MICHELL ENGINEERING: Electo amps, Pink Triangle Anniversary and more

My Stello DA100 DAC and ANT Cora 3T LTD arrived here several weeks ago and I’m very well pleased. I’ve also had exceptional help from Martin Logan in guiding me through the refurbishment of my Arius speakers, supplying new stators and condensers and constant emails back and forth. 

So now to my need for further advice. I’m happy with my front end: Pink Triangle Anniversary; Pink Triangle DC power supply; SME 309 and Lyra Argo i and the ANT has replaced my ageing Iso HR. 

I’d like to rewire the arm. The Stello is being used with my laptop as server which sounds just as good as CDs through my Theta Miles plus Stello, and of course has major functionality advantages. Goodbye CD player and discs! 

My amps are first edition Michell Alecto. I’m cabled for mono blocks bi-wired to the Arius’s and would prefer to keep it that way and spend the money on power as all my cables are in the high-end category, i.e. expensive. The amps are working well with no noticeable problems but I assume, fifteen years or so on, there are amps that can make a step-change improvement? 

My preamp is a Conrad Johnson 17LS, which replaced the Michell Argo. Its made a great improvement to sound stage and clarity. That was the first time I’d used valves and have no bias one way or the other as regards solid state or valves, my only reticence with the latter is sourcing the valves over here. 

However, and don’t take this as too fawning, but you guys know the market so I will rely on what you suggest and take the plunge. I’ve been reading this blog for years so have an idea what your reflections may suggest–I just need a push in the right direction.

My choice in music is thoroughly rock and it’s derivatives, electronic, ambient, reggae, new world.

This will be my last big purchase. My Alectos were about £1,800 so a minimum of £4,000 seems fair budget for an upgrade. I guess another £3,000 is to be expected for other upgrades. As you will have gathered from the love of my Martin Logans, not rock friendly I accept, but I love sound stage, both depth and width. However, if you feel I’m fooling myself please say so.

There are two obvious paths; first is to get your Alectos reconditioned. You can send them back to Michell for a service, after which you might be surprised how good they are. Indeed Michell themselves tell me that they're about to reintroduce them, but you won't get them for £1,800 any more! I really rate the Alecto, it's a classic and shouldn't be dismissed too quickly.

However, if you're set on a big upgrade and have the cash to back it up, I'd have no hesitation–given your tastes–to recommend the LFD NCSE Mk2 or a pre-owned Mk1. There's surely little that can compare at its price. Oodles of clean power, wonderful timbral accuracy and an unremittingly musical nature.