What city are you in @icegeek ?
- 57 posts total
@icegeek, my impression of your query is that you want better audio fidelity for music and, comparatively speaking, video, TV and home theater type audio is less important to you. Do I have that right? If so, I'm inclined to agree with ghdprentice in that this is, indeed, a very tough question! A two grand budget is somewhat limiting if what you're after is a significantly appreciable improvement in sonic fidelity for two-channel music, compared to what you already have.
I've spent several hours of serious seat-time with the Focal Aria 936 in a two-channel system powered by a MAC MA5200, its price point Luxman competitor, a Rega P3 with Ortofon Blue and premium vinyl recordings. That was very, very nice! I, also, have an old 100-watt Yamaha receiver as a secondary system in the master bedroom for background music. So, I am very familiar with Yamaha "pure direct" sound. When I upgraded my TT for my primary two-channel music system, a Rega P6 with the Exact or Ortofon Bronze or Black was on my short list. You could save a few pennies by going with the Rega P6 or better and keeping your Ortofon Bronze, assuming it's still got good life left in it. However, I'm not certain how finicky Rega arms are with Ortofon carts. If you don't have a lot of experience setting-up carts, you might want to have that done by someone who has. Also, keep in mind that Rega is a proponent of low-mass design TT's. If you go Rega, make sure you have something rock-steady to place it on. There are many other commendable TT choices in the 2K to 2.5K price-point to consider, as well (e.g. Marantz TT-15S1; Mobile Fidelity; Music Hall; Technics; etc.). However, I'm not sure how much of a sonic improvement this would render, compared to what you already have. Only your ears can tell you that.
I'm not familiar with your phono stage but that is, of course, another option to consider. Here again, though, I'm not certain how much bang for your buck in sonic improvement this would render, compared to what you already have. Similarly, IMHO, spending 2K on a new quality integrated amplifier, with or without integrated phono stage, is not going to yield much in the way of significant sonic fidelity improvement(s), compared to what you already have.
A few other questions for you: do you have & use a record cleaning system (e.g. vacuum system; ultra-sonic; etc.)? You'd be surprised how much of a difference this can make. Also, using simple and relatively inexpensive accessories like a good quality record clamp, TT matt, stylus cleaner, etc. can make noticeable improvements. If you're not already using these types of accessories, I would suggest you start there and save some dough toward the future upgrade of a quality two-channel integrated amp (e.g. 5 to 6 grand). It's not all about the watts but, more importantly, about the quality of the power supply, harmonic distortion, signal-to-noise ratio, headroom, intermodulation distortion and all those other performance specs. Your Focal and your ears will appreciate that.
Good luck and good hunting!
If your system is 2.1 or 2.0 it has no business incorporating an AV receiver...preriod(s). I fully support blended systems using an AV receiver for center and surrounds, with a good dedicated integrated amp in HT Bypass mode for the main speakers, with music-first sources connected directly to the IA, and HDMI-only devices to the AVR. But in your case you have no other speakers, so sell the AVR and spend $3K on an integrated. Options abound. Halo HINT, Black Ice F35, used Hegel, Naim, Rega...etc.
- 57 posts total