Upgrade thoughts

I'm considering an upgrade-not committed to it and not sure which component would be best to upgrade. System= Sonus Faber Serafino; Michi s5 amp; Simaudio 390 preamp; DCS Bartok DAC streamer (currently being upgraded to Apex); Clearaudio DC Performance TT; Simaudio 610LP phono pre; Ortofon Cadenza Bronze Cart; Roon Nucleus; Nordost Heimdall II speaker cables and interconnects; Shunyata PC; Room is approximately 36x24 with an area opening to a different room. 

I enjoy different kinds of music-jazz-60s, 70s rock, country, accoustical. No classical or electronic- not a lot of really bass heavy stuff. Mostly stream from Qobuz-really enjoy my vinyl rig but too old and lazy to get up every 20 minutes. 

I'm pretty satisfied with my system-spend a couple of hours with it every night- and maybe should leave well enough alone. If I had to identify what I would like more of, maybe a wider soundstage and a bit more detail. Or, maybe I just have a recurring case of upgraditis because that seems to go with this hobby. 

Have toyed with going to Boulder 1160 amp. The Michi S5 might seem the logical weak spot, but I think its pretty good. Auditioned against McIntosh and Classe and I liked the Michi better. Boulder is obviously in a different price category-wondering how much improvement i might get for the money. 

Also considered going to Magico S5 MkII speakers. The SFs are fine speakers-would this be more of a lateral move?

Might be able to audition these in a showroom-probably not with my setup. 

Would appreciate any helpful thoughts-particularly about the Boulder and/or Magico.

Budget is 15-20 plus trade-in-obviously would be happy to spend less.

 I don't post that often but look at the forum everyday and have learned a lot. Things like never debate raven vs. prima luna, but helpful stuff as well. 



I’d be leery of buying any Boulder amps. Comparable sonic quality can be had today for way less. I’d rather buy a pair of the newest Hypex Ncore 500’s for around a few grand than spend 10X that for Boulder! The future of audio is with the newest Class D amps - not the 100+ lbs  $20K boat anchors!

Truly awesome System.

You have enough power to drive half the city.

I have never heard your speakers, my ’imagined’ take:

1. I am not a fan of ports, if so, Front Only.

2. Lots of description relative to Violins, however I have never seen/heard a Violin with a hole in the back.

Sooo, can you

a. close the ports, live with change for a while, differences beneficial?

b. audition different ’portless’ speakers, find something that sound fantastic to you?

Listen, particularly to imaging, and, despite apparently less bass, is ’stereo bass’ improved, i.e. very low bass mono, but the bass overtones become directional thus bass player’s location more readily identified. Port Sound Waves are detrimental to Bass Overtones IME.



IF you have a lot of open space behind the rear port, as I once had, the rear port can be beneficial, barely if at all detrimental, I would still try them blocked, ascertain the differences.

My speakers, in their current location, have their rear ports blocked. Open when I moved in, but definite improvements, HERE, closing them. 


Prior Location, open space, they had a full room behind them, the rear port gave extra extension to the 15" woofer, i.e. like in a larger enclosure than the 6.8 cu ft enclosure without reflections of sound waves out of the rear port.



Similar age, music preferences and room dimensions

I was shocked when I replaced a Pangea Premier XL 1.5M coax ($169) with a 1.5M Chinese Nordost knockoff. And since it was so cheap I also got a 1.0M which I held back until I felt the 1.5 was well broken in- mind blowing improvement. Since then I slowly replaced all the other cables and wires, each time my system revealed more of how good it is.

As to speakers I own Emerald Physics 3.4s 12" coaxial with 1" polyester tweeters, and while they really satisfy 99% of my music needs, because my room is so large I would love to get a pair of EP 2.8s same plus dual 15" woofers. I did see a pair in the classifieds for ~ $2500 + shipping. See my virtual system


Oops, in my comment I intended to say upgrade the preamp… for some reason I said amp in the second paragraph. Hope that was not too confusing.


Preamps with tubes should not at all be difficult. The analysis is exactly the same as any other component. Any angst about tubes comes from amplifiers which need big high power tubes. Preamps do not have high power tubes and are pretty much just like solid state, although they tend to be more natural and musical. If you want your system to really capture the magic of music this is where to concentrate.