Al you’re sounding dangerously at risk of being happy with your system...
I know, Graham, that is a not very audiophile place to be in
. Seriously, I am very happy with my system!
Sure, nothing is ever perfect, but I think for this room (and there is little chance that I'll ever move) I have settled on my ideal speakers, ideal preamp/amp combo, ideal cables. I don't intend to upgrade anymore on those fronts which, I guess, makes me a boring audiophile from now on...
There is really not much else where my upgrade appetite would lead me. A "better" DAC would be the most obvious thing for a future upgrade move, but the digital front-end with the Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC, lifting far
above its low price, is already stunningly good in tone and resolution (separation of instruments, micro-detail on timbre of instruments, transient performance); I guess few have heard what the DAC really can do. Thus, at this point I am entirely happy with the system performance. Which is good, since I am out of money and nothing is worse than having serious cravings that you can't pay for
The biggest bug bear for me also in system performance isn’t so much immediately a sonic one but rather a musical one. If there was a kind of music that I was heavily invested in that my system just couldn’t quite play as well as I would wish for that would be a killer.
Correct. I made a conscious choice: For a price that I could afford, I wanted to have a speaker system that on chamber and smaller ensemble music (up to 15 to 20 players) was superb in quality, and would give me the intimate kind of presentation that I like. It had to be good enough on large-scale music. The latter was sufficient for me to being able to enjoy all music, but with my natural focus more on smaller scale music. I did not want to compromise on smaller scale music in exchange for having, for the money invested, a somewhat better orchestral performance.
Now, with all the upstream signal enhancements and the improvements to the room acoustics, I have a speaker system that is superb on chamber and smaller ensemble music, and not just good enough, but actually great on large-scale music. Much more than I had aimed for!
Knowing how much you love classical music getting to the point where your system is great at all the scales of performance required by this music, to play both big and play small is just a truly brilliant thing. It’s a bit like scaling a mountain peak.
Musical adeptness is really the final review and it’s great when all the hard work pays off.
It took a good amount of work, the influence of great audiophile friends, and some plain luck.