When I moved to Canada in 2011, I still had my Studio L890 JBL speakers for the fronts and my (then) brand new Oppo BDP-93 as a CD player. All through the Yamaha Z-11 (from Europe and therefore on a massive, and noisy, voltage converter). At that time, I thought the Z-11 was as much as I would ever spend on a piece of gear. Boy was I wrong...
It all changed when I went looking for a better CD player and visited Rob and Ron at Altronics Stereo 2000 in Toronto.
They turned me on to the Esoteric products and helped me with multiple upgrades - most importantly the front speakers from the JBL Studio L890 to the JBL LS80 and now the JBL 1400 Array. You can see a snapshot of an earlier incarnation in the last image. Still using the Z-11 but already upgraded the speakers and using mono blocks for the fronts.
In the meantime, I had gone for the Bryston SP3, replaced it with the Marantz 8802A while, at the same time, investing in better cables from the power cords to ICs and speaker cables.
The next big change was replacing the Bryston 9B-SST with the Earthquake Cinenova Grande 7 BR.
Blu-ray players have come and gone (Denon 4010 and most recently sold the Pioneer 88FD) and I've now settled on the Sony UBP-X800 as a universal solution.
Things have come full circle after I spotted the Esoteric K-01X as a trade-in at Altronics. Since this crazy ride had started with the quest for a better CD player, it's only fitting that my latest addition is (probably) the best and last CD player I'll ever buy.
At this stage, I am considering the Esoteric Stereo pre-amp (the C-03XS) and maybe an upgrade in mono blocks but I might just as well only do some tweaking with cables to see if I can achieve better synergy. But of course cables are tricky and there are a million options and opinions out there.
Speaking of opinions, please let me know what you like, what you don't like, and where you see potential for improvements and better synergies.
Please keep in mind that I have tried to treat the room as much as possible in an apartment. The ultimate goal is to buy a house and hopefully give the system more room to fully realize its potential.
For now, I've stepped up my headphone game with the Focal Utopia and the Bryston BHA-1.