I am looking to upgrade - looking for advice

So I am the guy who recently asked if a Rotel 1572 preamp would work with a Parasound A21+ amp. So I was asking because I was thinking of upgrading my current amp which is a Rotel 1552. The rest of my system is Yamaha CD player and project turntable (both approx $400 each), Bluesound Node, and B&W 705 S2 speakers. Right now I primarily stream my music through the node. So I was interested in the next step to improvement and I thought it would be what the amplifier. After reading some of the posts on my original question (would the A21 work well with my Rotel preamp I am now thinking that I need to look at both the preamp and amp. Of course that is you agree with my assessment. Here are a few of the amps I was looking at: A21, Vincent  SP-332, and Bryson 3b3. The preamps that were suggested all look outstanding: Benchmark LA4, Backert Labs Rhumba 1.3 and the Audionet Pre 1 G3. It looks like with these I would need to also get a DAC, not sure about the phono stage. Any advice is appreciated. I am knee to this.


Speakers are the most flawed devices. Yet offer the biggest improvement when changed. None of them sound exactly like  real instruments and voices! Not even the $200K Wilson Chronosonics. With speakers it is often what you can tolerate over time. We all hear differently and have preferences for different aspects of frequency response, timbre and dynamic range. So the marketplace provides such a variety of speakers - from small shoe boxes to towering monoliths!

I agree with jasonborne on this one. If you stick with your current sources as is, it is very unlikely that a new set of amp/preamp will make big improvements. BTW, I love my A21+ amp.

I’m always amazed how many are devoted to the concept that spending (significantly) more money equals improved SQ. We all tend to agree that SQ is a perceptive concept, not an empirical one. Yet many espouse that the bigger hit to your credit card will automatically result in jaw dropping improvements. I respectfully and adamantly disagree. 

No one can tell you what to buy. Or what to spend to achieve your objectives. Only you can. Heck, most will suggest you buy what they have. Bottom line, your best bet is to try equipment of interest and decide for yourself. But don’t let the price tag be a basis for anticipated improvement. 

Sorry for being a grouch this morning. We ran out of coffee so I’m stuck with decaf. 

What is budget? 

Would you consider an integrated amplifier? 

Vincent makes a tube/SS hybrid integrated that has a DAC onboard. They also make a hybrid preamp that mates with the SP-332. I have owned a Vincent integrated and it sounded wonderful at the price point. Would sound less clinical, not as dry with more air, than the Rotel gear. Great soundstaging.

Another thought, given that streaming is your main source you might think about getting a DAC to pair with the Node. There are threads on this forum that address that option.  If your cd player has digital out the DAC could also serve it.

If you enjoy your B&W speakers keep them. There is much you can do to get more out of them.

Price range for all upgrades? Can't recommend an upgrade without knowing what you are comfortable spending