Advice please for upgrade.

I asked for opinions almost a year ago on a good $2k upgrade for my system and was rewarded with great advice from all of you. It worked out so well, in fact, that I'm hoping for some more advice. I'm currently searching for another upgrade for about $2k that would make the most difference. The advice you guys gave last time was to concentrate on 3 areas:
1. Source
2. Room Acoustics
3. Preamp
I took advice #2 and #3 and am glad I did. I added a tubed preamp and my room was also somewhat tuned through acoustic absorption and diffusion panels. My question is: where should I go next for the most cost effective upgrade. My thoughts are:

1. Source- either a dac to use in conjunction with my current digital source, a Sony DVP-7700, which I've read works well as a transport, or a stand alone unit for CD playback only (I'd continue to use my current unit for DVD playback). I have no idea which dac to use but, through reading forums here, I'm thinking a Bel Canto, Audio Note or MF and possibly an Audio Aero, Shanling, Jolida or Sony DC-1 for a single unit.
2. Upgrade my speakers from Magnepan 2.7s to 3.6s.
3. Upgrade my SS amp.

My current system is a VTL 2.5 tubed preamp, Aragon 4004 MKII ss amp, Magnepan 2.7 speakers with a Kinergistics subwoofer and a Sony DVP-7700 source. I'm open to any other suggestions as well. Thanks
I'm using Sony S7700 as a transport with the Bel Canto DAC2. Sounds very nice. I tried various DVD players with this dac and found the 7700 to be really good. Modifications can be done to 7700 to improve it further as a transport, although I haven't modded mine yet. Using stock 7700 with the Bel Canto DAC2, this combo is smooth, full sounding with very solid bottom end and nice mids. I would not hesitate to recommend this dac. Especially when it will be used with S7700. I think you will like it. You may try it first - order DAC2 from Audio Advisor and listen to it in your own system. They have 30 days policy. Good luck.
your maggie 2.7/ribbons are very, very good....

would suggest looking at:

stands for maggies
preamp upgrade (arc or bat or vtl 5.5 or cary 98)
source upgrade or dac (electro dac or audio aero)
cables (ic,speaker, and power)

if you are considering amp.. classe or pse mono v's (ask magnapan about pse) work well with maggies

have fun !!!
sub upgrade- rel or james
I would definitely consider a source upgrade. Preferably a Dac.
I'm sure you'll get suggestions for a ton of mainstream Dacs. I'll suggest the Audio Sector Dac or some other NON OS DAC. It took me a couple of years to get the nerve to try one.Now I feel silly for not doing it yrs back. Much better digital playback than anything I've previously spent time with.This includes the stand alone Sony DVP-7700.Which sounds 2 dimensional and etchy in comparison.

Source would be number one on my list.
Empirical Audio has and upgrade, that will turn the sony to a monster transport, Perpetuial technology has small Dac PA 3, which he also upgrade, that is a great front end that will out perform any $5k system.

You reccommended the Electro DAC. Is this Electrocompionet? Also, I think you helped me last time I upgraded with your good advice - I appreciate your help.


Where did you get your Audio Sector DAC? The NON OS type dacs seem to be what I'm looking for - more natural and 3 dimensional.

Thanks for your responses.
Hi Noble100,
You can buy the Audio Sector Dac from Peter Daniels. Here's his site Audio Sector. Also you have the Scott Nixon Dacs.There's also the Audio Mirror Dac.

I would lean towards Audio Sector between it and the standard SN Dac.Not because of bias of owning it but because the AS Dac has a 48 volt transformer built into it. Instead of a standard 12 volt plug in transformer.This does make a difference in the music. Better presences,dynamic contrast, bass, etc.

You can buy a commercial version of this unit for around $1000 if you feel that spending more on the same internal parts will give you pride of ownership.LOL

But if your like me and want the performance without shelling extra out for cosmetics. Then the AS Dac without the standard chassis is a great way to go. This Dac won't be embarrased by anything out there. I feel it's the best audio purchase I've ever made bar none.
When you go the transport to DAC separates route, strongly recommend you audition the Auricle Audio Encore Signature Digital IC for a superior low jitter/highly musical connection.
The revelation of performance inherent in my no longer manufactured EVS Millennium II DAC quite astonishing. Discovered that many CD's previously thought to be mediocre now sound beautiful when the digital IC changed for the tenth (? and, final) time. Same sense of discovery when connecting to my antique Scott Nixon Anodyne tube DAC so I think not just a "lucky" synergy with one DAC design.
I never realized how crucial to system optimization is this single wire between transport and DAC.
Listener57 what length is your cable and is there a web site for this company? I've been trying to find it without much luck.

Make an offer on teh Dodson 217 MK II-D DAC that is for sale right now. You should be able to get it for less than 2K. It makes great music.

They don't have a website. There is a cable on auction right now. There is an email address for the contact and I think a phone number. I won a pair on auction and when I called the owner he agreed to let me try a few others. I am eagerly anticipating hearing these cables. The cost of entry is quite low at the moment but if what I hear about the cables is true, they may not be at these prices very long.
Ditto to what Pardales said. I own the same make and model unit and am EXTREMELY pleased with it. In fact, I bought it from a fellow Audiogon member. This is a great unit! Golly.
Thanks Tony..I had a feeling there wasn't a site.Just wanted to make sure.I don't do a lot of cable swapping.But please let me now how they workout with you. I forgot to mention Noble100 the AS Dac comes with a lifetime warranty and has a satisfaction guarantee. If it isn't up to par you can send it back for a refund.Send it back...LOL..not hardly! You could take the money you saved and do another upgrade or experiment.

Thanks again Tony
Well, I think I'll try the Audio Spector, Dodson, Audio Auricle or possibly a 47 Labs or Scott Nixon. My system sounds very healthy now but I think I'm after a more 'present' and three dimensional sound and believe I'm on the right track, thanks to all of your thoughts. I'll let you guys know what I discover. Thanks for the feedback! Good listening and have fun.
One of the things I like about the Dodson is the spaciousness and layers of sound that it delivers.