It sounds like you have a fairly good DAC. I my experience, the quality of the transport can make a significant difference. The best I have heard are of the top loading variety. Also, try experimenting with different digital interconnects. Often, jitter is introduced in their connector welds.
I think you can buy a lot of nice CD players for under 1000. Just to throw some names out: Meridian, Sony, CAL, Theta, NAD and perhaps some DVD/SACD players such as Phillips or Pioneer.
I can't agree with Duddley. In my experiece there is not enough difference between a $2500 transport and a $120 DVD player. Let me explain. I started with a Theta Data Basic. Excellant piece. I recently purchased a Classe CDT-1 and a DAC-1 combo to go with my CP-50 and CA-400. There was no difference between the Theta and the Classe using the exact same equipment and cables from there on to the speakers. Though the price differnce is $800 retail. About two weeks ago, I decided to finally get a DVD player and com[plete the HT setup. Got a cheap JVC DVD player. I conducted the same experiment. JVC vs. Classe. Using the same equip. and cables. I am not saying there was no difference, but not enough to justify the retail price of the JVC to the USED price of the Classe. That money is going toward a better 5 channel.
Sorry Axendo, but I must definitely disagree with you. It sounds as though something - either your cables/interconnects, your room, or any other common element - is a weak link. If you can't hear a noticeable difference between your audiophile level components and your consumer rated ones, then something is negating your high-end equipment's full potential.
Hear4, you might consider a better transport, but don't rule out upgrading your cabling, both quality and type, as well as improving your existing DAC. Upgrade your DAC with an AES/EBU. I would certainly consider, for around $150, a Monarchy 24/96 anti jitter (DIP), and maybe even upgrading your DAC's power supply with a Power Base.
Hope this helps.
Look on audiogon for a Perpetual Technologies P.1A digital engine, hook it up balanced between your Marantz and MSB, and enjoy the music.
You won't be sorry.
Go to Perpetual's website and download the PDF intruction sheet. The sheet originally sent out with new units was written by aliens.
Axendo, you should consider going to the doctor to get your hearing checked!! Good transports make a huge difference. Hear4, I think your best move would be a transport as there are many that are good in your budget, Cal Audio Labs, Theta, PS Audio, etc.. are all good transports and will be a good improvement over what you have now, also pick up a digital cable for the rig also. Happy Listening!
Just for your info. for those who disagree, My system is comprised of the following: Classe DAC-1, Classe CP-50, Classe CA-400, Mirage M3s, AQ EmeraldX3 XLR (DAC>pre>amp), AQ Hawk XLR(Digital), AQ Midnight+,Forrest+ double bi-wire.
I don't think that this is a bad set up. As far as my room, there's little I can do with that. Again, I didn't say there was no difference, I said you would be better to spend the difference in money on another piece of equipment.
Axendo, nice system!
I have done the same thing with a $120 cd player, as I sold my D/A and was waiting for my new one, I used my sons cd player and when I hooked up it didn't sound half bad for the first two minutes, then after a few minutes, it started to hurt my ears as I noticed a lacking in detail, bass was not any good, mids were not smooth,and highs were grainy, It didn't have that 3-D, air, and synergy thing going on, It sounded like the system I have in my garage the $5 garage sale one!
but now that I have my new D/A, the system is sounding very nice. What I have found that if you want to improve the sound 2 times you have to spend 50 times more! and it gets worse the farther you move up.
hear4, Sorry for getting of track here but I think the transport with a digital cable is your your best move and there are many you can pick up in your price range.
Thanks everyone. I think I have a pretty good digital cable (Kimber) so I'll look into transports. Since I'm also looking into a new DVD what about something like the Denon 3800 or the Sony 999ES as a transport. That way I can potentially kill two birds with one stone
Hear4, you can combine the two but I think you need to up your budget a bit, Theta, EAD make nice DVD/CD players. If two channel is more important do the transport now, then perhaps a Phllips 985 DVD/Recorder for the DVD. I have found the playback is best with sperate cd transport. There is a thread here, Do transports matter! you may want to check it out! Dont get me wrong as there are some combo players out there but they wont give that last bit of greatness were looking for, at least not right now. It also deppends how critical you are about two channel.
Try the Marantz SA-8260 SACD/CD player, or better yet, sell your current gear to help purchase a used Marantz SA-14. Try SACD in home, you'll get hooked, and the redbook playback of the Marantz is hard to fault as well.
Personally, I would skip the DVD/CD player option, having never heard a DVD player compete with a similar priced CD or SACD/CD player, you'll get more sound with less bells and whistles.
Also, fwiw, I hear huge difference in the transports, and feel the transport is actually more important then the dac. Spend as much on the transport as you do on the dac, or even a little more on the transport and digital cable, if you wish to do the 2-box thing.