Upgrading your system three options DAC, Cartridge or speaker cables???

Got the urge to do a little unexpensive upgrade. With a budget up to $1000 give or take I pondered where to target my next upgrade. First my system:

Linn TT well upgraded.   5-6 yr old Ortofon 2M Black

Bells Virtuoso dual amp

Audible Illusion 3M- A pre

Vandys 2CE Sig - Kimber 12tc

Bluesound Node 2I. Qobuz.  Red River interconnect

I mostly (80%) listening to streaming since I'm new to the technology and love discovering new artists. I bought the Bluesound in 3/21. The SQ, I believe is good or even better than CD. I'm reasonable pleased but it's not Vinyl quality. Classic rock, jazz, prog rock are my favorite tunes. 

Considering: investing in Canare 4S 11 cables to replace Kimbers. Or Rocket 33 since I need bi wire. OR Invest in a DAC like the Gustard, Denafrip or Shiit. OR replace the cartridge with a Hanna SL (I'll need to add a phono setup) 

Someaudiophiles recommend starting with the input, Cartridge/ DAC, then working toward the output, cables. Others recommend just cables (Vandys recommend Audioquests) and enjoy the system until next upgrade!

As you can see the options are many, but what I'm interested is members suggestions as to where to start, input or output. Suggestions for equipment, cables, cartridge are also welcome. Thanks


36a48ecb 0dc6 46e2 a446 445b9920e04elobinero

Yep, I used a 2i with an external DAC for quite a while and with a good coax digital cable I was very happy with the digital performance of the 2i.  

@big_greg the only thing the OP needs is a new external DAC and a digital coax cable using the coax out on the 2i and you bypass the 2i DAC. 

I went down that path with a pretty high end DAC. The NT-505 sounded better to me. By the time you spend all that money slapping bandaids on the Node2i you could just get a much better unit.  Lumin is another option to consider. Back in the day, you could drop a V8 in a Vega. It would go a little faster and make more noise, but it was still a Vega.

I should think that would depend on which you're more interested in improving, your digital or your vinyl? DAC for Digital and Cartridge for vinyl, though phono preamp is also VERY important, maybe more so than the cartridge.