Seeking advice what to upgrade

I am a newbie at this hobby and am respectfully seeking recommendations on what component in my system would be best to consider for a next upgrade. My humble and cobbled together system currently consists of:


10 Octave LP1 tube preamp – two gentlemen out of GA who used to do special effects electronics for movies

Carver M-1.0t mkII opt002 amp upgraded by Nelion Audio

Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus used as a DAC

SOtM SMS 200 Neo streamer w Sbooster power supply running Roon

Rega Planar 3 (vintage) with Blue Point MC cartridge and Schiit Mani pre – sounds as good as streaming to me

Klipsch Forte 1 w Crites crossover and tweeter upgrade

Blue Jean speaker cables – actually made a noticeable difference over Home Depot

Lots of room treatment which made a huge improvement in sound stage definition


Some previous components:

Ohm Walsh 3xo speakers – nice but blurred soundstage compared to the Forte’s

Jadis Orchestra Reference integrated – very nice, articulate, but weak base compared to current components


Overall, I am pretty happy with how it sounds – very nice sound stage and definition, plenty of bass for my ears, great for Jazz and vocals, and generally very clean. I probably stream more than play records as my LP collection is pretty limited at this point. That said, listening fatigue sets in after 30-45 minutes at higher volumes (which the wife likes) and my gut says the overall sound may be a bit bright though I don’t feel the Forte’s are shouty as some have described horn loaded speakers (but I don’t have years of trying different components to compare to).


I don’t have a huge budget, maybe 2-3K, which is problematic for this hobby, but you have to start somewhere.


Anyway, you all are the experts and have been down this road already. Looking for some navigation guidance on my next move. Thanks much.

There’s two main ways you can do this. One is if you know there’s some kind of problem or major weakness with one of your components, that would be the logical one to replace. Like when you had lamp cord, going to quality wire was a total no-brainer.

What I see, listener fatigue at volume, but not sure which component(s) are to blame. Odds are Klipsch, they play loud but not smooth and stress free. If you can sell those for $1k (or more?) then your $2-3k will get you comfortably into Tekton Double Impacts Don’t worry about not being able to audition. I got Moabs last summer, Eric Alexander makes some absolutely fantastic speakers. Clean, clear, dynamic, extended, neutral and most importantly in your case absolutely strain free. If you experience any fatigue whatsoever its not from the speakers!

Strain and listener fatigue can also come from electronics. I’m not gonna mess with your digital, it is after all just digital, it is what it is. Not gonna touch your table either, already said not a lot of vinyl. Plus doing that before the rest of your system is prepared for quality vinyl playback is kind of a waste.

That leaves your amp. Carver and tubes are okay but I will say sell them both, along with the interconnect and whatever power cord they are sucking up, and get one of these: Yes that is plenty of power. If it doesn’t sound more powerful, with better bass and everything than your Carver, I will eat this post. Which would be quite a stunt if you could see it, only you won’t, because when you hear it you will agree.

I am still leaning Double Impacts, offering this more to give you some idea where you could be going. DI/Nighthawk would be awesome and crazy good for the money.

Last idea which depending on how you do it, could be done together not either/or- springs or Pods. Springs under your speakers (and everything else) is a huge upgrade. Nobsound springs from Amazon are terrific high value and very versatile. There’s also plain springs but they are a lot of time and trouble to figure out. Finally there’s Townshend Pods, by far the best but also most expensive.

Springs made a huge improvement in my system, particularly in the same area of shouty fatigue, taking the sound in a much more natural smooth direction yet doing this without losing any detail. There is in fact more detail revealed now that the ringing is gone.

I got this with all 3 types of springs, they are all in there, which is how I know they all work, and which works best, and for what value. Townshend cost more but are worth it, they are just as good value as the cheaper stuff.  

(Search eBay for plain springs.)

Same for the others. Speakers or amp. Its all down to how you want to do it, and in what order, etc. Any one of these will take you in the direction you want to go- and you will be surprised how much.
I think that the speakers are the greatest contributor to your fatigue. If you have loading settings on your phono preamp you can mess with these. 
Before reading I pretty much assumed MC’s solution was going to be "sell all your gear and buy Raven and Tekton." That’s the answer to all things audio guys. I suppose incessant posting of the same recommendations for the same gear day after day is cheap marketing for someone.
That’s an insult not an argument. I don’t always assume the answer is going to be to insult me while ignoring the OP and providing zero useful information. But if I did, boy would I be right a lot. At least when it comes to certain posters.  

Congratulations EZ, you made the list. Had to review to make sure you weren’t already on there. Gives me great pleasure to report the majority on the list are no longer on the site. Progress!

Cartridge loading will help but only with records which dmartens said he has few, its mostly streaming. Double Impacts will totally answer his question. Also they are one of the few that will do it while being as efficient as his current Klipsch. This matters a lot because the next big step up in components is indeed a Raven. Or Decware. Something like that- American made tube amp, just like he was looking for last summer. Only better.
I saw an observation. If it’s taken as a insult all I see is thin skin.
I’d get a Puffin for the Blue Point and a better DAC for digital. I don’t care for Klipsche but if you do better initial source processing will make a bigger difference at the stated budget.
Are you using cheap interconnect cables?  Nice interconnects plus changing to a solid core speaker wire can help tame the harshness of those tweeters.
SQ wise, the weakest devices in your system are the Klipsch & the DAC.
As mentioned above, teh Klipsch may be fatiguing despite the mods which should make them more palatable.*So, I would go for the DAC first (a benchmark or an Ideon, or similar)
*I would also try out interconnects, single-core as suggested are an excellent option. A reasonably priced improvement.* Vibration control for the tubed pre (inexpensive)* Rega 3 with the 300 arm? If not, go for the 300.

Good luck!

Thanks all for the suggestions starting w MC. I have admired the Tecktons and have them at the top of my speaker list. Upgrading interconnects, going to solid core speaker cable (any recommendations?) and springs will be a great experiment to work with. A new dac has been on the list as well.  I know Benchmark has been a perennial favorite and I need to check out Ideon (have also been eyeing Denefrips, though China...).  And part of the fun of a vintage Rega is upgrading - arm, platter, cartridge etc.  And I am sure trying different pre/amp combos will be in the mix somewhere.     You all have given me some great ideas to keep me occupied this ‘vid winter. Much appreciated. 
I'm afraid your sonic priorities are all over the place.  Normally, unless something else egregious is going on, changing the speaker will make the biggest single change to the sound of a system.  In your case, you mention listener fatigue.  Suspicion naturally falls on the Klipsch.  The first thing to do, then, would be to get a couple of other speakers in house and see how you like them.  Look at Audio Adviser, Music Direct, and Crutchfield for 30- or 60-day in-house auditions.  Evidently, the rest of your system offers plenty of scope for tinkering and tweaking, but unless you start here, you're just going to be applying elaborate and potentially expensive band-aids.
For instance, I don't see the Benchmark really ameliorating listener fatigue, if it's already there somewhere in the system.
Oh, and the most important single piece of advice is to ignore completely the first response that you received to your post.
I with those that recommend changing your speakers.  Then fine tune your front end. 
Post removed 
"Your fatigue has more to do with high volume than anything else."

Start there and see what happens.
So speakers it is.  Many thanks to all the helpful comments!  Looking forward to continuing my education via this forum.