Given your priorities I would upgrade amplification first. This will reap benefits for both formats.
Should I upgrade my preamp/amp or my turntable?
I am in a bit of a quandary re my next upgrade. I’m still saving towards the budget of approximately $4500 AUD and this is my current system:
Project 1-Xpression III turntable with Ortofon 2m Black cartridge
Lindemann Limetree Phono stage
Lindemann Limetree Network streamer DAC
Musical Fidelity A3 CD player
Musical Fidelity A3.2 Preamplifier
Rotel RB-1582 Power Amplifier
Dynaudio Special 40 Standmount speakers on Dynaudio speaker stands
2 x REL T-7 i subwoofers connected via high level to power amp speaker connections
SMSL SU-8 DAC
SMSL SH-8 Headphone amp
Hifi system on dedicated rack and situated at one end of open plan living room with wooden floors but with open plan kitchen area adjacent with limited scope for room treatment due to WAF, however there is a rug and bookshelves with books, CD’s and LP’s down one side. Also plan on getting some acoustic panels soon from GIK acoustics for the wall behind the rack and speakers.
Listening is roughly 70% digital (vast majority streaming on Tidal) and 30% Analog (LP’s). Headphone listening probably 5% in total.
My question is this: what would I see more benefit from…upgrading my preamp/amp to something like the Luxman L-507UX (approx. $4500 2nd hand in Australia) or a MoFi Ultradeck with Ultratracker cartridge (approx. $4200 new in Australia).
I know there are other brands of amps/turntables etc but these are what I have my eyes and heart set on at this stage, and bearing in mind I’m about halfway to saving the money needed for only one purchase at this time.
What will give me the biggest bang for my buck in other words taking into account my listening preferences etc?
6 months ago I thought I was saving for a new turntable (old one will go to my teenage son)…but now I’m leaning towards an amp upgrade
Thanks for your thoughts and any input
I would definitely first upgrade the preamp… it effects all. I would look for a used Audio Research preamp at the top of you budget. Incredibly natural, musical, and detailed. Alternatives Conrad Johnson’s, VAC, Cary. The center of a great system is the preamp. Over fifty years pursuing the high end has taught me that.
At this time digital can equal vinyl (with careful selection and investment). So additional steps can be determined later. But regardless of what you choose your preamp and amp… and speakers are going to determine what you hear.
I love listening to my outstanding analog end (I have over 2,000 pristine albums)… but my digital sounds just as good… so I listen to it 95% of the time… with a nearly infinite library… Qobuz… at the cost equivalent to buying a CD per month.
I probably should’ve worded my question better…sorry…my consideration is to upgrade both my Musical Fidelity preamp and Rotel power amp and move to a Luxman integrated…whilst I am sure the Audio Research would be a major upgrade on the Musical Fidelity I’m quite sure the Rotel would never do it justice and I would probably not be able to afford a power amplifier of the same quality for quite some time…wife and budget permitting…actually that’s sort of the same thing ;)
but I certainly appreciate your advice, and Russ69 too, many thanks to both of you
@markusthenaimnut i would love the L-509x but my budget will probably only stretch to the L-507uxii I’m afraid. There’s a guy here in Oz selling a slightly used L-509x for $9000 AUD and even that’s out of my price range! I will just have to keep saving and hoping I can pick up a bargain when the time comes I suppose.