If you’re happy enough with the sound of your current system, a recap/service should certainly improve it at that age. If you’re going to make any changes I would look at the preamp first. Instead of servicing the pre and Flatcap I would consider a 72, 82 or 52, or any of the later equivalent preamps, with a Hicap or whatever other power supply the preamp requires.
You don’t say what speakers you have. If these are a difficult load you might consider a power amp upgrade. A 250 is the obvious choice, but I would certainly upgrade the preamp first.
I’m not familiar with your DAC, but don’t underestimate the importance of a quality source that matches whatever amp you end up with.
This seems to be a well trodden path. I bought my 102/180 around 1996 and had them serviced for the first time a couple of years ago. The difference was amazing; you just don’t realise how the performance drifts off over the years; your ears are unable to detect the slow degradation. That got me thinking and I bought (and had serviced) an 82 and a HiCap. Another huge lift in quality compared to the 102. I’ve still got the 180 and wonder whether a 250 of some kind would improve things further but I’m very happy with the system as it is.
As usual, the more you spend the better the results will be. However from what you have said my next move would be an up to date serviced system of hicap/72/140. That will be a significant sound quality improvement imo.
Thanks ChrisSU. My speakers are Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G. There seems to be a considerable price difference between servicing the 102 and getting a 82 or 52 (72 does not have remote, so it is not for me). Which is why I have also considered SuperNait 3 path (more expensive, but perhaps a significant sound improvement, not sure). I agree with you on importance of the source. It is a very good source, in my opinion.
A good point re the remote, then the 82 is the next logical step up. The only thing is that with a 62 fed by a streamer I use the streamer volume control and leave the 62 at a preset level.
The sn3 would be a good replacement one box though. If you don’t need a phono stage I would look at a serviced sn2 to save cost.
Budget is flexible. Up to £2k approximtely. But the focus is on a tangible sound improvement. Not change or service the system for the sake of it. Obviously more money may give you more improvement, but that is not always the case. And there is a balance. I am still in doubt on whether SuperNait 3 or 250 path (second hand, ex demo) is a significant, tangible sound improvement over the other options, including an 102 to 82 upgrade.
In my own view I think the 102 is the weak link. I’ve had 42, 102, 82 and 52s. The 102 was much inferior to the others. Sold it and still have all the rest. An 82 is far superior although needs its NAPSC and a Hi Cap, or better still a supercap. With a supercap you’re then ready for 52 nirvana!
Somewhere along the line get a 250, even an old one.
Agreed, the 140 is quite classic and the 82 a good match. There are many well maintained 82’s out there and Olive Hi-Caps are a great upgrade, the 82 with 2 Hi-Caps is very good. I ran this set up for 15 very happy years!