Speakers or amp; which upgrade should come first in this system?

A little advice from you guys please. I used to be happy with the set up I had, which consisted of Micromega CD player, Micromega A60 amplifier, Project Debut Mk3 turntable, Canton LE207 floorstanders and Chord cables. This was all linked into a moderate surround-sound set up for my DVDs including Monitor Audio Radius rears and centre, Tannoy TS8 subwoofer and LG plasma screen.

Unfortunately, I have lost all this since myself and my ex split and she stole it all and sold it. I am going through a court case to get reimbursement for all of this and was wondering what ideas you had to get a decent level of performance.

Currently, I have an old Arcam Alpha 2 amplifier, Marantz CD52 Mk2 CD player, an old Hitachi HT-12 turntable and Eltax Liberty 5+ speakers. I know that this lot is not very good in terms of true hi-fi, but for the price I picked it all up for on e-bay (around £100) it sounds a lot better than any midi system from supermarket or catalogue. 

The first thing I shall be replacing is the turntable. I was intrigued by a pre-owned Inspire i2. Do you think this is a reasonable turntable for the money, or would I be better off spending the extra £200 or so and getting something like the Project RPM5 Alpha? My main collection is on vinyl, so I want something great rather than adequate.

I will probably keep the CD player. The next upgrade would be the ‘speakers and I am looking at something from the Focal JM Lab range of floorstanders. The only other problem I am having is deciding on the upgrade path for the amplifier, so any ideas would be very much appreciated.

The Inspire i2 would be a fine choice, as it carries a Rega arm and this ensures good basic sound quality, supported by an excellent turntable. For budget floorstanders consider Q Acoustics 2050 floorstanders, which have a bafflingly low price. Just ignore this as they are highly developed and unusually advanced for the breed. The only caveat is that they are accurate rather than characterful, having less sound of their own than most, which some may find a bit too neutral. Don’t forget KEF and B&W, both of whom make fine floorstanders, and Monitor Audio RX6 and 8s are worth auditioning too. Focals are fine, but quite expensive and offer a fast, clean but unforgiving sound, not quite to everyone’s taste. Do listen first and make sure they are well run in. How about Vandersteen Model One speakers newly introduced into the UK? The really deserve an audition.

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