Upgrading Home Stereo

Hello everyone,

I just have a couple of questions about upgrading. My current system consists of the following.

Proceed PAV
Emotiva XPA-2
Emotiva ERC-1
Marantz Tuner
Monitor Audio RS6 speakers
JBL 8400 Sub
Shunyata Hydra 6 power conditioner
Emotiva XLR cables
Shunyata diamondback power cables

I am using balanced connections from the ERC-1 to the Proceed to the XPA-2.

My question/s is this. I am looking to upgrade the PAV to a Theta Casablanca II with the Superior DAC upgrade. Main reason for the upgrade is the inclusion of optical and digital coax which the PAV does not have on its own as well as the newer DAC. Is this worth it or would anyone suggest another pre-amp? I have about $1000 to spend. I am only using this setup for stereo music listening.

This leads me to my possible second question. If the PAV is good enough, does anyone have any suggestions for a better upgrade for my system. I was thinking of just a separate DAC, better amp, save up for better speakers.

Thanks for any help you guys can give.

As to your PAV needing an upgrade. Don't assume running a source into a DAC will make a great improvement or difference. It depends on the DAC converters in the source. It may or may not give you that much bang for the buck.

Should you have money to burn and want to enhance your system an option may be looking into a music server. Be it a stand alone or computer based. They can really be fun and have you listening to more of your music than ever. If computer based will indeed need a DAC. There are of course many ways to go.

As you seem to like the Emotiva line, why not consider their UMC-200 pre amp, run just in the stereo mode. It having a built in DAC with the ability to go to surround sound should you desire with a very attractive price.

Many options along with the ones you list, from tube pre amps to room treatments. Hey, it is all a hobby have fun.
Emotiva has a new stereo pre the XSP-1 which is supposedly very nice. I do not currently own any emotiva products but can vouch for their great quality to price. I had to spend thousands more to get a better sound. If you are looking for a large change in sound nothing will give you that like a speaker upgrade, and your xpa2 is powerful enough for any speaker you go to.
Thanks for the great responses! I think I will take both of your ideas and sell the PAV giving me the extra cash to get both the XSP-1 and the XDA-2. Since my computer sits in the same room I can run that to the XDA-2 and then that to the XSP-1. I looked at the USP-1, but I think the XSP-1 is the way to go since I have ran everything with balanced inputs already.

This can be a very addictive hobby/obsession, but a lot of fun.
Good luck on your new direction. I have some Emotiva gear, their smallest amp to power secondary speakers, and the XDA-1. Both very nicely built and good sounding.

And yes, good gear and good music is habit forming.