Substantial, no. Incremental, yes.
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It's difficult to know what to suggest. You don't give us any idea about what you could spend. Anyway, my two suggestions are as follows:
1. Get the Oppo modified by Modwright. It will make a huge difference.
2. Look into much better speakers. If you need specific suggestions, ask - but be sure to provide info such as price range, speaker size, desire for bass, size of room, etc.
I wish you luck in getting the sound you're looking for!
Coincidentally I have a Technics 1200MKII (with a Grado Sonata) and an OPPO BDP-95 setup in a downstairs office system. The rest of the equipment is 'middle of the road' hi end stuff. Musical Fidelity M1DAC, Musical Fidelity M1Vinl, NAD C375BEE, Logitech Squeezebox Touch, Dynaudio Focus 140's, Dynaudio SUB300, Nordost Heimdall speaker cables and interconnects, Shunyata Venom power cables all around. Let me catch my breath........okay I'm back. Now my opinion is this system I've pieced together is a harmonious l'il setup that lately brings me more joy then my 50 gazillion dollar upstairs system. Mostly because it's further away from the little monsters that inhabit the rest of my house. Now I don't really think there is a weak link in it. But if I were to point a finger....it sure as hell wouldn't be the Oppo. I'd sooner make the Technics walk the plank. I honestly don't know why you would not just get the OPPO and decide for yourself how weak it is. It's the easiest of the ones mentioned to obtain. It's only gonna run ya somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 for a like new one. Listen to it for a month. If you still think it's a weak link sell it for like $800 and watch it disappear within 24 hours.
I already own the Oppo and while its fine, I auditioned the Ayre and it seemed in a different league. The problem is that I realize my speakers are just ok and dropping $15,000 plus for new ones (leaning toward Wilsons or B&W 802 diamonds) causes a bit of angst. That's why I've been focused on the SACD Player. Why are all of my hobbies so expensive? Ha! I know it's my personal taste that will define my purchase but I like alternative viewpoints.
Did you audition the Ayre at home with your equipment hooked to it? If not it really isn't an apples to apples comparison and some other part of the equation may be affecting your opinion. Speakers, amps, the room itself, etc. If you did audition at home and it did outclass the OPPO to that great a degree then what are ya waiting for? Unload the OPPO and get the Ayre. Ya know you're gonna do it anyway. Just get it over with!
I am in a similar situation. I have a BDP-95 as well.
I have managed to get better sound out of it with SACD, DVD-A, and Blu Ray with a Monoprice HDMI switcher / de-embedder. You'll find a lot of info about it on the net. Then I pass the signal into a W4S DAC-2.
That said, my Clearaudio Performance SE turntable is better. Maybe it's the format, not the product?
And yes, you'd be better off looking for different speakers. I upgraded to Vandersteen Quatros and while the W4s is a little tweak, that was night and day.
I am kind of in the same boat as the OP.
W4S preamp amd amp with Maggie 3.6's. No fancy interconnects or speaker wire - thicker than lamp cord and lets rock. I have an unmodified Technics 1200 table with an Audio Technica 150 mlx cartridge.
For CD's it is a modified AudioSpace CD8A ($1,400)with tubed and solid state output. I have enough ear to hear the difference between the solid state and tubed output and prefer the tubed. More texture, more organic, and more smooth sounding to me with what I am running. And by the way, for me the Sorbathane footers made a noticeable improvement in sound quality for the CD player. Better bass and cleaner overall.
However, the Audio Space is not as "live" sounding as my vinyl setup so I am thinking about upgrading. I had an in house listen with an Esoteric SA50 just a week ago. While the Esoteric ($4-$5K) had a wider soundstage and more detail, the AudioSpace sounded more musical to me with more PRAT. The Esoteric went back.
That led me to think about other solutions like the Oppo 95 or 105. The latest Marantz (SA-11S3 CD/SACD player) is on my short list consdering all of the positive press that the SA-11S2 received.
I do not want to buy the Marantz without hearing it first and therein lies the problem. Its just too much to shell out and then, after hearing it, realize that it was a mistake.
It seems like the sg69's thought about Oppo is a good one given the 95/105 have had good press. The 105 is $1,200 new, so a mistake is going to cost $200-$300 and not a thousand or more. And if it sounds good, then it is off to Modwright to take it up a level.
Now the tricky part - after the Modwright upgrade - you have $3,000 in the Oppo - but what if the Marantz is really better?!
Yes, I was pretty sure my speakers offered the most area for improvement but alas, also the most cost. Also, while I think the Oppo is great as a all-around disc player, not convinced that their aren't better options for music only. I continue to look at speakers and sacd players. I don enjoy auditioning the equipment.
Thank you all for your opinions.