You complain that your system is too laid back, and it seems easy to see why. You are using Conrad Johnson electronics and MIT cables. These are very laid back and polite components. You did not mention which C-J products you have(please let us know), but they can all be more or less described as lush, warm, and polite. MIT(and Monster) cables are best with solid state electronics like Krell or Mark Levinson(to my ears). My suggestion, first change your cables. I would look into Kimber, Straightwire, Audioquest. Kimber and Straightwire will liven things up the most(the opposite end of the spectrum from where you now are). I personally prefer Kimber. If you want to do this cheaply, try PBJ and 4TC(both used), you can do this for $100(or less). If this combo makes you happy move up the ladder to KCAG(bypass Hero) and 8TC down the road. Audioquest is more middle of the road in sound, this will not open things up as much as the other two. Try this if you want to back it off from where Kimber is(but, I suspect you won't). After you have the cables right, eventually you may want to upgrade your speakers. Stick with easy to drive models, as they mate best with C-J. Audition this type of speaker in your price range, and try it in your system before buying(if at all possible). Compare metal dome tweeters(to see if they are you style - sounds like they may be) to soft domes. Although you do not seem to be an ideal candidate for tubes, it is still too early to tell. If you are using KimberKable, and a metal dome tweeter, and are still not happy, then look into solid state(but I hope you can be happy with your C-J stuff).