New speakers and guidance

I am retiring soon and I am going to reward myself by upgrading some of my equipment.  For a budget, I am looking to keep total cash outlays in the net $20k range meaning that I can go beyond $20k with any subsequent funds resulting from the sale of my existing equipment.   My current equipment is listed below for reference. 

I was at AXPONA last year and I listened to the Daedalus Apollos and Apollo 11s.  I absolutely loved the sound of them.  Compared to my existing system, they felt more dynamic and open which are two things that I am looking to improve upon.  They still retained a strong sense of presence and warmth that I enjoy with my current system.

My question is in regards to how best use said funds.  A couple of options come to mind:

  1. Purchase a new set of Apollos and upgrade phono pre to something like Herron or Coincident.

  2. Buy a used set of Daedalus Ulysses/Argos/Athenas and upgrade line stage, amp, phono pre and turntable. 

I appreciate the combined wisdom and advice from this wonderful forum!


Room:                18x21x10

Speakers:          Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors

Amp:                  McIntosh 275 mk IV

Line stage:          ARC LS5 mk II

Phone Pre:        ARC PH5 with GNSC mods

Turntable:          VPI Classic

Cartridge:          Dynavector XX2 mk 2    Enter your text ...
@douglas_schroeder thank you for the extensive thoughts. I did read your articles on the Ulysses and Tri Art speakers. 
I have to admit that the appearance of the Tri Art speakers is a bit different.  I am probably more inclined to stay with a box type speaker than PAP or Tri Art. Your thoughts on the Ulysses however, may help guide me down the path to the Apollos as they may yield more flexibility in room.  
I do have a Herron phono stage coming that I will get to try out next week. So that will be interesting to hear the change from my current ARC. 
Thanks again for the thoughts. 
Annika, you're most welcome! The Daedalus speakers are always warm and inviting, and will not be fatiguing to the ear. I wish you success in your search.  
I have had the Herron in my system for almost 2 weeks, and it has been a nice upgrade.  It has brought increased resolution and dynamics that I was looking to bring into my system.  Thanks to the group for prodding me along for this upgrade. 

I also spoke to Lou from Daedalus and I am going to order a pair of the Apollos.  I also discussed amplification with Lou, and for my situation, Lou thought I may enjoy the LTA Ultraliner if I would like a change from the Mac.  

It sounds like I have a 3 month wait on the Apollos, so it will be a while any evaluation and decision needs to be made.  
Congrats on the Apollo’s they are phenomenal and far superior to the Ulysses which are no slouch but do not have the new Eton tweeter, latest crossover design and components or the ten inch woofer. All of which are game changers. I know the Ulysses well—a friend owned them with top flight gear. The Apollo’s are another animal and an end of the road speaker—perfect for retirement just sit back and enjoy!
I use Eton drivers in my speakers.  I LOVE them.  Mixed with the right tube amplification, that tweeter will shine like the sun.   

LTA would be a wonderful match.  I have been blown away by how good those amps sound and how cool they run.  David Berning stopped in my room at CAF and we had about a 30 minute discussion about tubes and amps.  One of the smartest people I have ever met.    

Knowing that tweeter well, you could consider running an 845 tube.  The 845 is going to be more linear than a 300B and is going to give you a massive soundstage.  The only issue is that they run hot compared to the LTAs but tube life is long and replacement tubes don't have to be $1100 a pair unless you want them to be.  

I use 45w 845 Push Pulls to drive mine but they have an 85dB efficiency.  Your speakers could easily be driver by a SET with less than 20w.