Where do I go from here?

Really need some help.. my system is pretty wussie compared to you guys.. but I am trying to figure out where to spend my next oh say $800.. and I mean $800 cash PLUS the sale of existing equipment..
Here is my setup:

Preamp: Eico HF-85 no hum all original.
Amp: Threshold 400a (new caps)
CD Player: Onix XCD-88 (stock, no a/d upgrade)
Speakers: Vandersteen 2ce's (bi cabled).

I hear there is an upgrade for the Onix that warms it up.. I have the sockets; but need to buy the actual converters still..

When I bought the Vandersteens I knew I was finally "home".. I love the sound.. I wonder if upgrading to the 2ce signature models would be wise?

Anyhow.. thoughts.. I dont know where the next bang for the buck is.. I fear that I am at the point where I need to spend "big money" to make a difference like the vandersteens did..

Any help would be wonderful!
Hey, that's not a bad system! What cables are you using?
GR8 system dude.
Go straight to 3As.
Keep the system. Tweek it, maybe? Spend the money on music. The system looks fine as it is.

If you upgrade spkrs, go for the next V model.
Room treatments for RT and a PEQ for extreme LF bass management will get you the most from your $800, IMHO. Improving your existing gear is into diminshing returns.
Cables are cheap RCA cables from home depot.. the biggest the make.. 12 gauge?
The amp will hold its own against many newer ones costing $5000+.
Personally, I'd do something with the pre. It may be quiet but that's not enough. It can be upgraded but is costly. You should borrow a newer pre and compare to see if an upgrade will be warranted.
Agree with preamp: how about a used Channel islands passive?

Also, adding dood power filtration will boos your system's performance beyond belief. You don't have to spend a lot of money.
Right now I am using a Tripplite smart 1000LCD.. which is a UPS but has some filtering I think.. is this not the right sort of filtering?

I guess I will head to my local used audio store and pic up a few $800 range preamps; bring them home and listen.

I've never witnessed speaker cables making a difference.. maybe I will see if I can bring home some cables as well to test.. we have a great shop here in Denver that has let me bring home many preamps, amps, and speakers..

My Eico gets some really good reviews though.. its supposed to really be a nice unit.. I have a harmon kardon preamp as well... I should try it again.. last time I heard it I was not impressed.

Four things made a huge difference for me and my system and they are in order of how I would place them in priority:

1. At least two dedicated circuits (one for digital and the other for amps
2. Power conditioning, my Audio Magic Matrix is just awesome
3. Adding my restored Eico HF-81 integrated tube amp, it is nothing short of musically amazing
4. Upgrading the cheap parts in my speaker crossover networks, doing this bettered any IC, power cord or speaker cable I've owned or tried (and I have/had some expensive ones from NBS, Electraglide, Nirvana, Cocierto, Argent Audio, Acoustic Zen, etc.)

First off I want to say; last night I moved my Harmon Kardon HK825 into place and back to backed it with the Eico HF85. I am sorry to say; my Eico is no longer my favorite. The HK at least last night showed me more music than the Eico did. The only downside s that the Eico seems to play female voices better that the HK.. and I love Lisa Loeb so its not good. :(.

As far as the HF-81 amp.. no way in heck a small tube amp is gonna power my Vandy's.. they are power suckers.. my now gone but not forgotten Klipsch Heresy II's would have been great.. but I have given up on Klipsch horn idea.. I have decided it the worst sounding speaker around.. unless you are throwng an OUTDOOR party and want to jam to black sabbeth! THEN they would be awesome.

The whole reason that am thinking about the Signature series 2ce speakers (vandersteen) is #4 of Mikes list.. all of the crossover electronics were upgraded.. and now I read there is a sig series II!!! WHAT THE HECK IS THAT???? gotta reasearch..

Anyway.. thanks for the preamp advice.. I think the eico will be powered on once in awhile to keep the caps happy but thats about it.. maybe some jazz music.. it still might have its place..

AND.. due to this forum I spent $200 on gold cd's on amazon last night.. thanks guys.. you are all draining my pockets! :)
I spent $200 on gold cd's on amazon last night...
Now THAT'S the spirit. Diy cables next.

BTW, Klipschorns are very good spkrs -- esp with a few mods! Really.
No disrepect to Klipsch owners intended.. and I was really only speaking of Heresy II's.. and its just my opinion.. speakers as we all know are all subject to individual taste.

DIY cables.. where to I look for parts? I'll start searching in the mean time.
Jprinz writes:
due to this forum I spent $200 on gold cd's on amazon last night
Don't just arbitrarily assume those gold CDs are better than the original (not remastered) CD release. If you want to know, try searching at http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/. It's a very common topic.

I limited to only Mobile Fidelity releases? Did I do that right? Or may I still receive some pretty CD's with horrible digital?
Some MoFi CDs have added bass lift and treble lift when compared to the originals. Commonly known as the "smiley face" equalization. MFSL is the example I was thinking of when you said you bought gold discs.

