Adding a DAC to a cdp

I enjoy the stories of transport and dac combos that come real close to sound produced by high end turntables. With over 500 cds I am not about to go to vinyl or even another digital format at this point. I currently have a Rega Planet 2000 cdp - decent but I know not the final word in cd players. I understand that my Planet has a pretty decent DAC built in. I also think that one option I might consider is the addition of an outboard dac between my cd player and amplifier turning the Planet into a Transport. Have read wonderful things about Bel Canto, EVS, Audio Note and too many other great dacs and how they can enhance the cd based listening experience and that the technology is really jumping forward. From your expierience what would I hear if I took this approach.
I'm using a Rega 2k as a transport with an MSB Gold Dac and there is a significant improvement in terms of soundstage, clarity, bass, etc. This is confirmed every now and then when I a/b the Rega vs Rega+MSB. That said there is a disparity in cost between the two and the Rega on its own isn't bad but overall everything is just better with the MSB in the mix.
Before buying, you might want to think about selling the Rega and buying a better one box player instead of the DAC. The new dac and digital cable could easily cost $500-$1500 for the models you mentioned (used or new). It's worth considering that option.

If I were you I would highly recommend checking into a modded CDP or universal player for the same price you're willing to spend. That would definitely get you the best sound for your money, but not everyone is comfortable with mods.

"your mileage may vary" depending on the rest of your system. What amp/pre-amp, speakers are you using? If your system is not a high resolution system and if you do not sit down in the sweet spot and critically listen, it may be difficult to appreciate the difference.

That said, I do have significant $ in my digital front end (Resolution Audio Opus21 CD player-$3500 list) and it was worth it for me. My system is highly resolving and I do sit in the sweet spot and do a lot of critical listening.

If I were in the market to perform a DAC experiment today (BTW, I have owned many different external DACs) I would buy a dACK! from Chris Own or the Scott Nixon TubeDac. Both are very reasonable at less than $400 new and both get nearly universal praise from those who have actually heard them. For more information about these two DACs, check out the forums ar and

I might even buy a dACK! myself, just as an experiment. It is battery powered and comes with a charger. All indications are that is is world class, but at a real world price.


Just to second what the Cincinnati kid proposed, I highly praise my Nixon DAC. I got the $250 barebones version and have no complaints about it wutsoever other than its ugly. I think it definitely moves digital away from what is perceived as stereotypical digital sound.
I would side with Phild...factor in Dac,interconnects,etc...not to mention "jitter" issues...I would simply upgrade to a new single box prepared to spend more...alot even marginally surpass the REGA....that being said...BEL CANTO digital players sound amazing...
This post is very appropriate here.

I just recieved the AVA Omegastar dac. Its connected to a Rotel 955ax...for the moment. Just breaking it in but, right out of the box its resolving everything, back wall reflections in the studio, etc.! Pretty crazy. I think after its run in I'll just float away. So far I'm floored. What a far cry from the econo-dacs a few years back. My first was a dac-in-the-box (slow, veiled, dynamically challenged) follow by the venerable Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0 w/DTI Pro-32 fully modded by Dusty vawter. So far there is no comparison between the AA power duo and the Omegastar DAC. I'll just say so far it has the most natural, grainless presentation I've heard in my system. That incl. the most expensive Camelot dac, at 3 or 4 grand. This is insanely close to top vinyl.

The Bel Canto dac2 was on my shortlist but this AVA dac is something (4k) special at 1k...It recieved a Golden Ear Award from TAS, thats always good.