Any DACs will improve my Rega Saturn?

Need your helps. Have you had experiences on using Bel Canto Dac3, Benchmark, or other Dacs to improve Rega Saturn's sonic ?
Another DAC will not improve your Saturn, it will give you the sound of another DAC (and that of the associated cables required to connect it) !

If you want to seriously improve the sonics of the Saturn itself however,
(from direct experience with my own Uber Clocked Saturn:, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Custom Analogue/Vacuum State electronics Terra Firma/Uber Clock.
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With due repect to your point, I think we all knew this.
I would like to hear some experinces from people who upgraded their CDs.
I like the VALAB DAC offered thru ebay. This unit in my system beats the Bel Canto DAC3 for sheer musicality. It is $200 delivered. You can read up on it on


I have heard VALAB in a few occasions that upsampling can produce better sound than the oversampling method in terms of high musicality, smoothness, no harsh, etc.. How about other areas such as detailed sound, mid range like female vocal, image and sound stage, and transparent compared to DAC3. I have read in many reviews that DAC3 excels in all these areas. I wonder how VALAB's NOS DAC sound like? which transport are you using ?
many thanks.

Try the Monarchy MN-24 tube DAC, you get a free preamp with it...but you don't have to use it (although it's pretty nice sometimes to have a little change)....around $1,000 new.

I own 2 Rega Saturns. Originally, I liked the first one in my speaker system so much that I bought a second one for my dedicated headphone system. Recently I completely changed my speaker based system from Thiel CS6/Classe CA400/CAT preamp to Harbeth SHL-5 speakers/McIntosh MC275/CAT preamp. After this change, I thought the Rega Saturn was no longer a great match for my system. Its hard to describe what I didn't like but I think wanted a better defined soundstage, better imagining and more air.

I bought the Benchmark DAC1 PRE a couple of months ago. I now use the Saturn as a transport for the DAC1 PRE. I think it is an improvement in my system over the Saturn by itself. My new system was already warm and musical and I don't need my CD source to be warm. So I my system, the Benchmark was just what I needed. Whether a dac will improve your system depends on what you are seeking. I wasn't sure that it would improve my system but I thought that buying the Benchmark was a no risk deal since I had 30 days to return it if it didn't work out. It worked out great for me.
Dear all, thank you for your opinions.

My system is also tube base, ASL Hurricanes, Hovland Pre, Nola Viper sig. The Saturn is lovely for the vocal music with smooth and warmth sound. But when play Jazz, or classical, I think it could be more air, detailed sound, larger and deeper sound stage, and more transparency.

My friend also has HL5 with tube based system similar to your, and he prefers Music Hall 25.5 to Musical fidelity A5 as the later CDP gave too much warmth and thick sound in his system.

I am glade you to hear you found a good synergy with out high risks. I live in Thailand and no such try and trial offered. Hence, Audiogon thread is very useful for me.

By the way did you connect Dac1 directly to your Mac power amp? Any sonic benefits compared to connecting to CAT pre?
Have you ever had a chance to try Bel Canto Dac3?

I have not tried the DAC1 Pre as a preamp. It would be interesting to compare it to my CAT preamp but I currently don't have balanced ICs. Never tried the Bel Canto Dac3 so I can't comment on it.