Bear with me: I'm ignorant about so much. I've only recently discovered this forum and like it very much, as there seems to be a nice combination here of deep knowledge about audio equipment and people who are friendly and not condescending to people like me who are interested but still learning. So, I venture to ask a question that I suspect will show off my ignorance. Some quick background: I started a thread here a couple of weeks ago (my first; I happened across the Steve Hoffman forums by chance). At that time, I wanted to get a better turntable. I had about $1,000 to spend so I asked for recommendations in that price range. If I knew how, I'd add a link here to that thread. It was entitled "Best turntable under $1,000". Long story short--that discussion ended up leading me in an entirely different direction. I ended up spending my $1,000 on a pair of KEF LS50 speakers instead of getting a turntable. I'm very happy with this decision. I wanted a better turntable, though, because I had finally become fed up after years of fighting with an aging Technics amplifier that would drop a channel all the time if you breathed on it and had knobs that made horrible scratchy sounds when you touched any of them. It sounded fine if you could fiddle it so that it was turned to a decent volume level and both channels were there. I did some research and settled on the Outlaw Audio RR2160 integrated amplifier as a replacement. Having upgraded the amplifier, the TT suddenly felt old and the biggest impediment to better sound in my system, hence my initial question and thread here. So, the system as it stands now: when I listen to vinyl (mostly classical) I'm still using my old TT, which I did NOT replace, having bought the speakers instead. It's a Technics SL-J2, a direct-drive TT with a p-mount cartridge purchased going on 30 years ago when I lived in Japan. I know this isn't the greatest, but I bought the speakers rather than a better TT because forum people here convinced me the TT wasn't necessarily as bad as I thought it was if I replaced the cartridge with something better and that getting better speakers was a more cost-effective way to improve my sound on my limited budget. Yesterday, I auditioned a Grado Green cartridge at my local audio shop on the existing turntable, which I took down there. I decided I liked the sound and it is clearly much better than what was on the machine. This goes through the new Outlaw RR2160 and the KEF LS50s. Still with me? OK. So, that's vinyl. When I play CDs, I’m using an old Pioneer CD player (a Pioneer PD HS-7, which I believe was a Japan-only model; I was still in Japan at the time of purchase). My question now is this: given the age of this CD player, is it likely that a more modern player at even a fairly modest price is likely to be significantly better in sound quality? In other words, what I’m wondering is, is the CD player now the weak link in my chain? Actually, it sounds pretty good to me through the new amplifier and speakers. This was not an especially cheap machine. It was about $1,000 when I bought it 25 to 30 years ago. But people tell me technology has changed so much in the last 30 years that almost ANY modern CD player is likely to sound better. Is that really true? I'm skeptical. The new Outlaw amp is connected with an optical cable—bypassing the DAC in my CD player when I’m using that and using the DAC in the amplifier, or so I'm told, which means that I'm using my old CD player as a transport only? If that's the case, is it worth spending another $1,000–$1,500 or so (which again is about what I can muster) to buy a better CD player? Some people suggest that I should be considering a stand-alone external DAC instead, given my situation? I actually really like the sound of the set-up now. It's already so much better than it was. I'm really only interested in investing further at the moment if chances are good that there would be a significantly better sound to be gained. I've seen good reviews of CD players from Marantz and Oppo about in the price range I have in mind, but, again, am I likely to hear a big difference? I AM interested in improving the experience further, but money is a restraint. Finally, I have had the privilege of subscribing to the San Francisco Symphony for the past nine years. I know what a great live performance is supposed to sound like. I want that in my living room. I'm now much closer to that than I was a few weeks ago. Can I approach it further given the above scenario? Thanks for any thoughts.