Should I upgrade?

Minim31

Novice Member
Hi Everyone

I got some great advice on this forum a few years ago when I was upgrading my first system and am hoping you can help me out again. I have a set-up I enjoy at the moment but am wondering what it might cost me to take it up a level and if anybody has recommendations for specific models to consider. I currently have:

Speakers: Monitor Audio Bronze 2
Turntable: Pro-ject Carbon Debut DC
Preamp for turntable: Pro-ject Phono Box MM
CD Player: Nad C541i
Amp: Nad C320BEE

The speakers and turntable I bought new and I'm still happy with those. I picked up the pair of nads (!) for a song on eBay about 5 or 6 years ago. I've been really lucky with them so far and enjoy the sound, but I'm thinking it may be time to upgrade soon (as surely they can't last forever!?)

I'm listen mainly to jazz and have a decent CD and Vinyl collection. I do have a Chromecast audio to stream to if I want, but 95% of the time it's physical media I'm playing.

It's hard to compare old and new gear sometimes, and I could just wait until something dies. However, if I choose to upgrade before then, I'd like to improve the setup rather than get like-for-like replacements. Consequently, I'm wondering what I'd have to spend to step up in quality from the amp and CD player and which brands/models should I be considering?

Thanks in advance guys and any and all advice will be welcomed.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
The two bits that will make the biggest effect on the sound will be the speakers and the turntable cartridge. Iirc the Project comes with a 2M Red which is generally seen as OK but not stellar. So a change the the AT VM95 ML will make quite a difference. If you like the MA sound from the speakers then the MASilver 100 can be had for around £400 which may be a upgrade but this is the level you need to be to better the bronze I think.

 

Minim31

Novice Member
The two bits that will make the biggest effect on the sound will be the speakers and the turntable cartridge. Iirc the Project comes with a 2M Red which is generally seen as OK but not stellar. So a change the the AT VM95 ML will make quite a difference. If you like the MA sound from the speakers then the MASilver 100 can be had for around £400 which may be a upgrade but this is the level you need to be to better the bronze I think.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. That certainly sounds like good advice, although I was asking more about the amp/CD player.

Would you say then that if the amp/CD player dies then there's little point in upgrading beyond their modern equivalent level with my current speakers and cartridge - i.e. entry level (at what's considered hi-fi standard)?
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Agree - speakers and cartridge.

MA Silver 100 6G if you can still find them as they have been hugely discounted because of the new 7G range that replaces them. Lots of other good speaker options of course, just these are good and cheap right now.

BTW - alot of jazz I listen to has really nice low end and make having a decent floor standing speaker well worth it if you can accommodate them (I use MA Silver 300 6G which may also still be available at a huge discount - 1.5K speakers for around 800 or so).

As for other system upgrades, amp should still be fine, but for an upgrade it depends what budget you may have in mind.

You may find streaming more rewarding/useful with the right device and services too. While I have vinyl and CD playback, these days 99% of listening is streaming from Tidal or Qobuz via Roon streaming system (making the NAD 368 amp a possibly interesting upgrade for you in future with its BluOS network module).
 
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Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
As per earlier comments you’ll get the best bang for your buck by upgrading speakers. Whilst I agree with the new cartridge comment but at £145 I’m not sure you’ll hear it’s “worth”. I’d start with the speakers it may be all you need.

Regards your Amp and CD query have a look at the Rotel A11 Series or a Rega IO Amp plus A11 or Marantz CD player.
 

Flobs

Active Member
Just concentrate on finding speakers that really please you, as long as everything is working no need to rush out and make errors.
Look particularly at second hand (speakers looked after well last a long time and there's a lot of very good ones out there that people don't appreciate fully because they weren't expensive enough).
Once you have 'your' speakers then start finding their 'match'.
I certainly wouldn't change the amp for something in the 500 euros bracket it really isn't going to make a difference. So once you find those speakers (which you must audition btw, don't ask us we don't know your taste) save up a good budget for an amp and don't forget Yamaha if your looking for bang for you buck.
I think it helps to narrow down the possibilities by having/setting limits. I'm minamalist and have my ideas about what audiophile is. 2 way speakers, none of this 3 way rubbish, 8ohm (not 8ohm but drops to 3 stuff 6 is low enough) love transmission line (that really narrows your scope), pure amplification non of this modulated trash etc. Just my 'restrictions' and theirs many who would poohoo these which is fine. You can feel 3 way is the way to go it really doesn't matter but think of ways of eliminating the whole pile of stuff out there. Narrow your choices down so you can actually make a choice. It could be aesthetics which is fine the boss will be happy, it could be room restrictions, if you need speakers up against the wall there is no point looking at stuff that booms there's even speakers designed to go up against the wall. etc.
For example what is it you don't like about what you've got?
If it's just you thought they were a bargain at the time think again as they still work!
 

Minim31

Novice Member
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond. It seems there's nothing really to be gained by replacing my amp/CD player at this stage and I do like the warm sound of my amp so I think I'll just try to enjoy that while it lasts.

From what everybody has said, I think speakers will be the priority when I upgrade as they'll obviously effect any kind of media I play. Thanks again for the advice.
 

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