Yes, vinyl needs a tube path and that might lead you to change speakers that are more sensitive to tubes.
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"Through research and experience, it is my opinion that the components heirarchy in respective medias is different enough as to justify investing in two systems. Analog being focused on the source to output and digital having a greater emphasis on the amps and speakers."
I'm not sure how you came up with all that. There's absolutely no reason have 2 systems. Its much better to have one really good one.
"Another driving factor in this curiosity is the signal gain, vinyl being soo low and digital being soo hot."
That's not an issue. That's what the phono preamp is for.
First, I echo what Zd542 said. Assuming proper diligence by the buyer, two $1 components will never sound as good as one $2 component. The very concept is, pardon me, irrational.
In 35 years of buying, selling, setting up, adjusting, reviewing and above all, enjoying audio components, I've never once heard an upgrade that didn't improve both analog AND digital sources. Any component switch which favors one over the other is not an upgrade, it's a lateral move from one flawed component to another, differently flawed component.
A better component is not one that colors certain sources to mask their inherent flaws (all sources have flaws). A better component is one that's more transparent, more revealing, less colored, more true to the signal that it's fed. If transparency reveals flaws in some source or other, be grateful that you've identified the next system problem to solve. You solve it by addressing the problem at its source, not by covering it up with flaws in other components.
I'm thinking about a dedicated phono stage that has a good mc option into a good quality tube amp...Excellent idea. A good quality tube amp (like a good quality amp of any type) will make ALL your sources sound better. Tubes are ultimately my preference too, but not just for analog sources. In this I disagree with Buconero. My tube preamp and amp sound fantastic with any source.
... upgrading all the cables and connectors for the vinylGood idea, but upgraded interconnects, speaker cables and power cords will benefit your digital too.
...and keeping the CJ and Mc... if those are sonic problems with ANY source, you'd be better off selling them and using the proceeds to help fund better preamp and amp.
...and upgrading speakers that better suit digital.I've heard hundreds of speakers. Never once have I heard one that "suited" digital more than analog, or vice-versa. To the extent that it's good, a good speaker will suit every source. To the extent that it's crap, a crap speaker will suit nothing.
With respect, I recommend rethinking your priorities before spending any money.
I can totally relate to your post. I have an Audio Research SP-10 preamp that really brings out the best in my turntable setup, but IMO it isn't as strong when it comes to digital playback (a fair amount of bloom and color). Conversely, my ARC SP-11 does a great job with digital playback and while it's "correct" with my analog gear, I find myself more emotionally moved by the SP-10. Fortunately, they're both in the racks close to each other so it's not too much of a fuss to occasionally move speaker cables and ICs around if I find myself focusing on one format more than another for an extended period of time.
The audio equivalent of having two wives...? LOL
I found a happy medium in my setup...
I use a solid state integrated amplifier to power a turntable and solid state phono stage combination and a CD player and tube buffer stage combination. The warmth of the analog is maintained without the need for tubes and the exactness of the digital is warmed by the coloration of the tube buffer. Plus, the tube buffer stage allows me to attentuate the CD output so that the signals from both analog and digital are right in the sweet spot of the power band of the integrated. And, I can switch between analog and digital without having to make big adjustments for volume on the integrated amp.
I have commercial CD versions of some of my LPs that are well mastered (comparable sonic qualities between LP and CD) and switching between the CD and the LP while playing both (VERY closely syncronized and volume matched) you'd be hard pressed during casual listening to tell which is which.
Bottom line: If you select components that are carefully matched to create the sound you prefer, you should be happy listening to either LPs or CDs without the need for separate systems. Getting a good quality phono stage is a great start.
Thanks for your input and a lot of it makes sense. My set up sounds really good right now, maybe I will play around w tube combos in the line stage of the pre amp, too lessen the harshness and lower the gain. I listen to vinyl 80 % of the time, and those tubes in the line stage just glow and hardly ever get used.
The best audiophile thing I ever did was to move to multiple systems. Could I get "better" sound by putting all my funds and efforts into a single system? Sure, but I get more enjoyment from multiple systems. Rather than be stuck with just one system and one type of sound I can pick and choose how I want my music reproduced. I can do 60s vintage tubes and horns, 70s style Japanese solid state with New England sound acoustic suspension, late 90s full range British monitor, or I can listen to the main system with its more modern sound. If I had put everything into a single system I would just have more of the same. Maybe I'd have a D-03 rather than the 05, or move up a notch on the Rowland line, etc. That's nice, but it's not for everyone. Fill in the blank, Variety is the spice of ______.