Upgrades to Analog System

Hoping to get some thoughts/advice on upgrade to current analog system. Current setup is

Avid Reference turntable
Sme v tonearm
Dynavector xv1s cartridge
Aesthetix Rhea phono stage (basic not signature)
Marantz pm11s2 integrated amp
Focal 1007be speakers
Rel b3 sub
Hydra 8v2 (everything except sub)
Hydra v2 (sub)

I've been generally happy with the system but there is always room for changes. When I purchased the Rhea 2yrs I had planned to do the signature upgrade. Now I'm debating on whether to spend $3 grand on signature upgrade on purchase new phono stage in the 5-7k range (would sell the rhea). The Avid Pulsare II phono stage is on my list.

Any thoughts on rhea upgrade vs another phono stage would be much appreciated. I'd also like to hear any advice on where $5-7k could be spent making other changes to the system if phono stage change isn't going to make a much of a difference.

Thanks in advance.
Consider Lyra Titan in place of your Dynavector first.
Though my system is different from yours, I found myself asking the same question about two years ago. I did two things which dramatically increased my enjoyment of listening to music. First I hired Jim Smith to voice my system to my room. Then I bought proper isolation for my turntable, a Vibraplane.

These two changes cost less than $5K total and improved my listening enjoyment more than any equipment change I have made. They also formed a foundation upon which subsequent changes were more easily heard.
I have a Rhea V1 too and I recently purchased a Manley Chinook for an all tube second system. This is a superior phono stage and I am tempted to sell my Rhea and get a second Chinook for my solid state system. It is that good so you might save some $$ and get one of these. At least see if you can arrange an audition. There is NO tube rush and the dynamic range is outstanding and quick.
In my view the weakest point of your system is the Marantz integrated amplifier. Why not ditch the Aesthetix/Marantz and look at a full function tube preamp that has a phono and a new power amp to match.
Dover, I thought about your suggestion. Any recommendations on particular components?
I agree with dover with the exception of the Rhea. The integrated amp is the weakest point. I wouldn't consider changing the Rhea until You put a decent amp/Preamp in the chain. (I have the Rhea Personally) My next choice would be a different speaker without the sub, (my preference is to have a full range speaker rather than the sub combo)
I would say, yes, look into a really high end pre-amp and power amp...
I would also go for better amplifiers....you have to choose SS or tube, but plenty out-there....
Atmasphere MP3 is a very highly regarded full function tube preamp with outstanding phono stage, Convergent Audio Technology is another. You could pair this with a reasonable solid state power amp eg Gamut D100 ( $1500 used here now ) and get a great sound. Shindo pres have excellent phono's built in but they have a high output impedance and you have to be careful matching with solid state power amps. If you dont mind gear looking different, the Artemis Labs tube line stage has had excellent reviews if you want to keep the Aesthetix phono. I would spend as much as possible on the phono/pre and buy a 2nd hand power amp around $1500-2000. Below this price point the Quad 909 power amp is quite musical.
I agree that the Marantz PM-11S2 is the weakest link. You have a great analog front end and an excellent speaker set up. If you like the polite sound of the Marantz consider a Jeff Rowland Concentra 2 or if you want more power a Coda CSiB. These are very cost effective options that will still tame the beryllium tweeter but will offer a higher degree of resolution.
The most critical element is the room. Take a look at the real traps web site and RPG Diffusor Systems. Read about room treatments. Then spend your $$ on buying sound treatments for your listening room. It will completely change the sound of your system. Include absorption and diffusion.
I had a Rhea Phonostage and was disappointed from it (limited detail, narrow soundstage, higher gains not useable based on tube rush...). I sold it very fast. I would replace the Rhea & Marantz at once, probably with Manley Steelhead or Chinook and a Lamm LL2.1. Atma-Sphere MP-3 + internal Phono is also a very interesting option,
Agree w Syntax that the Rhea can be bettered at that price. The Signature w NOS tubes was easily bettered by the following head to head- Manley Steelhead and ZYX Artisan into the line stage of a Doshi Alaap, and also by VAC Ren II and Doshi Alaap (both used full function). Analog front end was Teres/Triplanar/ZYX Universe. Downstream components Doshi modified Lectron JH-50 and B&W N802Ds. All 5 or 6 of us (can't quite remember who all was there) agreed that the Rhea did not measure up to the others and that the Doshi was the best, but opinions on the order of the three in-between varied. At least that's the way I remember it from several years ago.
You should look at upgrading your Marantz before touching your analog setup.
I agree with Syntax. Rhea was a bit disappointing to me, altho I heard it in someone else's system. I have also heard the Signature version, in the same system, and it is a lot better. However, the cost of the upgrade might not be justified, since by selling your Rhea and saving the $3K, you could buy a very nice alternative, especially if you are willing to consider used units. Manley, Lamm, Audio Research, Atma-sphere, Pass, Coincident, Artemis, etc, etc. In the end, it's a crapshoot until you find your own Nirvana, but I think you are justified in your dissatisfaction with the "plain" Rhea.
I think you would realize an incredible upgrade if you changed to a Prima Luna Integrated or mono blocks with a prologue three. These are very affordable new! And I think otherwise your system is Awesome!

Thanks all for your responses. I picked up the Avid Pulsare II. Very nice phono stage. Super quiet. Power. I then went back to the Rhea. Certainly not as quiet, but the soundstage had more depth and the music was enjoyable. Not that the Pulsare wasn't enjoyable but this helped confirm for me that I actually like the Rhea. Will likely upgrade to the signature, but I am also going to try some the suggestions from above and check out alternative pre / power amps - I still like integrateds but will give some separates a try. Will post the forum on my evaluations.
I learned years ago that my favorite sounding phono stages traded off a bit of noise for a stunning presentation. More so with demandingly low output phono cartridges.

Have you asked Jim about different tubes to try?

There was an I/O for sale around your price range.

My favorite for sometime now.

Can any one recommend a musical, bright , foward cartridge ? I loved the Sumiko Blue Point Special but not able to find a more refined cartridge from $2,000 to $3,000 . I have BAT tube gear with VPI Aires table.

Help !

Look at Dynavectors or ZYX carts, I'd say both would meet that description.
Thanks for feedback Roscoeiii