DAC - Cheap Upsampler or Old Standby?

Hi all,

I'm going to be purchasing a DAC >$1000 pretty soon. I'd like to hear from anybody who is familiar with the new breed of upsampling DACs like Bel Canto, MSB, Perpetual and how you would rate them next to the old standby's of Meridian 566, ARC Dac2, etc. I'm leaning towards a Meridian 566 (20 or 24 bit) - but really am curious about the Bel Canto and the others..

So, is upsampling just the new cool thing, or would you really prefer that Bel Canto to a used 566?

I have owned (among others) the Meridian 508-24, Bel Canto DAC-1, and the Birdland Odeon-lite. The Bel Canto was considerably more musical than the Meridian, especially in the highs. The Meridian might have had a teeny tiny bit more bass. The even less expensive Birdland was demo'd to me by a customer, and it was in a whole different league from the Bel Canto. So I called Gilles Gamiero and got some use out of my limited Francais, and he let me become a Birdland dealer. By the way, the new Odeon-Ag is even better - stunningly three dimensional and palpable (which were things the Odeon-lite excelled at but not to this extent).

From time to time an Odeon-lite shows up at AudiogoN - when that happens, jump on it! They're quite easy to resell if you don't like it. But DO NOT skimp on the digital cable - in a reasonably priced cable, I suggest the Analysis Plus.
This has been discussed a million times before and it pretty much comes down to the designs and the implimentaion of the specific design. There are all kinds of different DACs in all price ranges and there really is no "best". Everyone seems to find one that they prefer over the others. You really need to pick a price range and listen to a few recommended models in that range (in your home). I guarantee that you'll find one that sounds the most *right* to you in your system. I'd recommend adding an EVS Millenium DAC 2 (or 1) to your list if you can find one used...they're no longer in production. (www.tweakaudio.com)
My 2 cents: the EVS stuff is incredible for less $$ than others. For your price range, too, the new Musical Fidelity should be nice. Their shill, Sam Tellig, definitely likes it. And I've tended to trust his findings before.

With that all said....check out the EVS site, as Phild suggests. Ric's opinion is that it is better to tweak a one-piece CD player than play with separates, with jitter, external feeds, extra cabling, etc.

He should be offering some very nice mods to CD/DVD/SACD players very soon. I'm in line for a mod to a VERY cheap Sony NS500V (DVD/SACD/CD), and also a Pioneer DV-47A (DVD/SACD/DVD-A/CD). Should be incredible sound for little bucks comparitively.

Whatever you do, best 'o' luck !