Upgrade path question. Upgrade analog or turn to digital?

I am running a full analog rig and my beloved cartridge needs service soon (6 months about) so I am wondering if I should sell the analog rig (tt+phono+lps) and rather buy digital source. I am planning to upgrade it later if I am not going digital. 

I am satisfied playing lps, I do it when I can focus on music, but sometimes it`s tempting to have the same quality, just a button away. I can afford either the digital or the analog upgrade and I don`t have the space for both. I am thinking about two scenarios. 

Change the diamond in the Ikeda, rewire the tonearm, change the bearing, add a DS Audio ION-001, max out the VPI Classic 1. It`s sittin on a Shun Mook maple board and heavy sandbox right now, looking for a serious platform north 2000 dollars used or that money goes to the phono upgrade.
Upgrade the phono later, what I save on the digital goes here. I am hoping for a used Aries Cerat, but would be happy with other OTL solutions.

I sell the analog rig and going digital. I was thinking about to buy a streamer north 5K used and either a ESOTERIC D-02X, Aries Cerat Kassandra II, or similar. 

I am planning to upgrade the integrated amp either way, the room treatment almost done.

Or a C version,

Gryphon Diablo 120 with DAC and call it a day.






thanks for the expansion on your perspective


as usual mike, you get to the heart of the matter, imo - it is about the music, how to enjoy it, how to discover new artists, new performances, new creative endeavor... in this context, at least a ’starter’ streaming setup is a wise investment for those already with a beloved analog rig - the cost is modest and the benefit and pleasure gained is immense

I am a recent meddler in the music streaming world, all I have added was an app on my computer. I have been into high definition downloaded files for a while and I have a pretty good dac, so all I am missing is a dedicated music steamer. I am dedicated vinyl listener, generally, but the convenience of digital is pretty hard to resist. It took me a few days but I am steaming today in the best quality offered from my particular service at 192/24 and it sounds pretty good!  I have a few month free to see if this is something I would like to keep before they get me on the monthly payment plan. All you need to do is find a reasonable dac, a usb cable and a laptop to get started to try, download an app that allows you to try it for a month or so. Thats what I did. I would keep your vinyl gear a while. I also have spotty internet so its a bit of a coin toss, weather it is worth it or not. We shall see! Good luck and don't forget to enjoy the music and the ride!

Thank you all for the advice. I am going to send to service my Ikeda 9TT early next year and while I am waiting I am going to try a Bluesound Node 130 just to get my feet wet. If it catches me, then I am selling my analog rig. I like LPs, but not for the sentimental values. I just got a great deal on high end cartridge, tt and phono for 5 years ago. For that money it would have been impossible to get a digital system what is coming close to that SQ. The realism of the Ikeda 9TT and the Cube Audio Nenuphar Minis are really magical. Everything sounds like you have it in your room,.What I don`t like is the variety of recordings quality-wise. A clean good pressing is taking the head off and leave you smile for a half day a bad one is collecting dust. But I have more than enough good recordings to enjoy.

I am curious to go for Aries Cerat or full OTL at least next year. Either digital or analog. I am able to do that sacrificing one format. The digital would be a bit cheaper. For example: an Aries Cerat Kassandra II DAC is going around 10K used, an Aries Cerat phono costs a bit more. I am able to buy a good streamer and cables selling my tt, lps. I didn`t decide which brand I am going to buy, a bit cheaper or more expensive could go as well but I would like to have the same SQ. If I go analog, the Node is still going to be a good support, but I am not spending more on the digital part.

I don`t drive car, this is my hobby and want to explore what is possible at the very best, either digital or analog, doesn`t matter. That is the goal. 



seems like your asking us for your preference which we cannot answer.

At your price level, it’s analog sonics vs digital convenience. You’ve already achieved your “really magical” sound, whether switching to a digital system to achieve satisfying SQ is totally subjective - we can’t answer what “you” think will be satisfying enough.

Bluesound Node is how I got into digital. Enjoy your journey wherever it takes you.