So again, sorry for noob inquiries…But I am still loving my Sprout100 immensely (with ML 35XT’s and SVS sub), but I am already smitten by going to the next level up, a Stellar monoblock system. I’m reasonably sure this is as high as my listening tastes would need to go, but I’m wondering: What can I expect from a $4000 system that I am not getting from my $600 Sprout? Yes, this is a serious question…
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You are going to be going up in price by a factor of 5 (maybe more) and since the Sprout is in the lower end of the price scale you will be in the sweet spot for where bang for buck is still quite high (although where you place this is very subjective).
The setup should sound significantly better in terms of timing, accuracy, realism, dynamics, imaging and separation or anything else which most hifi users value.
There is one caveat, though, you need speakers that will allow you to really be able to hear those benefits.
Speaking through personal experience I have wasted a lot of time on loading my spending towards the source components and amplification, instead of concentrating on good speakers.
If I were able to go back to when I was a hifi noob I would get the speakers right first and indeed spend a much larger chunk of money on those than on electronics, before upgrading the amps, sources etc.
I think a lot of my previous systems were held back by having cheap speakers, indeed there was a time where it felt like the differences between sources and amps were small and I think a lot of that was because I didn’t spend enough money on speakers.
Now my speakers are my most expensive single component and they sound amazing even with some of those older cheaper components - I didn’t realise how capable some of my old equipment was and how much speakers were actually limiting it. Not only that, but when I upgraded to a DS DAC, P20, BHKs etc I could easily hear the improvement.
I think most people have the whole situation backwards and concentrate far too much on the front end and forget that no matter what is coming out of there it has to be reproduced by your speakers. Without good speakers you will never be able to hear what those components can actually do.
Anyway this is based on my experience of buying hifi over the last 20 years since my early teen years. I suspect many people will disagree with this - indeed I would have done early on.
I agree with @Spudhead1964. The money to sound ratio is not linear and you should always start with your speaker upgrade before your hardware upgrade. The speakers you upgrade to will dictate a lot of you hardware needs. In particular, your power needs.
But what can you reasonably expect from a $600 to $4000 upgrade? Honestly, it’s an across the board upgrade. It would be a complete overhaul to your system.
Hopefully @Schroedster will respond and give you the nitty-gritty details.
Man this is a tricky question.
On the one hand, the Stellar M700s and Gain Cell crush the Sprout100 in every regard (sorry Sprout, you’re great but…). The DAC implementation is improved, and you get a fully analog, exceptionally transparent volume control in the Gain Cell. And the M700s are brilliant. More musical than Sprout100, gobs more power, and much more texturally rich and detailed.
On the other hand, I’d say everyone else in the thread is right that speakers are going to be the first step. I’d sooner take the mismatch of speakers vastly outpacing electronics to the reverse.
Thanks for the responses. Yes I was thinking of going to Magnapan 1.7’s [and 2 REL subs) or, if they get done in time, the PSA AN 4/5’s. I have heard Paul speak often, like you say here…SPEAKERS first, so I do have that in mind.
I wish I could help, but with 2 Sprouts and SGCD M700, I’m afraid I won’t be too dissuading. Mind you that the Stellars were first. The Sprout gives me joy, the Stellars put me on a mental trance, but for some odd reason, I enjoy all the different rooms they adorn and see it very hard for me to be chasing any other gear. (Besides even more stuff I already have. )