SUGDEN: Their separates – brilliant, or just misplaced nostalgia?

Hello. I am wondering if other people can relate to something I have experienced lately and perhaps help me better understand it. For about a year now, I have been restlessly moving from amp to amp (always somehow satisfied, never fully so) until I finally settled about three months ago on an ex-demo pair of Rega Exon 3 power amps and a Rega Cursa 3 preamp to complement a Rega Apollo cd player and Rega P3-24 turntable feeding a much-loved pair of Ascend Sierra-1 speakers.

I was (and am, to a point) very satisfied with my system overall. The music is beautiful, spacious, the bass is abundant and rhythmic, the midrange is lush - but the treble has always been a tad timid, recessed, distant, unexciting. It's something I've learned to live with, otherwise appreciating the many other qualities of my system. It's just that sometimes, on certain material, I find myself a bit unexcited by the music playing, even albums I know I love listening to. Sometimes makes me want to turn the system off and do something else. Considering Rega's rather warm house sound and the known issue with the non-NRT Sierra tweeters, I wasn't overly surprised and lived with the sound quite happily when I DID feel like listening to some tunes.

Whatever, right, one shortcoming isn't the end of the world for a system in my price range.  But it got me wondering if I even liked music nowadays quite like I did in my youth. Did I still have that fervent NEED for the blood-rush only booze, sex and music could provide? Maybe my once mad and blind pursuit for ever better Hi-Fi had finally brought my journey to a very sad end…  After all, my father once cared a great deal about his stereo. He is all too perfectly happy now listening to YouTube videos from his iPhone, on the rare occasion he listens to music at all.

All of this to bring me to my splendid discovery: a few days ago, by chance, perusing my local Kijiji, I notice an ad for a mid-to-late 90s pre-power Sugden combo, an AU-41 preamp and AU-31 power amp, for - could it be?! - 100 CAD.  Problems? One: blown fuse in the power amp. Great physical condition and everything else was said to work great. Regularly maintained at the dealer. INSANE, thought I, for a Sugden...

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