My recommendation would be to get a pair of used Triangles AND a decent integrated and use the HK through the tape outs as a tuner. Used NAD 320 BEEs go for about $250-300 and used Triangle Celius for $650-750; right in your wheel house $ wise.
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I've never heard your HK Receiver but I'd bet it sounds very decent. I've owned in the past the HK VXi 990 but all I recall about it was that it sounded dark (probably a spk. mis-match) and I soon bought something else. I own presently a couple of vintage amps( Sony TA-AX6 and Sansui Au-D33)and I will say they sound very good/excellent depending on the spk. used...but my Rega Brio3 is so much, much better sounding. (A superb amp. Very highly recommended.) I doubt an NAD will sound as good. If I was in your shoes I'd first upgrade the spks. and then down the road look at new int. amp. Followed by a good used tuner which can be bought for a song. Regards, Bill
I have an HK930 and use it fairly often as part of a classroom teaching system (with a pair of Dynaco A25s) and as a nostalgia piece--a very long time ago, I used to sell them. It was a standout in its time and still gives very good sound for parts and a design that old.
One upgrade option we have with this unit is replacing aging parts, especially capacitors and perhaps diodes and some resistors. I have no doubt that its sound would be improved that way, but unless I did the work myself the cost would soon run into the territory of a used NAD C320BEE.
We also have the C320BEE at home, so I can compare from experience.
The C320BEE does sound better to my ears. It doesn't have the bass weight and control provided by the 930's dual power supplies, but it is more detailed and transparent. If you replace the stock jumpers on the NAD's back panel (something you should also do for your 930), the sound loses forwardness and edge and the harmonic balance gets better.
I also have a pair of Triangle speakers, the TItus ES, running off a tube integrated, an Audio Space AS-3i. This system is a big step up in refinement from the NAD, by the way, and a variant on it may be possible at close to your budget, with the Triangle Comète for example, and second-hand prices. However that is really another question.
The most reasonable improvement path might be this: find a used C320BEE or C325BEE and a pair of Triangles. Replace the jumpers all round, speakers too. (I like single-crystal copper for this.) Have the 930's tuner aligned if it hasn't been done already. Use quality interconnects and speaker cables--Atlas Equator and Audioquest Type 4 would be my budget picks but you will find many other good ideas here too.
Finally, if you don't have one already, look out for a good digital interconnect cable, an Apogee Wyde Eye at least, and make sure its length is 1.5 metres. I know, there has been controversy over the length issue, but the cable was a Stereophile recommendation all the same and I have tested different lengths myself.
If, after having done all that, you don't feel the improvement is sufficient, you can resell the NAD and put the proceeds towards a tube integrated!
Thanks for everyone's input so far.
Tobias- I don't mind heating up a soldering iron if the results are worth it. Any suggestions on where I can get replacement parts and what upgrades you would make to the 930. I understand this is an old piece but it works and in some respects works well. If it was worth keeping in one or more of its applications, (Pre-amp, amp, tuner), I would want to do that since it would be one, (or more), less piece(s) to buy.
I have toyed with the idea of connecting my CD/DAC directly to an amp, (the player has volume control), and a decent set of speakers. Obviously I give up the tuner, my vinyl collection and any other sources but I do wonder if the benefits might be worth it. I'm not looking for sonic perfection but I would like a system I can close my eyes and get lost in when the mood hits me.
Tnkman62, any specific suggestions I might make re parts to replace in the 930 would be pure guesswork based on what I have read in posts from others who have tried refurbishing similar units. FWIW though, I would start with the power supply reservoir capacitors, perhaps bypassing these as well with smaller caps. Next I would rebuild the diode bridge with HEXFREDs. Then I would look at any caps near the outputs and also see about replacing the volume control (not much room to maneuver here though).
Parts sources: I would try Michael Percy and PartsConnexion.
IMHO the 930's tuner is its best section. Next comes the power amp and finally the preamp. Given that a worthwhile standalone preamp is expensive (and BTW maddeningly hard to find IME), I would want to get a new integrated amp and use the 930 as a tuner if I were revamping your system.