Add a DAC vs. Upgrade CDP

There are two other current threads that address this general issue without looking at it from this angle.

Right or wrong (there's alot of debate on this in one of the other threads), I am going to accept the position that a nice DAC will cure - or at least minimize - the weakness of my CDP (a Denon CDR-W1500) in my system.

I'm looking for a used SS DAC made within the last 5 years in the $500-$750 range. I'll then upgrade it every 6 months or so to a DAC $500-$750 more expensive.

In your position I'd bypass the first purchase. Wait 'til you've put aside $1000 and get a Benchmark DAC.
A good used DAC is what you should be shooting for in the $1000, I prefer the older Audio Logic tube DACs. Next the digital cable will be more important then your transport IMHO.

Happy Listening.
Audio Note DAC 1 and 2 are excellent used values and sound very good. The DAC 1.x sells used for around 800, typically. The earlier DAC 1 and DAC 1 Signature, both fine units, sell for 500 to 700 used. I've used one with a Marantz CD63 II, Vecteur L 4.2, Cal Audio Delta, and the current Sony DVP-S7700 and all sounded better with the Audio Note DAC than with their internal DACs utilized.