CD playback - 1 box or 2

If the group is ready for another “CD Player or Separates” question (I’ve read all the old ones that are still on-line), here goes… I had planned to spend one grand to buy a CD player. I started to listen to budget/mid items like Arcam Alpha’s through 8SE, Rotel’s through 991…. They were mostly a nice improvement over what I’ve been using, but they really didn’t excite me much. (I’d especially like to hear more of the weight and resonance of the human voice.) (I’m running through Linn Majik to Linn Sekrit speakers.) ….. So now, I think I might have to look at the next level of players and perhaps think Used. Now, maybe I’m looking for an Alpha 9, or a Linn Genki, or Meridian 506, or something in that neighborhood. ….. In that used-equipment price range, a combination of a DAC like one of the MSBs or a Muse 2 and an inexpensive but well-regarded player used as a transport also seems affordable. It defies reason to think that a two-box solution at this price range would measure up to the performance of a good one-box. But, what do you think? Should I be considering two-box options as well?
duh, no.
If your current CD Player has a digital out, keep it and get a DAC upgrade. More bang for your buck. If not, then get a better one box unit.
I agree in part with the above. If your current player has a digital output and could be used as a decent transport, get a used dac. If no, then get a good all in one player, with a digital output for future upgrades. While digital separates can yield much better sound over all in one players, there are more variables being introduced. Many cd players, and some cd transports have high jitter outputs. Going to separates also means you have to consider the above plus the cost of a digital cable and maybe even a jitter reduction device and another digital cable. If you like to tinker with all of this then go for it. Something like a Marantz cd63 as a transport with a used jitterbug, and a good used dac with apogee digital cables will probably sound as good as any $1,000 cd player. If you want try a used, forgiving dac, try Micromega. However, if you want simplicity, go for the all in one player and maybe get some better cables or some more cd's.
Forgot to mention: digital separates also offer more of a chance to introduce RFI into your system. While I have had one highly regarded all in one player wipe out my fm and non cable tv reception, I have had more problems with separates.
Thanks very much for the comments. My current CDP does not have a digital out. My gut tells me to keep things simple and choose among the all-in-ones. Still, it appears that depreciation/discount on DACs may be quite a bit sharper than on well-known one-boxes, maybe due to DACs being a "hot" product category. So, how far $1000 will take you in terms of one-box versus two might be different for used equipment than for new. (E.g., used, a CD63 or Parasound CDP1000 and a Muse Model 2 can be had for under $1000) That's what got me musing about this.
I'm in almost the same boat. I've decided on around $1,000. I already have a Marantz cd63se, and I'm wondering if I should get a new all in one like the new Rega planet, or get a DAC like the Bel Canto or Van Alstine or others,... Hopefully I'll sort it all out soon, I'll let you know.
If I were starting with nothing and wanted to spend less than $1,000, then something like the Rega Planet or Parasound 1000 would be on my list of things to try. I borrowed the Planet to try as a transport. I did not like it as a tranport, but out of curiosity I tried it as a cd player and it wasn't bad, but not better than either of the two digital separate setups that I own. If you already have a Marantz cd 63, then I would try the Bel Canto. I have used a Marantz cd 94 as a transport for around 8 years and I also have a Bel Canto and like it very much. I have owned 2 Thetas and still have 2 Micromega dacs and have liked them also. Have not heard the Muse. Unfortunately, when I was starting out with digital separates there were not web sites like this so I have learned what I know thru trial and error. That is why I suggest a 1 box player if you can't audition separates without buying.