosch MA5200 integrated amplifier
Clearaudio Concept turntable with Satisfy tonearm
Rotel 1072 CD player
Audioquest speaker cables (lower end)
Definitive BP10 speakers

My budget for upgrades in the next year is $10K.

I appreciated the knowledge shared in these forums and any that could be imparted on me as to my best investments over the next year is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Starting out can be overwhelming. While not sexy or fun, if your room has no treatments at all some basic treatments can provide a great return on your investment. I suggest contacting a company (such as GIK Acoustics, for example) and discuss your room with them. That way, however you improve your gear, at least you’ll be better able to enjoy and evaluate the gear you try out.

Also, a square room is not the best shape. You may wish to consider a near-field listening setup. While this may narrow your choice of gear, at least you can take some of the room’s poor shape out of the equation.

I won’t recommend any gear for you but will impart a few lessons I learned along my journey:
1. High price does not necessarily equal high value.
2. No gear is perfect, regardless of cost.
3. Everyone hears differently (unique ears and brain) and will have differing opinions on gear based on what aspects of the sound they value as important in the reproduction of music.
4. By far the best way to evaluate gear is in your own home.

Good luck. Don’t stress. Have fun.
Start by searching for a great speaker that you really love and go from there. I would be prepared devote up to your full budget on speakers. Deftech is great value but it is far from the last word in audiophile quality.
you got some great advice above

I have little to add, but:

1. read the Master Handbook of Acoustics
2. download REW and spend $80 on a USB measurement microphone
3. find the best releases of your favorite music
4. don't worry about a square room since you have an open floor plan
wow.  looks like we're all into room acoustics all of a sudden!  i was going to suggest the same, but randy pretty much covered what i was going to say about that.

one thing not mentioned: component vibration mitigation.  there are many different methods: roller blocks, springs, cones, spikes.. do a bit of reading, there are some great threads on here. a simple and cheap method is to simply buy compression springs capable of supporting your component (weight of component/#springs = spring load needed) and stick them under the component. your turntable and disc player would benefit most from this, your amp less so since it's solid state.

dare i even mention this?: a decent power conditioner or powerblock and some good power cables can be helpful.  powercords are very easy to DIY..
I would first do two things: try to figure out what kind of sound you prefer, and replace all your cabling, including power cords, with something entry-level audiophile - your equipment might turn out to be considerably better than it seems.
After that, yes, choose new speakers and work your way from there.
$10k is a good amount, especially if you don't mind buying demo or used. My entire system costs close to it, and I have three sources.
If you're near New Jersey, call on John Rutan at AudioConnection.  Even if you're not give John a call.  He's extremely knowledgeable, and will get you in the right direction.  Its worth a phone call at least.
4. don't worry about a square room since you have an open floor plan
Ugh. I agree with this. Sorry, forgot it was an open floor plan while writing my response. 
The speakers are clearly the weakest link and always have the biggest impact on the final sound. So I would spend the full budget on those, unless you also want to go into streaming audio.
As for speakers, how about the Harbeth SuperHL5+? I am not sure how much these would cost in the US, but I guess they would deplete much of the budget (they are worth it). Don’t waste any money on snake oil like cables. However, as others have said, do invest a bit of money into a calibrated measurement microphone like the UMIK-1 and familiarize yourself with the free REW software to analyze room response. Speakers are the weakest link in any system, and their in-room response is worse again.
Your amplifier should be fine, although at some time in the future you might want to opt for more power, depending on your listening habits.
If you want to try streaming, a Chromecast Audio is a cheap ($35) and remarkably good entry to discover if you like the idea. The inbuilt DAC is fine for 16/44 (i.e. cd) quality, but if you want more it also has an optical digital output (but you would need a DAC for that).
If at some stage you want to integrate your video system with your stereo system (a smart move), an Oppo 205 UHD Bluray player is all you need to play discs, and is an excellent external DAC for streaming.
Great advise so far.

Though your listening room is small, it opens to a larger area, therefore it is not a small room, or a square space you are playing into. I would view this as a positive. Can the speakers play into (face) the larger space.  Can you place your equipment rack at either side of your listening chair. Flexibility in the placement of speakers, listening position, and equipment rack is a true asset of a dedicated room. 

Do research room treatment. GIK and ATS Acoustics are good sources for this, offering products and advise. I own a copy of Masters Handbook of Acoustics, it is worthwhile. Much on this in this forum.

I would work with getting the best sound from your system as-is, then consider component upgrades. I do believe a speaker upgrade would be the best place to start. With consideration to the amplification required for said speaker.

Are you using digital sources or only analog?