SEEKING ADVICE: Which component would you upgrade first?

This is my first post, so take it easy on me!

I have a modest analog system and would like to get recommendations on which component you would upgrade first for the biggest impact. Please use the existing components as a gauge for my budget (+/- a few hundo).

About me: I'm music lover. I'm a musician and recording engineer. I have a decent collection of old and new records, CDs, and tapes, which I listen to regularly. I appreciate good sounding recordings and have the experience to identify good and bad, but I'm not interested in mortgaging my home to upgrade my system.



Receiver: Pioneer SX-680

Turntable: Pioneer PL-112D

Speakers: Yamaha NS-1 and Pioneer HPM-100


My rule is work your way in from the outside. Sources first. My priorities are:

1. speakers - source for your ears. The single largest improvement you can make to a system is to choose the best speakers for your ears, your room, your music and to match the rest of your gear.

2. Front end sources: Analog: cartridge, tonearm, phono stage, turntable (in that order, IMO). Digital: DAC, source (streamer, computer, device)

3. Preamp.

4. Amp

5. Everything else: cables and tweaks

Welcome, lucasread!

Gird up your loins!  :) 

As a recording engineer, can we assume that the room interaction with your loudspeakers, positioning and a modicum of room treatments has been addressed.  If not, it's biggest bang for the buck towards your goals. Overreaching on a good loudspeaker choice can then benefit from growing the system as your budget allows.  A power efficient loudspeaker can take you down the highway.  Finding a hi-fi mentor has great value on many levels.  Go slow, friend.  I've enjoyed the ride for over 60+ years.  Onwards!

More Peace     Pin         (bold print for old eyes)

It wasn't mentioned but I would start with speaker wires and upgraded RCA interconnects. Simple and cheap and your not tearing your system apart. Then if not satisfied, I would start with new speakers. Once you go down this road It's like changing a window in your home It turns out all new windows and siding. Each piece you change requires a new piece to fit your new system. So consider carefully and get your check book out. Good luck it can be great fun.

OP here; thanks for all the input and hearty debate.

I've decided that I'll start with the cartridge. I'm happy with the speakers and amp, and believe they're each doing everything they can with what they've been provided. Therefore, I must upgrade the quality of the signal the speakers and amp are getting.


No, @ditusa, not a Bot. But I appreciate the motivation to get me to respond back and close the loop.