Next Upgrade Help

Hi, didn't know what forum this belonged so I am winging it.

I want to know what most of the experienced audiophiles feel is the weakest link in my system that I should focus on improving.

Audio Research SP8 Pre
Aragon 4004 MkII Amp
Burson 160D Dac
Linn LP12/Ittok Benz Micro M2(?)
B&W DM 640
Velodyne HGS12
Denon C615 usind as a transport only
Grover and MIT cable

Thanks all!
Have you done any room treatment to your listening room? If you haven't, your room is your weakest link.
your speakers are the obvious upgrade candidate. you haven't specified a budget or your listening room, but since you have a monster 200w amp i might look at something that thrives with a lot of power, like revel or dynaudio.
Having used a modded Aragon 3002 (300Wpc), which was a very good sounding amp, I switched to tubes, a VAC PA 35.35, for a considerable uptick in sound quality. I can't comment on how such an amp would match up with your speakers, but I do know a better amp will make a difference. You might consider some mods on your Aragon, that can make a real difference, if you really like that particular amp.

Good luck, regards,
Sid, I don't know if that's an automatic but I agree with your general suggestion. I bought a McIntosh MEN220 (room correction unit) and it made a significant difference. I'm just not familiar enough with the OPs gear and obviously don't know anything about his room.

But everyone needs to take a good look at the room, no question.
Looks like a good balance of equipment that should be complimentory to each other.

What do you perceive to be the systems weakness?

You make no mention of a proper rack, so that could be one area and as the prev post suggested, a few room treatment tweaks optimally placed will help.
Since its your money you will be spending, what do you think the weakest link in the system is? I'm sure you will get some good recommendations, but in the end, you need to play an active part in the selection. If you don't and just go by other peoples opinions, it is more likely than not that you will be disappointed with whatever you upgrade.

That said, I would recommend getting a new preamp but only if you do 2 things first. (1. Listen before you buy. 2. You need to get a really good one.) For some reason, most audiophiles tend to overlook the preamp and tend to go with more "exciting" components like an amp or speakers. The amp and speakers you have now should work ok together and I feel that you will easily get the biggest improvement with a new preamp. (I understand that some people will read this and say a speaker upgrade will yield the biggest change in the system. I agree in that you will probably notice a bigger change. Change, however, does not necessarily mean an improvement in sound quality. I think quite a few people miss that point.

In the end, I would urge you to not take recommendations from me or anyone else as your only source of info. Whatever you buy, you need to listen to it first.
I would upgrade the amp. I agree with the idea of going to a tube power amp. It made the biggest improvement in my system. ( and I owned Aragon Palladiums) I eventually changed all my gear, so I warn you, this is not a one and done process. The next might be the speakers then the pre then the sources etc.
All good suggestions. My rack is a very good "homemade" rack that I made and mimics the flexy rack with threaded rod and very thick shelves only nicer.

I was told by a local audiophile my speakers that were the weakest link. I have been away from the hobby for a while so I have to relearn stuff. I also agree that this is NOT a one step process and realize that after this there will be other upgrades. My budget for used speakers is $2k. I can go a bit higher if pushed :) Thanks all for the great advice.