Buy Montis or Keep ML reQuests & Buy Meitner MA-1?

I am looking to integrate computer audio playback via DAC to my system, which consists of the following:

- Arcam AVP 700 that serves as a preamplifier
- Mark Levinson ML-9 amplifier
- Transparent Musicwave speaker cable
- reQuest speakers

Coincidentally, I also have a Technics 1200 turntable, Samsung Bluray player, Roku video streaming device, and an ATT U-Verse HD cable linked up to my Panasonic plasma TV. You can view the system at this link:

As an educator with a modest salary, I am saving up funds to purchase a DAC and doing a fair amount of research and auditioning of various gear, including the Mytek 192 DSD DAC and the Bel Canto 1.5 DAC. I plan on auditioning the Ayre QB-9 DAC soon, as well.

Recently, I became very impressed with reviews of the Meitner MA-1 DAC and wanted to audition one. actually contacted their VP of marketing, who pointed me to a dealer in Chicago. He was very polite, but unfortunately, he said he would did not keep one in stock and would not get one until I was actually able to purchase one. There are no other Meitner authorized dealers within reasonable driving distance. The VP encouraged me to save up and give them a call when I'm ready.

Looking for advice, I contacted a good friend of mine who is a rep for Martin Logan and dealer of other gear in his shop in Costa Rica (he doesn't sell to the mainland U.S.). His response is below:

Hola, Juan. Dacs are like computers. They are out of date every 3 months or so. Putting a lot of money on a DAC, it is not a right thing to do. Why don´t you change your speakers instead? You should give it a try. The newer panel is much better, dynamics and detail is something that you must listen too. If you are going to spend $ 7000.00 on a DAC, sell your speakers and get a pair of Montis! Yes, I know that they are not that big as yours but read what I have for you. With the new Montis, you will re-discover all the music that you have!!! Request is a great speaker, and I know how you love them...but that is old technology. The Montis panel is the same size as the Summits. I know that you will be in heaven with the Montis model...

Wow. I am torn. I would really like to get a higher end DAC, and I'm willing to save several years to get $5,000 to $7,000 or so to get that sound and get my system in place. I am also aware that at that price range, the Playback DAc and the Lumin Media Player are available.

Also, I'm not so sure I'm willing to part with my reQuests, but his response has me thinking. Maybe I should sell them and go with a less expensive DAC. However, my inclination is to keep them and either get something like the Ayre QB-9 or Lumin's new D-100 ($2,000 price range) and/or keep saving and maybe get the MA-1, Playback or the flagship Lumin Media Player. Your thoughts?
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Don't buy anything! That's what I'd tell you if you were my customer. Before spending $7k on anything you need to get your setup right. At the very least move your speakers away from the back wall and get rid of your speaker cables, the improvement there might be enough for now.
Thanks for the input, DKarmeli. The speakers are now further away from the wall than in the first set of photos. They are now in the larger front room, as seen in the latter photos.

Just curious, though: What's wrong with my speaker cables? They cost $550 used. What would you recommend that I use to replace them?

The system actually sounds pretty good. Although I use the Blue Ray DVD player to play my CDs, I use it as a transport via Toslink to the Arcam AVP700. The result is that the improvement in sound when I play ripped CDs via my laptop through an external DAC (like the Mytek and the Bel Canto 1.5) versus via the Blue Ray DVD player is slight or marginal at best. And HD movies played via Toslink to the AVP sound terrific. Guess the internal DAC in the AVP700 is pretty good!

That said, I would like to be able to use a computer for audio playback of burned CDs and high res files.

Either way, I'm still early in the savings process, so realistically, it will be several years before I am able to buy a high end external DAC or music server player like the Lumin. Your thoughts?
I just checked out the following link:

Maybe I'm biased, but my Transparent cables appeared to be an improvement over the old "Monster" cables I used with my old Martin Logan Sequels.

Your thoughts?

Have a blessed Monday!

I'm a dealer and prefer not to make recommendations on open forums. Regarding your Transparent cables, they sound small, hifi, lack body and are dark. PM me and I'll make some recommendations, none of which that we stock.
Hi Dkarmeli,

I sent you a PM a few minutes ago. Thanks!
Your friend is right that digital is evolving rapidly so there is the possibility that you will regret not having waited a little longer to buy a Dac. I would not hurry to spend $7,000 on one without having heard it.

There is not a huge catalog of hi-res downloads available yet so I don't think there's a hurry to get a server system set up.

There's an audio show in Chicago, isn't there? If so I'd attend it and get a listen to the Martin Logans and various Dac options before doing any buying.
Take a look at The Hub and my review of AXPONA 2014.


Keep the ReQuest Speakers. They are really nice. If you need new panels, get them. Stick with your original premis. Get computer digital audio and a decent DAC. Establish a price range and potential system for the digital audio system and DAC and go demo some and make a decision. I really don't like it when someone says they want something and store salesmen try to sell them something altogether different. There are many posts on Audiogon about computer audio or music servers and quite decent DACS for the money. You stated your path, stick with it. The ML Request are really nice speakers. If you are happy with your cables, keep them and get the computer digital audio and DAC thing going.

Thahks, Minorl! I appreciate your feedback.
My two cents:

Most of us don't have the recreational cash to build our dream systems
right outta the gate. I've been at this for close to 20 years, and I'm still
updating and upgrading. That's part of the fun. Over time you'll find some
components that'll stay with you while others will not. My dCS
Purcell/Delius stack was a great performer for me over the last 4 - 5 years,
but now it's time to upgrade. So, I'll sell that stack to finance my pre-owned
MA-1. Keep this in mind, we all have varying opinions. Use the grocery
store approach. Take what you can use, and leave the rest on the shelf.
Yes, your speakers should be set up properly. That, however, does not
mean you need to get rid of your cables. In fact, what I like about
Transparent cables is that you can move up the chain. I useTransparent
cables, and they're the best in my system. This is one of those brands that
is staying. I am not a dealer, I don't have any allegiances to any dealers,
and I purchase most of my equipment used. I did buy my speakers and
cabling from a dealer, however. I have nothing to gain or lose by offering
you advice - no ulterior motives. Not saying that anyone else does, but I'd
just like you to know.

By the way, I'm running a media server/Dac set-up, and it is awesome.
Thanks for all the feedback, guys. On the advice of a friend, I sold the Martin Logan reQuests and bought a used pair of Von Schweikert VR-5 HSE speakers, which sound more natural and pleasant, altogether lacking the harsh edge that the reQuests tended to impose on vocals. I also pulled the Transparent cables -- for now, anyways -- and substituted a pair of homebuilt White Lightning Moonshine DIY speaker cables from the 6Moons Audio Reviews site. I combined two pairs to make biwire cables, and I like the more open sound! I kid you not -- and my wife really likes these over the Transparent cables! She says that she can hear movie dialog more clearly with them, which makes sense; the Transparent cables tended to smooth out the highs and lows, whereas the White Lightning cables make for a more straight forward, unfiltered presentation.

Currently, I'm looking to get an REL T-9 subwoofer, which I've already auditioned, to add a little extra low end (the Von Schweikert speakers don't have the low end that the reQuests had, but with the sub, they are transcendent!). Then, at last, I plan on saving up again for the DAC.


So glad you're really enjoying your system. :)