The early ones are good, but some listeners have a quibble over the equalization applied to the later releases. At least they don't add compression, unlike many remasters from major labels. (The "louder must be better" mantra.)

On the other hand, DCC remasterings are consistently good.

Just for interest, which albums did you buy?

Damn.. ya know, I usually research stuff to death before I buy.. this time I just researched it.. guess not enough.. I'll try and remember.. and this is going to show my age.. a couple were not gold so lessee..

Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon (Im excited to hear this!) this one was pricey!

Cheap Trick- Live at Budakan (sp?)

Apocolypse Now Sessions (I dont think this was gold.. just took a chance) Love the movie and the music..

YES- Fragile (this was gold for sure)

The Sound of Speed [remastered] (don't ask.. I race cars)..

Martin Denny: Exotica/Exotica, Vol. I & II

RUSH- Moving Pictures (gold)

As you can see.. I'm not one who loves the classics.. LOL..

FYI.. MY BEST SOUNDING CD: "Time Out" by The Dave Brubeck Quartet.. this is one of those that is HDCD but does not say so anywhere.. MY GOD! You can hear people bump into music stands and all sorts of stuff.. lots of tape hiss but I dont care... its UNBELIEVABLE SOUND. I dont know how they were able to record with such quality back then..

TO MY SURPRISE.. I just won and ebay auction for another Threshold 400a! Now I can bi amp.. its broke but I'll fix it.. for $300 with ship I could not pass it up.. I'll just replace the caps and if that doesnt work bring it in for repair.. bet I can get it done cheap enough.. :) One channel is out which makes it really easy to troubleshoot.. just test the good side against the bad..
The MoFi Pink Floyd is excellent, though not the finest of them all. The best CD of "Dark Side of the Moon" is the Japanese black triangle or black-face Harvest (CDP 7 46001 2 - CP35-3017 xxx). All Dark Sides are pretty good, and I bet you like that one.

Which "Fragile" gold is that? I have the Atlantic 82524-2 in the box, which is pretty nice - although the original "target" pressing (West Germany) may be the best CD for this album.

The Rush CD may not please you. It does not have a stellar reputation - a bit bright.

WOW.. you pull all of that out of your noodle.. too bad about Rush.. pricey.. probably $40.00.. and I do not like too bright.

The Fragile specs are as follows:
Audio CD (November 21, 2006)
Original Release Date: November 21, 2006
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Original recording remastered
Label: Mobile Fidelity Koch
ASIN: B000J10HO4

I am guessing you have quite the library.. another fav. of mine is a collection of Dr Ebbetts rerecorded Beatles.. I had no idea how to purchase these.. so I downloaded them.. not proud of it but I own most of the material.. I dont even think the work he did is legal.. but its simply AMAZING.. well to my ear.. Ever hear of it?
Know anything about this one?
Montrose - Montrose
Audio CD (July 12, 2005)
Original Release Date: 1973
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Audio Fidelity
ASIN: B0009299P6

How would I go about finding out how this one is without asking you?
One more: I have searched as hard as I can to find The soundtrack from the movie Le Mans. Any ideas?
Ah, the new Yes by Mofi - that could be good, but I have not heard it.

The Montrose is done right - that's Steve Hoffman's work (remember that link I posted above - that's where all the classic rock junkies who know their stuff hang out. Go over and search their archives). Excellent - if you like their music.

Thanks.. I will. I found Nelson Pass's little forum as well.. might get some help repairing my Threshold 400a. :)
As a followup.. I completed the Op Amp mod to my Onix XCD 88. My intitial interpretation is as follows:

1. WOW!
2. Highs are much more precise.. cymbals now sound like cymbals.. you can hear hihats as they vibrate on eachother.. there is a more airy sound to them as well; they dont sound as compressed.
3. The mids used to be too pronounced on my Vandensteen's.. now they may be a bit too far back.. but I don't know for sure.
4. The bass is just plain more in your face.. my room will need adjustment.

For approx $130 and 15 minutes to solder and install I would do it again without hesitation.

Details here:

Quite frankly; I still hear some saw buzz.. this is not a $5000 player.. but for what I have into it now (Approx $380) its pretty amazing. I'd highly recommend anyone owning this unit or someone looking in this price range to modify or buy the Onix used and do the mod.
all this messing with the CD player with results got me to thinking.. why did no one recommend I use a DAC?
I am suprised that nobody above said turntable. This would be the best upgrade that I can think of. 800 would buy a decent table & phono pre that would and many sonic benefits that cannot be attained with better cables, better CD player etc. Not only that our friend on a budget benefit from going to a garage sale and picking up vinyl for very little cost,what would be included is superior sound.

I actually figured this out on my own. I found out my phone stage in my old Eico tube preamp was complete CRAP.. and now I have a HK Preamp with a B&O turntable and it has changed my sound drastically.. I have been frequenting the vinyl resale shop.. been sampling them digitally with excellent results!