If CD is your only digital source I think you will be better off spending all $800 on a CD player than split up the money and buy a so-so CD player and a so-so DAC.
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I dont think you will get a better sounding front end
FOR THE MONEY than you will as DANVECT suggested. I
also would recommend a decent player with a really good
inexpensive DAC like the Bel Canto. I started with the
DAC1 and later upgraded to the DAC2 with great success.
I couldent be happier with it. I was happy with DAC1 but
couldent resist the upgrade. Check out the white paper on their web site for the DAC. It will help you to understand whats going on.
Thanks for all your help so far.
I will go with the Sidssp's suggestion and buy good CD player. The question is now, Which one? The Njoe Tjoeb 4000 seems like a good player, it got a lot of good reviews, what I really like is that it has a volume control, so I can connect it directly to my power amp.
Any suggestions on good CD players (preferably ones with a volume control)?