$3-6K Source Upgrade: Digital vs Vinyl Again

Once again, I'm thinking of upgrading my source. What has always been holding me back of course, is cost. In the digital realm, I have always wanted to get the EMMlabs gear, but alas that is simply too expensive. But reading up on the performance of the Ayre C-5xe and the APL Denons with the new DACs, have made me think seriously of going with either one of these players. Unfortunately, where I live (Canada), these players are either not easy to obtain (who really knows when they'll get their APL players and I don't want to wait months) or way to expensive than what it's worth (there is one local dealer selling Ayre who never discounts and slaps on outdated exchange rates making it cost the equavalent of $7000US). The other option of course is to buy from the States and I'm not even sure if they're allowed to send a unit to Canada due to strict dealer restrictions.

So this got me thinking of again getting an analog rig and getting into vinyl (I do not have any software but I'm not too deep in my SACD/redbook collection either). I have been looking at the VPI Scout and the Scoutmaster because they come so highly recommended in terms of their value. Unfortunately, the cost of getting into Vinyl is not cheap. $2500 for the TT/Arm, $750-$1000 for cartridge, $800-? for a good Phono preamp not to mention cables and the cost is going to bring me close to the cost of where the digital players I'm looking at, depending on the analog gear I go with.

My current setup is as follows: Kharma 3.2s, Tenor 150hp hybrids, Placette passive preamp, Jena Labs cabling. I am currently using a Sony SCDC555ES w/Museatex bitstream DAC (modified) as my source. I pretty much build this system piece by piece and upgraded as funds would allow (which have never recovered from my purchases so I have to penny pinch here in the sense that every couple of hundred is a lot of money to me).

So although I feel I'm getting a good sound out of my system, I do think that getting close to a SOTA source would help complete my system. I have listened to vinyl and compared it to digital and do feel the very best vinyl is more enjoyable than the best digital. So I'm sure that if I get started on vinyl, I'll most likely buy mostly vinyl given the choice. Sound is very important to me. I'm big on instrumental sound as I play instruments myself and simply love hearing their sound (I'll pick the recording with the better sound if the alternative is to listen to a great performance but crap recording).

The extra cost of new Vinyl is a concern, but I tend to be selective about the recordings I buy anyways, so I'm wiling to do my research and pay extra to buy the best version out there.

Whichever way I go, I'll be tempted to buy/upgrade the one I passed over eventually. It's just a matter of whether to upgrade my digital source (which saves me the expense of getting into vinyl and simplifies my system) or vinyl (I'll finally have a vinyl rig while living with my decent but probably not giving me what my system is capable of digital system). One last issue is resale value. I like to buy something I really like and keep it, but in the event that I have to downsize my system, I do like gear that holds its value or if I suddenly get rich and want to upgrade.

I've been mauling over a source upgrade for well over a year now and think I may be ready to do it this time.
If I may Howie,...Relax, and live a little! You won't go wrong either way. You can obviously afford a top tier digital front end for this kind of scratch. Same is true for the vinyl. Grab a couple of CD's and LP's and head out to the most user friendly audio saloon you can find. After spending all day ENJOYING YOURSELF, invest in which ever source makes you FEEL GOOD. The last time I did this (after in home confirmation), I purchased an Aesthetix IO. There was no way I should have moved up to this level after 10 years off raising kids, but this masterpiece transports the emotion of the music like no other single component I have ever owned. My system, particularly the analog, is now an absolute thrill to listen to.

