My System's Weakest Link - What Say You...

First off, McIntosh bashers need not respond.  The synergy of this system is outstanding.  

I think I have my system pretty well fleshed out now, and love what it is doing for me.  But, I have my eye on my weak link.  I have a few thoughts, but I'm Interested in objective, and somewhat random comments from some insightful folks here.

My Habits:  Love listening to vinyl most of all. Don't know exactly but have over 3000 LP, I think, and keep getting more.  Obviously do lots of streaming too via Tidal > Roon. Also on thousands of CDs of varying quality.

My Room: Open main floor Floor plan to the kitchen and formal dining room.  Open space has 9 foot ceilings, with fabric chairs and carpeting.  No need for any room enhancement identified.  Still sounds great.  Lucked out on that one.

Anyway, where is what I have:
  • (1) McIntosh MT5 Turntable
  • (2) Sumiko Palos Santos Cartridge
  • (3) McIntosh MP1100 Phono PreAmp
  • (4) McIntosh C1100 2-piece PreAmp
  • (5) McIntosh D1100 DAC
  • (6) McIntosh MCT 500 CD/SACD Transport
  • (7) McIntosh MVP 901 A/V Player
  • (8) McIntosh MC2152 70th Anniversary Amp
  • (9) McIntosh MPC1500 Power Controller
  • (10) Sonus Faber Lillium Speakers
  • (11) Roon Nucleus
  • (12) Sonore Signature Rendu SE w/ Optical Feed
  • (13) All Connected via Clarus Crimson interconnects, power cables and Balanced Cables
  • (14) Will avoid the details on isolation, AC outlets, etc. for now.
Choose a number, product or idea.  Have fun with this one.

"Long haired, freaky people, need not apply" or dismiss my enjoyment of McIntosh.  [btw - anyone remember that song quote?]

Weakest links are your DAC and turntable.  More often than not, companies that specialize in design/manufacturing these components are better performing.  There are much better DACs in the market nowadays that would better suit the level of your system.  Also, because you listen to vinyl substantially, your will also benefit from a turntable + tonearm upgrade.  At $15k, the VPI HW40 would likely give you a good price/performance boost.  
  • C’mon brother. Be honest, what you really wanna hear is others’ oohing and ahhing and enjoy listening to them discussing so many different pieces of YOUR stuff. Exactly who is here that’s heard your system but you? No one else I’ll bet, so for someone else to pick out your system’s weakest link without hearing all of it would be based on what? You’ve clearly spent many yrs while educating yourself and spending thousands of dollars. You’re looking for a weak link??? It’s easy to see if you look.
To my way of thinking that's a very good system so I hesitate to use the term weak link because of its negativity. I tend to agree with KennyC that testing out new TT's and DACs offer you the greatest opportunity to hear a different sound, whether you like the alternatives is anyone's guess but both of those are central to everything you play. Budget is obviously another consideration, there are some very affordable yet outstanding ladder DACs and if your budget is large, ring DACs might just make you into a digital convert 🙂
I am going to pick on the Sumiko Palos Santos. I am not much of a fan of Sumiko to start with. I took a huge step up from a Blackbird to a ClearAudio Titanium and never looked back. I currently have a Goldfinger V2 Statement, and will never look back.
#1 I have a Mcintosh MT5 and it sounds good but I just bought a VPI Classic 4 with a 12” fatboy gimbaled arm periphery ring and ADS speed controller The upgrade is amazing!