Remarkably better sound possible with just 1 system component change?

I could have posted this discussion to a few other categories but chose this one because discussions related to 2 of the 4 components in question belong here.

So it's been ~2.5 yrs since I purchased my current system. I did a lot of research at the time here on audiogon, but no auditioning, and put together a system that sounds very, very good to me.

While I have no complaints, the itch to upgrade has surfaced recently.

I am curious as to whether you guys think it will be possible for me to replace just 1 of my primary 4 components and obtain significantly better sound as a result. The more discernible and obvious the sound improvement, the better obviously. I am not looking for a marginal upgrade - I want dramatically better sound. And I am not looking to replace more than 1 component at this time. I am hoping to get a few ideas/candidates and then may decide to audition some of the recommendations before making a decision. Hopefully some of the upgrade paths are such no-brainers that I may even be able to take a leap of faith without auditioning. Note also that acoustic room treatments are not viable in my current listening location.
My current 4 part system:

1. Lumin D2 - 100% of my listening is streaming via Tidal
2. Mcintosh C2600 preamp
3. Mcintosh MC452 amp
4. Focal Kanta 2 speakers

Cables are Cardas Golden presence RCAs from the Lumin to C2600, Cardas Clear Cygnus XLRs from the C2600 to the MC452, and Kimber 8TC speaker cables to the Kantas.

Soundstaging, dynamics, imaging and overall clarity are all great. I have to say I love the Be tweeters. And the bass is punchy, tight, fast and certainly sufficient for my needs. Vocals and overall sound are warm, liquid smooth and analog-like, just the way I like it. (Forgive me if I've botched some of the characterizations - I'm no expert at this). The only thing I can think of that could use some improvement is the sound quality at lower volume levels, although that is not terribly important to me since most of my listening is in the 90+ Db range. Would be nice, though.

So while I do love the overall sound, surely dramatically better sound can be obtained via a 1 component swap? Budget is ~10k. Or will I need to spend more, or upgrade more than 1 component to achieve the desired result?

Thanks in advance for your time and thoughts.


Showing 2 responses by mglik

You surely have put together a respectable and good system.
And I admire your writing and intelligent use of language!
Too many casually toss out difficult to follow diatribes.
Surely, a unique and interesting room. Super fun. Although I agree that your listening position would be much better served by moving, at least, the central seats up to create the equilateral triangle required for proper sound staging, imaging and focus. One simple change to help a lot. And, IME, money best spent would be the Podium platforms for the speakers and SRA platforms for, at least, the amp and preamp. Basically, allowing the speakers and components to function as design will be a huge upgrade. Vibration control is a major issue. IME, a $10K speaker with the proper platforms will then sound like $20K ones. And a similar improvement to the components. Changing out components can be very significant but also a bit of a risk. Vibration control is a sure thing. Wishing you the best to more fully enjoy!
Not to be needlessly redundant, I can’t recommend SRA VR platforms enough. Their improvements when placed under my components is major- night and day.