Does an upgrade make sense?

I may be coming down with the upgrade bug, and I’m open to suggestions. I’m quite happy with what I have—excellent imaging, musicality, dynamics. Maybe I could use a little more depth (left right is fine and speakers truly disappear), and maybe a touch more dynamics.

Almost everything I listen to is Qobuz streaming or hi res and flac files from a NAS (hard drive). My system:

Cambridge 851 Streamer/DAC

Bel Canto Pre5

Bel Canto Ref 500 monoblocks

Dali Mentor 6 floorstanders

Everything sits on maple plinths, Gaia iiis, or pucks.

Cabling is mid range Morrows. I previously had Kimber KS1116s but sold them as the Morrows sounded just as good, on the current set up.

What do I need to get more of everything? Speakers? DAC, Streamer? Amp?


Since you can't move them further away from the front wall  I suggest removing the TV and filling the space with a diffuser.  This will effectively "move the wall back" a bit.

If this isn’t possible you should at least throw a blanket over the TV when listening that’ll also help quite a bit and very simple/easy to do. 

Ha! Me too! But I may have the cure for you. Change the way you listen; change something in the room, change the positioning of your equipment. Change before you buy anything. Read "Get Better Sound" and see if there’s anything in there that might trigger an idea. Call the author; he answers the phone.

I got this epiphany from my auto mechanic (side story at end). But the fact is if you listen differently, at a new time or without glasses and reading material or iphone/ipad present, you might hear differently and hear more. Same for other minor changes.

Its a human factor that the familiar becomes mundane. We must work to appreciate what’s in front of us (not going down the marriage tunnel).

Side story: I was speaking with my auto mechanic and he told me that most of the upgrades he does really never fully satisfy the customer prone to upgrading; just makes them want more. After a month they want another 5% and spend big chasing it.

His advice was don’t drive your car as much or drive differently. I was unable to drive my car for a month because of an injury. When I got back in I was surprised at how fast it felt, the handling better than I remember. This also works if I change the way I drive; no radio, windows down, no AC (at night). It just feels different; more engaging, less mundane / less familiar.

All of the above intended kindly, please forgive my humor if you don’t agree.

Lol. For critical listening I have thrown blankets over the tv. Very slight difference but it makes me feel like I’m doing something. 

+1 @socalml528 

I have an original 1917 Victrola sitting on top of one of my speakers.

Any time I feel as though my rig is not performing up to par, I check temps with an infrared gun.  Visually inspect.  Turn it all off.

Go away and come back next day and put a 78 on the 'ol Victrola.  Damn this thing plays loud.  Listen to a side, goes by quick.  Having warmed up the rig for an hour or so.  I play something I'm very fond of. OMG this rig sounds fabulous!!

Go down to Goodwill or some other "store" of the same ilk and purchase a POS cassette "boom-box"  the smaller and cheaper the better, get a cassette to go with it.  Maybe some nice shrill bag-pipe music is in order here.  Listen to it for a nice little session.  You get the drift.

You'll forget about upgrading.  The mind is a very strange place to live. You're welcome.