Which upgrade next for my system? Q Acoustics Concept 20 or Audiolab Power Amp
Due to the poorly researched purchase of some (low sensitivity) AKG Q701 headphones, I was left with a justification to purchase something decent to drive them. I killed two birds with one stone by purchasing an Audiolab M-DAC.
It's turned out to be a really exciting combination, open and detailed. However, now my bookshelf speaker/amplifier combo sound poor, almost wooly by comparisson.
The relevant device chain is currently as follows:
M-DAC ---> Musical Fidelity X-10v3 ---> Muscial Fidelity A3 Dual Mono Integrated Amplifier ---> Quad 11L (originals)
I'm thinking of spending anywhere up to £700, but would like to maximize SQ upgrade for my buck. My sources can all be routed in via my DAC, so a power amp is very much an option now.
Would I be better off...
1) Replacing my Quad 11L's for Q Acoustic Concept 20s @ £350
2) Replacing my MF A3 Amplifier with an Audiolab M-PWR, connected via XLR? <--- takes advantage of XLR outputs on M-DAC
3) Replacing my MF A3 Amplifier with an Audiolab 8200P, connected via phono cables? <--- This amp doesnt have XLR inputs
Also - the output from the M-DAC is so good (via my headphones) for various digital sources, I now wonder if the MF-X10v3 is merely injecting warmth/corruption into the signal chain. It could be easily removed and flea-bayed.
My dealer (who credit to him is offering me some relevant auditions) feels that upgrading electronics first in my scenario (read amplifier) would make sense, but everything I'm reading suggests leads with speakers - I'd also save a bit of money.
Any thoughts esteemed and, most importantly, independant forum people?