I was hoping to be able to describe my equipment and it's sound and, with the benefit of the forum's input, determine which component(s) is holding me back the most. My current setup:
Oppo BDP-83SE and Sonos ZP90 via emotiva interconnects to...
Sony STR DG-1000 receiver for C,SL,SR/preamp for fronts via BJC interconnects to...
Emotiva XPA-2 via monster cable wires to...
PSB Image T55s (single wired), Image C40, Alpha B1s, Cerwin Vega 12" subwoofer
No power conditioning, stock power cables
For stereo listening, I tend to favor mainly music recorded in live spaces. My Home Theater and stereo systems are integrated because of space and cost/benefit considerations. My listening room is small (11 x 13 x 9) and the equipment's position in the room is fixed do to layout but optimized as well as is practical I think. I understand my placement is a limitation but a new space is on the horizon.
I have been Napstering (technical Sonos term) all of the music that was available on the TAS 207 evaluation recordings list trying to see if I could conclude anything. Although all of it was brilliant to listen to (bought some of it), the following is the best I can do to evaluate my system with out writing a book.
What I hear that I like: an amazing center image, respectable upper bass output and midrange clarity, very good macrodynamics (and volume capability), and parts of my best recordings can feel like surround.
What I am hearing that I don't like: as the volume goes up the tonal balance shifts toward the upper midrange/treble, the upper midrange/treble is often grainy and sharp (I DO want to turn it down on some recordings)
What I do not think I am hearing: a wide or deep soundstage, very little sense of space, placements of instruments on the stage, good decay, neutral balance.
As an incremental purchaser, I am leaning towards a quality preamp as my biggest improvement instead of completing my system as per RH's wonderful book. However, I am clearly unsure. Will $1-2k in power cords, cables, conditioners, etc. get me clearer view of the music than an acual preamp? Can a sub $2 preamp best my receiver? Am I wrong for persuing separates (I like the upgrading versatility as I am far from done bettering my listening experience)? Auditioning, for me, would be day-long trips to dealers with this kind of gear so I need a plan. What do you think? Can you rank them from 'get/replace' down to 'wait'? How am I doing from a system building stand point?
Many Thanks. First time poster, Long time reader,