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 1 response by musicaddict

I'm having trouble pulling up the room image but yours sounds rather drastic for audio but not to worry. My own room is a combination of walls of windows with Rocky Mtn views I will not ignore. Almost every other space of bare wall is covered with oil paintings (luckily not more glass). I love my space. It's for scenic beauty, music, and art and literature (separate TV area).

If you have a primary position/chair for listening (or TV) then I'm with golfmd2 in recommending room correction as the single largest bang for the buck you will ever hear. I use a DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core and I promise you that you will not hear a larger improvement in the sound of your system once you room correct for bass peaks.

That DSP is under $1000 and it seems many outside our community can't really hear much so adjust for your chair and don't worry. With the apparent liveliness of you room (somewhat like mine) you can easily dial down the treble highs due to reflections. Hearing good speakers correctly and properly equalized for a room is an absolutely stunning A/B revelation. (Trying to boost nulls is a joke. Don't.)

I'd have originally said DSP and a sub, for cheap:  an SVS SB-3000 (pretty amazing-I have one). I use an REL Britannia B1 so I think you'll be thrilled with those new S/812 subs. I'd beg you to try the DSP unit and I'm positive you will only have good things to say when you dial it in; I'll never sacrifice mine and it made good Raidho D2 speakers sound even better.  Good luck.