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?


Hey, I love the idea of two subs. Sealed box only. I’m not really worried about how low they go but more on where they will be in the room. I’m thinking 2 REL T9i because they are small but use the Speakon connections ( wired into your amps dmspeaker output. If your amps a class D do not connect the black wire to the speaker terminal. Attach it to a screw on the chassis instead. I see you have a 65” piece of glass in the middle. Just so you know the REL subs have a LFE input for home theater too. Dali speakers are usually not that heavy. So on the days you really want to enjoy the musi pull your speakers out into the room. You will be amazed at the sound. Last but definitely not least you need to treat the room. It will probably be the biggest sound impact for your money. Even free standing absorbers or diffusers at the first reflection points will really deepen the sound stage. I hope this helps. 

Another vote for looking at getting a better DAC and then maybe a Subwoofer or two. I have one SVS SB 2000Pro one the wall behind my listening position. My speakers are 8’ in front of me and the subwoofer is about 7’ behind and it blends in so well that I will not be adding a second to the system.  I got lucky, because most rooms need at least a pair to get smooth even bass.

All the best.

Within your budget ($3,000), you’ll have a lot of choices in the used market.

Since you appear to only stream your music, you probably don’t need a DSD-capable DAC.

There are a lot of used high end DACs on the market that only go to 24bit/192kHz as their owners upgrade to DSD. So there are some great bargains to be had from companies such as EMM Labs, Bricasti, dCS, Theta Digital, etc.

If you do want a DSD-capable DAC, then a Denafrips Venus II mated to the Denafrips Iris DDC, is a killer DAC combination.

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I would start with noise/jitter management.

Something like a Puritan 156 for the electrical noise.

At least one audio ethernet switch (I use 3) 

Adding an ethernet filter like the Network Acoustics, or using an ethernet cable with a filter like the SOtM.

I have found using a DDC to use an input other than USB diminishes digital noise.

Then you can upgrade your gear and appreciate the benefits.