It's safe to assume that this hobby has no conclusion,so you might as well jump in.
Dear Howie: +++++ " . I have listened to vinyl and compared it to digital and do feel the very best vinyl is more enjoyable than the best digital. " +++++

With 6K on budget you can build a good analog rig ( btw, very nice system that you own !!!!!! ) where you will be satisfied and where you can improve the quality sound reproduction over what you have at this moment. You can't go wrong with analog with that budget.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks for the responses guys. Well I would prefer to keep the budget closer to 3K than 6K. I just mentioned 6K because that could get me a top tier digital source as Mac pointed out, but not necessarily a top tier vinyl source. But you're right, I've been thinking about getting an analog rig for a long time and perhaps that's what I really want. It's just hard to decide on a vinyl rig because even at $6K I feel like I'm compromising somewhere.
Dear Howie: In this life everything is a trade-off, nothing is perfect but you have to start in some place and this one is a good one.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Howie, if you decide to take the vinyl plunge, you certainly can achieve excellent vinyl playback for the budget you've mentioned. I live with a Walker Audio Proscenium turntable and Aesthetix Io Signature phono stage and I love the result. But I also listen frequently to Slipknot1's superb system with VPI Scoutmaster, JMW-9 tonearm, Shelter 501 cartridge and Supratek Chenin preamp and love that experience.

Both of us far prefer to spend our time listening to vinyl than to digital, and we're happily ensconced in whichever listening room we find ourselves. So, while there's always improvement to be attained, I'm convinced that an under $6K vinyl rig will be a fully engaging and satisfying listening experience with the right combination of components that match to your listening priorities.

Best wishes in your search for the right answer for you!
Lao Tzu once said

"The perfect traveller has no set agenda, and is not intent upon arriving."

I think these are words to live by in the hifi world, be it analog, digital, or whatever.

Start where you will, because you can't begin without starting, and go from there. The journey is what consumes us more than the destination.
Hello all. I have to agree with all the comments so far, from people all with seriously more vinyl experience than me. I'm of the cheap high end brigade, using a replinthed Lenco, OLSilver arm, denon dl103 (i think you dont rate this one Raul, but i love it) and Fi phono. I find myself always playing vinyl these days, and virtually no cd's, despite owning a $3,000 cd player. Even a Thorens TD160 with a TP16 arm for $100 on epay will outperform most/all? digital IMO. To support this seemingly absurd claim, Hi FI World magazine here in England suggest that the Thorens is in Michell $2,000 armless Gyrodeck territory, and some prefer the TP16 to the RB250, even. Be forwarned though, I have found getting into vinyl just 2 years ago totally addictive, and it opens a whole new world of opinion and debate. My hugely argueable opinion on which affordable high end tt to buy - go idler wheel... I can feel myself ducking already hee hee
Dear Gilbodavid: Something happen and now I already have a rate for the 103. I'm waiting to speak about through a future thread. Stay tunned.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Omigawd, Raul is going to rate the Denon DL-103, run for the hills!!! Don't make me come over there and spank you Raul ;-), the Mighty Denon DL-103 is my own personal Sacred Cow (along with the Lencos, that is)!

If you want to get off the audio treadmill Howie, then look no further than the idler-wheel-drive Lenco, which does everything to an astonishing level of rightness and nothing wrong, and will cure you of a need to upgrade, (except tonearms, cartridges and phono stages, and later preamp, amp and speakers, and...;-)). Of course, takes a bit of the DIY. Since I believe (due to my ears) that analog is superior to digital sound reproduction, and you have already heard the special quality of analog, then any quality turntable will satisfy you deeply as compared with your digital source. Modern pressings and recordings are incredibly good, and the bins are filled with used gems. Join in the fun!
Hi thanks for the comments guys. Ya I'm madly researching various vinyl gear now. Table wise, I'm thinking of either getting a VPI Scoutmaster or Teres table. I already know some of the cartridges that go well with the Scoutmaster. If I go with Teres, I have to decide on a good arm and a compatible cart. So I'm trying to fill myself in on the latter. Then there's the research for phono preamp.
Yes go for the best vinyl setup you can afford.I just recently asked myself the same question.and after much A/Bing between SACD/VINYL....decided that Vinyl was so much more involving and enjoyable to listen to.My analog frontend consists of a Rega p9(2000$used)/Cary ph302 1500$ used/Ruby3h 1800$ with tradein.Played directly into modified Cary 805's with and without EVS passive attenuators.