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.
Bd73ad86 3a2f 491b 9aab b9b09e5657dfchungjh
Look into older MM cartridges.  You may be surprised as to how close they can come to MC cartridges.  Try the older Pickering or Stanton MM cartridges.  If you are looking for a fuller sound they may have what you are looking for and may be surprising close to what you hear in the Lyra, for a lot less money.  Its not going to be a Lyra but MM cartridges have their own virtues.
@bkeske, How old is your SOTA? Dit you get it refurbished?
Look into older MM cartridges.  You may be surprised as to how close they can come to MC cartridges.  Try the older Pickering or Stanton MM cartridges.  If you are looking for a fuller sound they may have what you are looking for and may be surprising close to what you hear in the Lyra, for a lot less money.  Its not going to be a Lyra but MM cartridges have their own virtues.


agree wholeheartedly w this - love my timeless grace f9's and with peter l's modern shibata tips they give both the luscious warmth and the 'see-thru' resolution and brilliance so valued nowadays
@chungjh

@bkeske, How old is your SOTA? Dit you get it refurbished?

It is a 1980's Sapphire, non-vacuum, Series III. Actually purchased it off a gentleman here on Audiogon, it was his original table. He then bought the Star (vacuum), and finally decided to sell the Sapphire.

No, not refurbished, but eventually want to get that done, at a minimum install a new and up-to-date motor, but while doing that, I would probably have the whole thing looked-over, springs replaced (regardless) etc. Right now, I'm just enjoying it every day, and it would be hard to part with it during a refurb right now. But will do it.....some day....
Not yet mentioned: the Eclipse motor upgrade from SOTA. Will make a huge improvement even against the limiting background of what you already are using. Go to their website and read about it. Bonus: if you send your unit to SOTA for Eclipse upgrade, you can also have them fit a new arm board to suit your new tonearm, whatever that may be. I don’t presently own a SOTA, but I did own and use a Star Sapphire III for about a decade. Based on that sonic signature, I would not have a SOTA without the Eclipse. You won’t appreciate what I’m saying until you experience it for yourself.