This is just me, but I would say first get the best source that you can, if to you that's the SME Model 10 then do it. However at that point I would suggest that rather than just assuming that you need expensive new speakers to keep up with your source, that you should really look at the speaker/amp combo. Meaning get amps and speakers that are synergistic with one another, even if your budget means that you have to get them in stages. All that being said, I think that you already have pretty nice speakers, now I don't really know anything about that Sony amp, but it could be your weak link. Furthermore if you're a serious vinyl guy, and obviously you are, you should really check out the synergy between vinyl and tubes. I'll leave it at that, I'm sure others will have more to say. Happy listening!
"Would it be odd to see a SME Model 10 with Revel M20s and a B15 as speakers?"
Odd. That only depends on your perceptions. If you like the way that sounds and it fits your life-style, why spend more money?
I think that as long as you have the patience to dial in your monitors and the sub, your speakers are not holding you back. The other speakers you mentioned would merely be a different flavor, and it is only for you to determine whether you would like something else better. Especially if you move around a lot and live in apartments, the adaptability of monitors/sub and ability to turn down / turn off the sub if you have bass-sensitive neighbors makes this approach compelling.
So in response to your specific question, "[W]ould it be odd to see a SME Model 10 with Revel M20s and a B15 as speakers? ", the answer is no, not at all. Looking at your system, I am inclined to suggest that, in addition to improving your analog rig, you look at a good used integrated tube amp, as it would work particularly well with monitors, a sub and analog front end.
PS - My speakers: Salons and Mahlers.
That SME 10 is a killer turnable. You can build amazing systems around that. If you plan to upgrade your speakers and amps, then you might as well start at the source.
That said, there is nothing wrong with using a SME 10, a killer cartridge and the amp speakers you already have.
SME turntables are a pleasure to use. I have a SME 20. It's one of those lifetime purchases. You can easily put 15-20k speakers, 50K of pre and amps stages, and a pile of money into cables...it wont' be the weak link for quite a while...
Good luck, enjoy your vinyl and hopefully your SME 10 !
The Sony amp is definatly what you should look to replace.
Personally after having just jumped way up in turntable and cartridge I would say that getting a world class amp/speaker combo is going to give you the most improvment. I don't know to much about your amp, but it seems suspect to be upgraded first. I think you would love the new table, but I think you'll get the most sonic upgrade by dialing in your amp and speakers. 10-15K will get you a long way to a great combo.
The source thing always amazes me since the only way it makes any kind of sense is to assume that every link in the audio chain is as simple to design and build as any other. If you accept this premise, which is wrong in my opinion, you would match some pretty outlandish sources to some pretty mediocre amplification and speakers.
Linn really did a number on folks decades ago...
Buy what you can afford at first and try for a home audition of whatever upgrade you are contemplating. Go for some kind of balance in your system, bearing in mind that despite what you hear and read some components will make more of a difference than others. I think both ends of the chain are of great importance. Finding differences in amplification of comparable capabilities is something best left to folks with a lot of time and money to waste and who don't necessarily listen to music but to sound per se. My one reserve: the phono section can almost be considered as part of the analog source and, consequently, given a little more scrutiny.
Oh, and if you think of it good and hard you will realize that the source is actually beyond your own system and starts with the microphones used in recording. Once you realize that, audiophilia really seems to be a flawed process no?
I agree to dump sony.Then fix a size and a budget.If you think you can set up the Revels (have enough room) and can swing the $8K (no discount for used too new) but I suso\pect the new 803 Diamoind from B&W would blow you away.Such purity in the hiugh end has heretofore only been obtainable with ribbons.If you room (and wife)can handle it the Maggie 3.6 with a uper fast (expensive) sub is the choice.Look at the figures.Over the years the Old B&W 801 was the best selling individual Audiophile lodspeaker and they are compaeteitve at each price level.But go back 25 years and you will find that more Audiophiles have bnought Magnepan as a BRAND than any other speaker and the 3.6 is probaly the most speaker for the least money you cfan get.But it's a stange question.First I say get the best purest source components you can find.Or so this last.Then decide on the speaker you want and can affors.If it's the $20K Arriels you'd be a veryy happy person.Then choose an ap that can drive them peoperly with.Lastly get the pre the get;''s ther ;lest in the way or compliments the whole system,.I am always amazed at how somebofy looks for the loudspeaker the ultimate tranducer and item that will affect the sound the most and then buy another product to "match it" when it should totally the other way around.If you like the new (or classic)Qauds get a medium powered tube amp to drive them.Magenpans (maybe the best bang for the buck speaker for ages now),Audio Physic,Quad,B&W,Gershman,Infinty,Dali's Preludes,Ariels,Harbeths,Spendors,Sonus Fabors even the new NHT systemm that does not need an amp and sound fantastic do to it's digital processor-german,Italy,England (all components bay and large are desgined to please a domestic market first the worlsd second).You are in great shape.You have a fabulous table get a good cartidge (a whole nother question-string from low output MC to MM etc-but you are in great shape with the PS.I can't afford a steelhead or even a $4500 Rhea nor a $4K EAR 324 but the PS probaly beats them COST wise anyway plus has all the features and flexiblity you need.I plan to bnuy one for my EAR 834 40 watt tube amp to feed my $6500 Odeon Tosca semi horns).The world is your oyster with a good cartridge.You might even consider the new "Integratedd" PS Audio ampos-class A Srtereophile rating with future flexiblity in that you can defeat either the amp ection to use another amp or deafeat te pre-amp section if the of the new digital pre/processors like the amzing $3,500 DEQX 2.6 pre processor which not only optimizes the capacities of the speaker elements from box to drivers bnut corrects for room anomalies as well.Or because you want a touchj of tubes with a glass pre.Clear yopur mind and even if it takles travel anmd listen to the many great speakers availible in this market and choose it.Then a stack of tube gear or the PS stuff where you can get everything from the highly touted power copnditoner to amps to even cables might be the ticket.Set a budget and do reserch here on Audiogon doing string searches and do same on Audio Asylum.You rae in a geat position now having a great tables ,very good phono section (both have more impact on sound thattables and arsm though ther you have to choose carefully since you still play wax.I am going to get the PS you have since I can change my VPI arms.cratidges for low ouput MC to a mono Grado for those jazz LP's pressed that way.The PS will allow quick changes of load.caitanmceas well as ,mono and phase.At least you didn't buy an amp snd ask "what speakers" a common and to me bizzare way of constructing a good sounding synergystic system.If you are limited in your area call Bes Nivera at Muic Direct for sage advice.
