Which part do I upgrade?


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Aug 10, 2019
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Last year I upgraded my ancient system of Meridian 207, Kenwoood SE and mission 760 biwired. The Meridian went west and was beyond economical repair.

I went with a Marantz cd6003, Yamahs s500 and MA BX5 speakers. I have limited mobility and decreasing dexterity so rarely use the Rega deck or the CD player- I mostly use an Audiocom updated squeezebox player, FLAC files streamed wirelessly from a laptop. I've optimised the wireless network.

Whilst I'm not unduly disappointed with the sound quality, it's detailed and punchy, but a little 'bright'. I miss the 'warmth' and richness of the old system, I mainly used cd's with the old system and it was probably the Meridian that provided the quality..

Where should I point the money stick? A better DAC, amp or speakers to get a richer, warmer sound?

As I mentioned, it's difficult for me to get out and listen. The room is 23' x 13', carpeted, speakers 7" out and 7" in from the end wall, about 10' apart.

Your opinions and experience much appreciated, thanks.
Hi and welcome to the forum.

Although not heard the Yamaha or the new Marantz, I'd say that either the amp (going by reviews) or speakers will need changing.

The MAs can be a little on the lively side, a trait of most of their tweeter arrangement. The Yamaha, if the reviews are correct, bucks the trend of the older models, which are usually smooth.

If you look at amps then Arcam springs to mind, as does Exposure and older Yamahas. In speaker terms, look at Focal 706, Dynaudio DM 2/6 or if budget allows, PMC DB1is.

There's another alternative: Arcam Dac or CD17. But I would look at speakers or amp as an initial replacement.


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Mar 27, 2012
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Hi Nogsk,

I think your problem is with your Yamaha pairing with MA. Even though it is a good amp, Yamahas tend to sound lively and sometimes on a bright side. When you pair them with MA speakers that can be also harsh on treble, then you get the sound you hear now. I'd say if you got used to more analogue sound you should change Yamaha for one of the Rega amplifiers (as example), which are much smoother then Yamaha.

Also, if you listen to music via PC then it is absolutely critical for you to get a good DAC that would match your system well.


I'll offer a different opinion.

By FAR and away the most influential part of a system on the overall balance of a system is the speaker. Think about it, amplifier distortions are measured in hundereds or thousands of a %. A speaker, even a very good one will easily produce 1% and probably a lot more.

So, I would upgrade your speakers to one with a better tweeter.


Well, here's an update.

Tried the Arcam route, but it was to much in the other direction, far too soft for me, the midrange lacked punch and treble sounded clipped, on the positive side, bass was more pronounced and a wider soundstage.

Next step a Creek 5350 evolution at a bargainus price. Much better, more musical, less clinical than the Yamaha, but still retaining detail without the harsh top end.

Don't get me wrong, the yamaha is a tremendous anp, incredible value for money, and listening tastes are so subjective, but the Creek has the tonal qualities I was after, and works well with the bx5"s, though I m on the lookout for a set of proac 140 MK 2's, upgrading is a never ending journey!


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