I’m a newer audiophile that raced to assemble a HT system over the last two years, buying all new speakers, but purchasing used electronics to get it built out quickly. Now that I have that system assembled, I’m now looking to refine my stereo system over time, to get the best stereo system I can while still integrating it into my HT space.
The upgrades I am thinking of making are, and in order…
- Replace Def Tech 8080ST towers with GoldenEar Reference Speakers (10k)
- Replace Def Tech 8080CS center with the GoldenEar SuperCenter (1,700)
- Replace Emotiva XSP-1 pre-amp with Anthem STR Pre-amp (4k)
- Replace Anthem P2 AMP with Anthem STR Power AMP (6k)
- Replace Cambridge Audio CXN Streamer/ DAC with PS Audio DirectStream DAC (6k)
My questions before breaking down my reasoning for these upgrades are:
- Is this an appropriate budget for speaker to electronics ratio?
- Are there any identifiable “weak links” in this solution?
- Are there other suggestions for speakers that you guys would recommend or what do you think of the GE’s?
- And finally, If this setup is crazy, please don’t hold back. I will obviously audition anything I’ll buy and ultimately, I have to be the one that likes it… But I’m really open to hearing input from this forum because you guys are really helpful, knowledgeable, and have a lot more experience than I do.
From here out, this is just additional “stuff” that you don’t have to read. But It explains my thinking a bit more. I almost exclusively stream music, but have a cheap TT and Oppo Blu-Ray for the occasional physical media that I use.
With respect to the speakers, I love having the built in, powered subs. And both my def techs and GE’s have incredible dynamics, can play EXTREMLY loud (which I don’t do that often, but it’s nice to have), and the sound stage is great on both. But, the GE’s have far more resolving power, far, far better imaging, they have more robust bass, the drivers seem to be integrated better than the def techs, and while I love the design goals of the AN3s, they won’t have a matching center to my knowledge, and they will end up costing at least 7k more.
Pre-amp wise, I really like that the Anthem has room correction, HT Bypass, bass management and an integrated DAC that I can use until I can upgrade to the PS Audio DS. Additionally, it has a phono stage, an AES input, so I can shop for used, higher end TT and CD Transports and use the built in features, until I could upgrade to separates.
Then with respect to the Amp, I love the matching look of the Anthem STR, the dial, and it would have plenty of power for any other speakers I might buy in the future. But I’m open to a LOT here… The PS Audio M1200 sounds like it’s going to be pretty amazing. The current M700’s might be a good match. I know that Premaluna has a big fan base out there and they have been paired with the GE’s at various shows. But my current AMP is fine for the time being… But for an AB class amp, at this price point and quality, I think this might be hard to beat. And I might get the DS before the amp just because it’s working fine for me and I don’t envision a big improvement by swapping this out.
Then with respect to streaming, I love, LOVE the DirectStream DAC. I can stream directly with it. I can hook up a transport and play SCDs, it’s upgradeable, Qobuz, Roon, I love, LOVE this… (Maybe I should start by asking what system would you build around it? ) I know that 6k for a source is somewhat high for speakers costing only 10k, but I’m open to eventually upgrading those as well.
Anyway - thank you all for any input and your suggestions and I hope all of you have a great holiday season here!