If I were in your shoes I'd do the speakers first as this will help dictate on which kind of amp to purchase, wheather being tubes or solid state. I think speaker purchases are done far less than components at least for me it is as I tend to keep speakers for 4-5 years as they are most likely one of the higest cost items in one's rig. Just the way I see it!
I upgraded from a Thorens TD126mkII and absolutly love my SME-10. When I upgraded my audio chain I went from the speakers back to the source. Until I finished I could hear the limitations of the upstream components. So, my recommendation is to work from the source to the speakers. If you like your speakers and they work well in your environment, keep them.
Bag the SME10 for now. Its an awesome table but you've got higher priorities. Keep your speakers, upgrade your amp, perhaps get a better cartridge for your pro-ject table. Learn everything about cartridge alignment and adjustment that you can. After you feel that you can dial-in a cartridge for its best sound, then think about buying your dream table. Oh yeah, ensure that you have that pro-ject table on a good support/rack or get a platform such as a Neuance, or both.
Wow thanks for all the responses. I just typed out responses to most of you but then I went to look at someones system and I clicked back and lost what I typed.
Its going at some point. I am waiting for hopefully a smaller pair of monoblocks from Halcro.
Manley is coming out with a new integrated amp soon. The "Manta ray". Similar to the Stingray but based on the snappers monoblocks. Includes a remote and xlr inputs plus an ipod input and possibly a usb input.
Dunno about ribbon speakers, aren't they bad with mids and lows.
B&W speakers are a possibility. The company I work for sells B&W speakers so I should get a pretty big discount.
I think I am going to get a Lyra Helikon, will that be good with a SME 10?
I must run, I'm on vacation doing some Crestron Programming training.
Thanks again for all your thoughts!
Well then should I get a SolidState AMP if I am going to get a tube preamp?
Russ - Many people advocate that strategy, however, you can get both the traditional perceived "tube sound", high power, and/or a highly detailed sound from different tube equipment manufacturers. Just ensure that the equipment is compatible with each other (e.g., direct-coupled or not) if you mix manufacturers.
Also, some solidstate equipment is not as edgy/over- detailed/electronic-sounding as anti-SS people would have you believe.
You're doing your homework which is great! You can look up my system and see which way I went, but I'd be the first to admit that it was an evolution and didn't happen all at once. If I made a change in my system I'd probably go for additional tube equipment but I'm fortunate in that my SS integrated amp (Plinius 9200) has much of the sonic organic quality that good tube equipment has.
If you are moving locations nearly every year, then my advice is not to invest too heavily in your system unless you're willing to redo it every time you move. Once your system starts getting into the high resolution arena room acoustics start to dominate. So in any given year you may be living in a great sounding room or a real crappy one. The higher the resolution of your system, the more you'll notice the room either for the better or worse. So if you go out and get the SME, match it with a great cartridge, add the Steelhead and top it off with some really good sounding $10k speaker and set it up so it sounds tremendous, who knows, a year from now it could sound like crap because of the room you've move to. You have a very nice system now. Go slow until you settle down.
BTW, the Sony amp is a very good quality amp that should mate quite well with the Revels. It's definitely not the weak link in your system.
I should have added that because you are a vinyl guy, you should first invest in a decent record cleaning machine if you do not own one (e.g., Nitty Gritty or VPI).
Speakers should suit the room, so if you're going to get big speakers and put them into a small room, you'll have more problems after that.
Yes I am going slow and probably doing too much research.
I am getting a VPI cleaner at some point.
So I have decided I'm not going to upgrade speakers right now.
I think I should probably get a nice 2 or 3 shelf stand for my current table. I am think Zoethecus. Top shelf for turntable then one shelf for my phono preamp. I think in the end I want two 2 shelf Zoethecus Stands. 1 rack for my turntable and external power. And another rack for the Steelhead and power supply.
A good quality rack and a cleaning machine are excellent choices.
Once you've had it for awhile, please post your impressions of the PS phono stage. One paper it looks quite impressive.
I wish you had some pictures of your setups.
"Cart:I think I am going to get a Lyra Helikon, will that be good with a SME 10?"
I have the Helikon in my SME 10 and it works very well. I don't have the exact numbers but, recall that the compliancy and mass was just about perfect for the arm. If you are attentive to details, setup of the cart/arm is fairly straight forward and produces very good results. If you like the sound of the Helikon it's a good match for the SME 10.