HiFi Priorities - What Next, MC or Speakers?

Hi All,

I’ve been seriously contemplating a couple upgrade paths but I can only afford/justify one and I’m stuck on a decision. It’s a classic: source or speakers.

I’ve had my heart set on the speaker path for some time, but I would really like to find something used and the opportunity hasn’t presented itself. I think my Focal 726’s are decent but a weak spot in my system. Ideally some PMC twenty5.23/5.24, Proac DT8’s or Focal Aria 926’s.

Another path I intend to follow at some time is a shift to Moving Coil. I’m happy with my Rega Planner 6 for the time being and I think it’s well balanced in my system. Recently, I came across the good deal on a Rega Ania Pro and it’s got me thinking about prioritizing this route. I would also buy with a StageLine S (also a good deal right now) or a Rega Fono MC (regular MSRP).

So in summary, there’s my stuck point:

  1. Grab the deal on a Rega Aria Pro & Naim StageLine S
  2. Grab the deal on a Rega Aria Pro & buy a Rega Fono MC for full price (works about to approximately the same price as the Ania + StageLine)
  3. Hold off on the move to MC and keep looking for new speakers

Any of your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Should I seize the moment or be patient?



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Going down the MC route will only benefit your Vinyl but going down the speaker route would benefit everything. Obvious really.

I would say neither. Look at upgrading from your Naim Nait XS2.


How much vinyl have you got? I only have around 300 pieces, as much as I love it, is it worth spending circa £5/album for an upgrade? I concentrate more on my digital side now.

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Thanks, this is an interesting opinion. I didn’t identify the XS2 as a weak link. Now you have me thinking…I’ve looked at some used SuperNait 2’s that could have fit the budget.

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For me, given that of all system components speakers have the greatest effect on the character of the sound you hear, getting them as good as I can, to sound really good with all music I play, comes before improving source as long as the source is reasonable. Others prefer to focus on source.

If you also have other sources, improving the speakers will also improve how they sound.

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I’ve got around 400 records and the collection and it’s growing. My preferred source is vinyl but at least half my listening is digital (local FLAC, Tidal, iTunes, Amazon) via a Bluesound Node fed into a Naim nDAC.

It’s a good point, a speaker upgrade (or amp) would have a universal impact to my system.

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Another option would be to stick with MM and sell the P6 without the cart and use the upgrade fund to get a P8.

If you do go MC the Ania pro is significantly better than the stock Ania that came with the P6 - the micro line stylus really earns its keep… I’m not sure the arm on the 6 is up to an Apheta…

The biggest bang for buck in my vinyl playback though was swapping the Stageline S for An Aria. even the Rega phono MC sounded much better with the Rega carts than my stage line which was always disappointing. I suspect it’s the impedence mismatch…


You can always spread the load. Audition and select a new pair of speakers and if there is anything left over, get a high end MM cartridge instead. It’s not like the only big jump is to MC. You can just do a better MM.

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@KiwiMarra has the best idea. If vinyl is your main source, I’d see if you can use the funds plus your deck for a used RP8 or P8.

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Thanks for the thoughts. As sexy as the P8 is, I think I’ll be sticking with the P6 for a while longer but I’ve also been thinking about the phono stage. You’re not the first one that’s suggested I give up on the StageLine and try an Aria or Fono. The Aria is outside my budget and I think not balanced with my system, but I’m going to send my dealer an email to see if I can demo a Rega Fono MM.

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Out of curiosity, what might you suggest for a MM cartridge? I have an Rega Exact II right now with relatively low hours.

First, I am not an expert here but having recently discussed this with my dealer, who I also used to work for and trust completely, cartridges that are known to really shine with the Stageline N are from Sumiko, AutoTechnica and even high output MC Dynavector. Ortofon MM is not such a great pairing.

They all have MM or high output MC in price brackets above the Rega Exact II. I have a softspot for Sumiko and would probably look at something like the Amethyst MM or Bluepoint No.3 high output MC.

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I have an RP6 and P3.

I had Exact 2 in both, on the RP6 this went via a Rega Aria into a SN3 / HCDR. Arguably the Aria was overkill in this setting and I tried the inbuilt MM stage on the SN3 and can confirm it’s very good.

However recently I changed the RP6 to an Ania and the change was transformative, it’s absolutely stunning.

Given the change I then put an AT 540 ML on the P3, and it’s a much more detailed presentation than the Exact 2.

I know it flies in the face of accepted hierarchy but can see myself buying the Rega MC phono and another Ania for the P3 in the second system at some point, difference on the RP6 was vast.

Before the SN3 I had an XS2 and the HCDR, was very happy with this for some time.

Good luck with your decision.


Thanks Adam. Your experience with the Ania and AT cartridges are interesting. I have an oppertunity to pick up an Ania Pro for almost the same price as an Ania right now which is what really got me thinking about it.

I’ve read good things about the AT cartridges and their synergies with the Naim StageLine. I’ve thrown around the idea of trying a VM750SH which has also received very good reviews

I had to use spacers on the arm of the P3 to accommodate at AT cart, and then uses some black rubber dots to keep the lid from touching the tone arm.

Just mention if convenience is a key criteria, with the Rega it’s all simple as.

The At 540 ml gives a more detailed and spatial presentation than the Exact, it is quite different from what you will be used to, in that the Exact keeps things more restricted, focusing more on rhythm.

The Ania, is just different league, genuinely spellbinding and guaranteed to put that stupid satisfied grin on your face as it presents music with all its flow and impact.


The Ania Pro is a great cart - my P6 came stock with the Ania and it sounded fantastic versus the Linn Adikt on my previous TT - I ended up with an Apheta but the pro Ania was very very close to the Apheta 3 - if you can get one at a good price I would highly recommend it…

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Some thoughts to share from my own journey…

Ania is good. Definite step up from Exact.
Ania Pro is better.

I would say Rega Fono MC and StageLine are about on on a par. But preferred the presentation from the Fono MC. It’s a great phono stage at the price point.

However, Rega Aria is far better than both. The extra cost is really worth it. I bought mine ex-demo to fit my budget. Also, pre-loved might be an option too.

Maybe ask your dealer to let you try all these combinations and decide for yourself.

Good luck with your journey
Do share how you get on.



Matt…Option 2, Ania Pro and Fono MC.

In a vinyl system, upping the front end will always pay dividends. No amount of amp or speaker upgrade can reproduce the information that isn’t there.


Whilst I would agree, is it cost effective? My local dealer when discussing vinyl upgrades asked my how many albums i have, when I replied 300, his reply it isn’t worth it.

I was thinking of a newer MM cartridge, currently my system is a Pink Triangle/RB300 (upgraded) arm and a Rega Elys 2 cartridge. The Rega cartridge is now discontinued, so it will get an upgrade when it breaks. Probably a Goldring 1042, since I can get a replacement stylus for it.

I have a March DAC1 working as a Roon endpoint for my digital pleasures.

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Similarly no amount of increased information from the front-end will reach the listener intact if the speakers (or anything else) muddle or blur it - any chain is only as strong as only its weakest link. More significantly the source won’t sort out the character if the character of sound from the speakers in use isn’t fully satisfying to the OP, and for whatever reason he seems to feel they’re not ideal.

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