recommendation for a high end analog system

I never had an analog system until last month. I bought a 1989 SOTA TT with vacuum/Sumiko MMT arm/Dennon 103R retyped with elliptical/sapphire cantilever. My phono is Kitsune MK5 WBT that is amplified by Don Sach 2 tube preamp and Pass X350.5. My speaker are Sound Lab M545 ESL. The TT has been very   well maintained despite its age. It sounded very good until I heard my friend's system which has the same TT but with Lyra Skala cartridge and first generation Triplanar arm (Spectral pre/amp). His sounded noticeably clearer and fuller. What is the best way to get a noticeable improvement in my system without breaking the bank (or before I have to squint to hear the improvement). I would love to hear some wisdom from analog-philes.
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Showing 3 responses by jasonbourne52

Get a Miyajima mc cartridge! A worthy competitor to a Lyra! A Kuzma 4-Point arm would be a significant upgrade too!
I always like to use SUTs (step-up transformers) in front of phono stages with mc cartridges. Bob's CineMags are good ones! I hear more detail and lower noise floors with them compared to a high-gain active stage.
2.5 gms tracking force will not harm your LPs. Get a bottle of Stylast and apply it to the stylus before playing a side. It is a lubricant designed to reduce styli wear and extend life!