If you have a moment of time and would like to offer opinions on fixing a poor initial selection of components ranked by priority of what to fix first, read on.
Marantz AV88005 (AVR/Pre-amp) outputting to a MM8077 (seven channel amp) through AQ Mackenzie XLR interconnects finally outputting to a pair of Goldenear Triton one.R speakers that have built-in subs.
Speaker cables are nothing special, but better than zip cord. Power cables are stock.
Not that it matters at all for 2-channel audio, but I have the Goldenear SuperCenter reference center channel speaker and some lesser speakers for surround effects.
This was all purchased ~18 months ago at an audio store that carries a respectable selection of high end gear. The guy that helped me was polite enough, but really didn’t help me discover what I actually needed/wanted. Not really his fault as I had no real clue what I wanted either. I did stress that music was my primary concern. However, the blunder is still mine as I had yet to get serious about researching the market. Impulsive purchases rarely work out well. I thought I’d outgrown such things. What I ended up with is a somewhat respectable home theater surround system. Which means exactly diddly squat to me as I have zero interest in the remarkably bad “block buster” movies being spewed out.
I recently upgraded to a pair of M700s being provided power by a P3. Thus my current 2-channel setup is the Marantz pre outputting to the M700s and then on to the Tritons.
Music source is primarily FLAC files from CDs ripped using the Exact Audio Copy software being fed to the pre from a NAS over Ethernet. I plan on putting a computer in the mix so I can feed files directly over USB and stream via Qobuz. Whatever comp I use or build will have an APU instead of a discreet graphics card in an attempt to limit EMI.
I also have a 4K Blu-ray feeding into the Marantz, seemingly for the sole purpose of watching/listening to Return to Forever’s 2008 concert at montreux. This brings things to the kind of music I enjoy; which is just about anything from John Hartford and Dr. Watson to Dream Theater and Return to Forever to classical. Really, just about anything. Except Rap or HipHop. That’s not really music in my book.
I know I need better power cords and speaker cables. Room treatment also needs attention and I am very limited on the ability to move the speakers around. Three feet away from the wall currently is not an option. (A fix for that issue is in the works as we are looking to relocate and are actively shopping for a new home. One of the things I am looking for is a completely unfinished basement. )
Given the coming expense of moving, disposable income is limited more than otherwise. For now, I seek that one item that will allow my music come alive. That is, if a single item can do such a thing given what I am working with.
My thought is that the single thing I can add that provides the best improvement for the money is a low to mid tier DAC (~$1K range) using a quality USB cable (my Sprout100 is fed digits via an AQ Forest).
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I was just trying to answer anticipated questions. If you are so inclined to respond, I’ll appreciate it.
A picture of the current setup. The cloths hanging behind the TV are custom fitted speaker covers my wife made for me. The speakers are always covered when not in use.