Upgrade Amp or CD/Sacd...Help Needed

I have 3-grand burning a hole in my wallet.....My system consists of Mark Levinson 38S preamp....Nakamichi PA-7 200watt power amp...Sony SCD-XA777ES CD/SACD player....Jbl L300 speakers...All Acoustic Zen cables/interconnects.

My system sounds very good, but......I am looking to get that extra bit in dynamics. Would it make more sense to upgrade the CD/SACD to maybe an Ayre C-5XE or Upgrade the Amp to a Mcintosh MC252? My current setup is all RCA....the jump to either of the 2-choices would be balanced through the Levinson 38S.

I have narrowed my choice to the 2-mentioned, (no need to recommend other brands). I will die before I give up the L300's (there's probably enough wood from the Jbl's to make a nice casket) and am a Levinson Preamp advocate.

The Mcintosh has only 50-more watts than the Nak but the jump to a balanced run to the preamp may make a difference. The Ayre is highly regarded and sounds fantastic while allowing SACD playback which I have found addictive.

any advice welcomed,

I had the PA 7 for 25 years recently upgraded to a Pass Labs 350.5 which was a MAJOR improvement. Could not believe how much better the bass was not to mention improved detail and soundstage. Happy Holidays.
I went with a Modwright Sony and was amazed at the difference it made in my system.
I would also consider an S.E.T. tube amp as an upgrade.
Either way, it will be a step forward.
The original manufacturer's paperwork from JBL recommends 150WPC for optimum performance.

That being said, the SET tube amp is probably a very poor idea.

IMO, the Pass X350.5 won't be much of an upgrade over the Nakamichi but the higher powered models from the XA.5 series of Class A amps would.

Dealer disclaimer
Your post is somewhat neat in that you state there is no need to mention other brands (which is fine) as you probably know what you like.

However, dynamics are the last thing you need with L300's. You should have all the dynamics you can stand. I would think that maybe the source could be cleaner and that maybe is what your after. I have no idea on the amps. If you do not currently possess sacd capability and the money was mine, I would spring for the Ayre.

Have Fun!
I would upgrade the source.
What I should really state is that between the possibility of upgrading the amp to the Mcintosh Mc252 or the SACD player to the Ayre, which would be the better choice? Remember that I would be going balanced with either unit. I am currently using RCA for both now. I have never had an amp in balanced mode in my system and was wondering how it would respond vs the RCA hook-up that I have now.

Steelhead, I'm not sure we are on the same page as far as the L300's go...."Dynamic" is a relative term but the L300's do not have the "West Coast" sound as say the L100's were known for. The horns and crossovers make for a far more accurate loudspeaker.
No, I am on the same page on the big JBL's. Listened to L300's a lot back in the day. Owned four L200's in a 4 channel setup. Almost put a pair of JBL 4350's on layaway at the old Audio Club for around 1,100 a pair. Missed a pair of L300's for a grand back before internet markets. Stories, I got a few.

I will politely disagree on the sound as I know the "New England" polite refined AR, KLH type and the "West Coast" JBL, Altec with the poster boy being JBL's. I know some of the sins of the big JBL's and the 300 can be a little forward and bright. Not too knock em as I love big JBL's and miss them and can certainly understand you never wanting to sell them. You would have to spend stupid money in today's dollars to come even close to the efficiency and dynamics of the big JBL's and for rock music I would argue you almost cannot find a more "accurate" reproducer.

In any event I am not the best poster for you in that I do not and have never run balanced. I think your Nak amps were designed by Nelson Pass and not sure how much it would help to go Mac. I really really enjoy some SACD's and have never heard an Ayre spinner. I know the rep of the Ayre and enjoy sacd and think it might give you a cleaner and nicer presentation hence my two cents with the post.

In any event, good luck and I hope you find what your after with your system.
I know this doesn't answer your question, but every time I've added a subwoofer to a system, dynamics seemed much more pronounced. Food for thought. Regarding L300 and dynamics, I remember back in the day listening to these hitched up to a Mac 2105 and they were the REAL posterboy for the picture of the guy sitting down and getting blown away by the speakers.

Thanks for the feedback...nice to see passion for the classic JBL's still abound.