Could use some upgrade advice

I’m expecting a windfall and find myself in unfamiliar territory - namely, having a decent budget for the first time in ages (about £5000).

Current system:
Michell Orbe / Rb300 /Ortofon MC 25fl
Sugden Masterclass PA-4 phono stage
Rega Jupiter / Io CDP
Gato Dia-250 integrated amp
Impulse H2

Overall, I’m happy with what I have, so am not about to blow the whole budget if I don’t need to. But if there are meaningful improvements to be had…

My gut feeling is that the Orbe and phono stage will stay, and that a new arm and cartridge could be a good move.

The H2s are great, but have not met with universal approval on the aesthetic front. I could certainly keep them, though would be curious to know how much I’d need to spend to improve both sound and appearance. Quite a lot, I suspect.

Rega CDP is fine (I can’t get very excited about CDs).

The amp is also very good and seems to like the H2s, though if the latter end up staying I could happily mess about with amps again.

My eldest is 18, so I will soon be forking out funds for him to piss up the wall at Uni (assuming the idle bugger pulls his finger out and gets some revision done before his exams), so this is likely to be the last round of hifi spending for a while.

Or I could just spend the cash on meths and scratch cards. I dunno.

Is the arm/cartridge upgrade a good idea or would my money be better spent elsewhere?


If your better half, and the room, accept the H2’s; then you are a lucky, lucky man.

Elsewhise might look at @pmac and @BobC speakers as (unheard) guesses.
And the Hecos.

It’s all speaker/room, once you have an adequately low noise floor at the front end.

Best upgrade imo is to buy yourself some more records.

If you really want to spend your money on the system then I’d tend to look at speakers and cartridge first.

In your case if you’re going to keep your H2’s, and I suggest that you do if at all possible, then there are options to spend money on them cosmetically, isolation platforms, maintaining the drivers or upgrading the tweeter / crossovers.

If you didn’t fancy that then I’d treat yourself to a new cartridge- can’t go wrong with a nice new Hana SL :thumbsup:

Buying more records really will get me into bother - after years of thinning down the collection, it stands at about 8000.


A decent wet vac record cleaning machine is a worth while purchase. Saves on cartridge / record wear and improves playback

Do the other stuff then.

Good call. I have a KAB EV1 (basically a Nitty Gritty minus the motor) but it isn’t exactly a joy to use. Might look at alternatives.

If I come away with a cartridge and some tweaks to the H2s, I’ll have plenty of cash left to give to No. 1 son.

Suddenly, I am inspired to spend it :smile:

It did occur to me to blow the lot on some lovely shiny speakers.

The H2s work well in the room, but are not my better half’s favourites. She’s getting used to them though.

A second hand Loricraft or Monks would run around a grand. This one went off line:

You have a fair sized collection, even if £1k is a bridge too far, the Okki or VPI cleaning machines perform pretty well.

There appear to be limits on how much “getting used to” equates with harmony.
Particularly of the domestic kind,


They sound great, but Sonus Fabers they are not.

Do you think she would live with the H2’s if the alternative was having 12 months of trial and error with a new pair of speakers appearing every 2 months, with the conclusion that you’ve burned your way through the five grand and are less happy than when you started!

Start leaving pictures of big really fugly speakers lying around the house for her to find :slightly_smiling_face:


Sonus Fabers may be at the top of the furniture list.

Perhaps I’ve not listened far enough up the range to eliminate the cabinet and the crossover sounds.

I occasionally find myself with a laugh that that’s only described as “Muttley”

Audio Note Arm and an IO plus SUT.

Cartridge to a good cadenza, arm replacement or mod (starting with counterweight) and then the only choice is whether the rest goes on cables or a muffin.

You live with a much lower noise floor (spaniels exempted) than the rest of us.

Apologies, this was meant for @pmac. Though the wind and the weather can be noisy up there.

No need - I had teak Isobariks. I just need to make a passing reference to those. My wife hated them with a passion. On realising this, I bought a second pair and put them at the other end of the lounge (they were cheap). Since then, the only speakers that remain forbidden fruit are ESL57s…

1 Like

Now that SME have let the Saturday boy go bananas with the pricing gun, those AN arms look positively bargain basement. Is the Arm 1 much of a step down from the ones with fancier wiring?