Responses from steuspeed

SACD vs Regular CD's
They do sound a bit better. More dynamic range a bit deeper soundstage. The downside is few recordings have it. Sometimes its on the disc and not even marked? I have a few and they sound very good, but my favorite reference recordings are standard... 
Good Processor
For good stereo the older pre/pro will certainly win. I have seen older 861s go for much less than new, but you could do a 565 or 568 for about $400-800. In stereo the processor is not being used, so the pre-amp stage means everything. 
Do amps degrade over time?
If it sounds good, leave it be. If you have the upgrade bug, shop for something new. 
Speakers or.....
Stick with the Vandersteen package you have. I think you would find more improvement with an amplifier upgrade. What is your dealers favorite Vandy amp? I'm sure other Vandy owners could make some good suggestions. 
Hand crafted equipment rack?
power conditioner/power cable
Plug your amps direct in the wall. Use a power conditioner for CD players, processors, turntables, dacs etc. BPT and Shunyata are a good place to start. Avoid any kind of cheap power strips like monster and panamax. Power cords will make a differe... 
How to
Finding a amplifier to match the sound of your vintage reciever may be a difficult task. When building multi channel systems, best results are achieved by using the same speakers and amplification for all channels. At least stay within the same fa... 
Listening Room Art Work
My artwork is all music related show posters in custom frames. More important is the wall color I think. Dark front wall with dark speakers and light front wall with light speakers. Helps make the speakers disppear. 
Center Channel for Thiel CS 3.5 Stereo System
How about a Thiel PCS for a center and a SmartSub? You will likely have better success with integration if you stick with the same family.http://www.sixmoons.com/audioreviews/thiel2/trio.html 
The Lawyers Have Taken Over Audio
Most people have never heard a really good sound system. Especially today where the focus is on quantity and not quality. Pretty easy to blow the minds thoae listening to ipods. If your buddies all work for GS then it would be an easy sell. 
help on picking new old processor please...
If you have a very minimal system (1 digital coax, 1 optical digital and one L/R RCA analog input) you can run a Meridian 565 without the 562V which adds a lot more inputs. The 561 is an all-in-one box but has lower quality pre-amp section. Both o... 
What amps do Electrical Engineers own...why?
Which ever amps have the BEST specs. 
Amp with RCA inputs CLOSE together.
Amp upgrade from Bryston 4B
I would tend to agree with Soix that a pre amp processor might be a better place to look for upgrading. However, if you are still on the hunt for a better amp. Have a look at this Llano A-200 that's on Audiogon.http://app.audiogon.com/listings/sol... 
Tubes for Manley Chinook
Tubes can be as much of an upgrade as the component itself. Prices continue to climb for premium NOS tubes. Talk to Andy at http://vintagetubeservices.com/Default.htm . He measures, matches and listens to every tube he sells.