In a system that included a Uniti Atom as a streamer, oppo 103 with I2s card, PS DS Sr. DAC with SGCD & M700 Monos into Kanta 2s would I be better off upgrading the amps to more power / Class A or a better preamp to better the system? I know its a chicken or egg situation and may even be a 6 of one half a dozen of another as well but figured someone may have gone through the same thing at some point.
I’d say pre and power amp upgrade would have to go together. With only one of them you’d definitely notice improvement but way under their potential. If I had to decide and the current power amp matches well with the speakers, I”d do the preamp upgrade first.
No thought about cables?
Using Icepower Class D amps the biggest improvement would come from adding a tube preamp. Do you have a budget in mind?
I already have cables set up
My hunch is you can do better than the SGCD with that budget, especially in the previously loved, used market.
Get the “best” preamp you can within your budget?
I had almost the exact same system at one point. I connected my DSD directly to the M700’s and heard a substantial improvement over the SGCD. Eventually I went to the BHK Preamp and heard another improvement in sound quality. The SGCD is the weakest link IMO. After that the M700’s. If you are staying the PS Audio route I would go with a BHK 250 next for the best bang for your buck. Normally I’d say M1200’s but I’ve seen better deals on pre owned BHK 250’s. The M1200’s are a substantial upgrade over the 700’s in my experience. Good luck with your journey and enjoy!
Current current current. IMO a P20/P15 would provide immediately improvements and at the same time a fundamental investment for the future of the system, along with power cord. If you aren’t already set up on this side, of course.
All good points so far, appreciate the feedback
Funny, not really funny story, I went all in on the Stellar sale last year and now I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into the upgrade cycle way out of the initial budget that I had a year ago. I was hoping that the PP3 was the last thing I’d have to replace lol
Consider a subwoofer.
(Edited with rationale) My journey with PSA gears start from SGCD+M700s. Several steps I did on my system.
- Added a P12 (why, PSA voicing its gears with its regen, so, I got a P12, if won’t work out, I have 30 days to return it. Well, the return did not happen.)
- Added pair of subwoofers (JL Audio D110) and tune the speakers position. (My speaker is two-way, I was thinking to get a full range, but my wife like the look of the speaker. So speaker stays, but tune it according to Ask Paul video recommendations.)
- Added PST (to go with my DSDAC) ( initially get DSDAC for playing my CD with cheap DVD player as transport. I was beta testing PST. Never think a good transport like PST can bring my CD back to life. So, PST stays too.)
- Small DYI on speakers cable (biwire and make it as short as possible.) (M700 allows me to put it just behind my speakers to take advantage of balanced XLR connection to SGCD and very short speaker cable.)
All these seem improving the sonic performance on my system.
From my personal experience with multiple Class D amps the best matchup for me was with tube preamps based on the 6SN7 tubes. The ones that come to mind in your price range would be the Don Sachs DS2, the Modwright LS-100, the Supratek Chardonnay or Cabernet or the Aric Audio models like the Motherlode II or the Super 6SN7. I have owned the first four in the list and settled on the Supratek Cabernet 6SN7 (not the Dual). Haven’t heard the Aric’s but they get rave reviews and he sells direct and supposedly easy to work with. Also owned the BHK for almost four years but it is gone some time ago.
Sorry I forgot to mention but I do have a REL T7x
Completely agree with improving pre and power amps. If you go with improving the preamp first, there are 2 really good used Conrad Johnson tube preamps at the music room (tmraudio.com).
Ok, there are 4, but 2 of them are 2 box preamps, while 2 are single box preamps.
Don’t forget the room. Along with clean power, fixing any room issues would seem to be an important way to get overall improvement.
there’s is that too, thanks for the reminder!
I do agree. For my system the ultimate upgrade is the P20 without a doubt!
but do you feel a P20 in my system would provide a sizable gain over adding a BHK pre or BHK amps?