Nothing for 500 or less will improve the sound on the 2000.
Selling the planet and adding 500.00 might get you closer
Selling the planet and adding 500.00 might get you closer
The only newer DAC that I can think of that would be an improvement in that price range is a used EVS Millenium DAC. The DAC 2 would be the best, but those are usually over $500. You could find a used DAC 1A or 1B for that amount, but there aren't many and they don't come up for sale every day. Keep your eyes open.
If you're willing to try older DACs, you might be able to find an old Meridian, Muse, Wadia, Theta, etc. in that price range (pieces that originally cost thousands). They will have older DAC chips, but I think you'll find that their high quality designs, parts, and power supplies will still sound much better than most cheaper DACs with modern DAC chips. A new DAC chip isn't going to matter much if everything surrounding it is compromised. Most qualities of good DACs...transparency, lack of grain, soundstage, bass, etc. come from good design, parts, and a good power supply...not just the DAC chip.
Natalie does make a good point above...you could sell the Rega and try to buy a used Meridian 508/24. I know they've come down in price quite a bit, but I'm not sure if they've dropped that much yet. Just an idea...
rega planet is a pocket cd-player mechanizm incorporated with great dac.
that's why spending $500 on external dac will be just a waste.
to approach a performance of Rega to be like Meridian 508/24 you can get TACT RCS2.0 DAC-preamp that brings even pocket CD-player with optical output onto the level of "champion" machines. you can get here demo model for a-bit above $2k but you should realize that you can sell your preamp and there you'll spend less already...
i've heard many statements such as my rega planet is the best as whole and doesn't sound good with external dac
well how it can if it has a poor transport?
a poor transport and mechanizm can be successfully incorporated into one-box player.
i used to own mccormack mod squad prizm cd-player that is something like great mechanizm- poor transport- with descent dac. after i connected it with EAD DSP 700 MK2 dac 1)on half of my cds there were mis-relocking; 2)sounded encapsulated and unopen...
well i decided to get the dedicated transport and thus corrected this problem.
As to Meridian 508/24 it has excellent mechanizm incorporated with excellent transport and excellent dac together in one box creating no headache with jitter, digital interconnects and finally could be your last one for real.
I have a Rega Planet (the original) and I tried some simple remedies that made a difference. Before spending any big money on a DAC, try these:
1.) If your floor and cabinet are stable, try using tip toes that are high enough to support the Rega instead of relying on the factory sorbothane feet. Tip toes are essentially aluminum cones. Experiment using 3 or 4 tip toes.
2.) The Planet 2000 comes with a detachable AC power cord. Replace the factory one with a good one.
3.) Get an AudioPrism CD Blacklight for $40. It is a thin plastic disc that you expose to light for 30 seconds, then position on top of the music CD. The disc emits a green light and really helps improve the harmonics, openess, transparency and image focus. Most cost effective device.
Keep in mind the interconnect may have a significant effect.
Feel free to email me.
thank you everybody, these are very helpful comments and I do not think I will pursue a DAC. I had never heard the Rega transport was not that good in fact I had been told I should replace it by someone. I am usually one to buy a better piece instead of trying to match (more) components.
I find more and more that matching components is EVERYTHING in a better stereo system and have no desire to add to that list with more wires and devices.
The Meridian was truly awesome when I heard it and I think I will hold out for one someday.
Natalie I was responding to Marakanetz comments above. He mentions that the good sound of the Rega comes from the very good DAC and not the transport which he feels is not as nice.
BTW thank you Phild for a very thoughtful reply that really opened my eyes. I think the points you made (power supply etc.)are logical and without doing the research myself I feel I can go by what you said. I will probably not get a DAC as that is my first inclination anyway also my post above explains ther rest.
Try going to www.audionut.com or call 623-487-1116
I was there and they use a rega Planet 2000 with some new DARUMA 3 ball bearing isolation feet and also use a DAC for under 500.00 which very much impressed me.I own a Denon DCD3520 which is about 10yrs old and would like the Planet2000 but BOB at audionut said lets try the DAC which would bring to life the Denon,since the denon I have is not that bad.
Bob is the type of person who beleives you don't have to spend tons of money on over priced brand names to get the same results with other units.
ALSO check into a company called DH Labs (www.silversonic.com)for audio cables.
To any of you who claim that adding a dac to the Planet 2000 will not offer improvements, I'm really not sure how you can say this. I have just recently auditioned the Planet 2000 stand-alone vs. a very inexpensive universal disc player (i mean all out cheap player) along with an MSB link DAC III with Nelson upgrade, upsampling and power base...and let me tell you, the difference was night and day. The MSB setup was FAAAARRR superior.
I'm not saying that the MSB link dac is the best there is, but certainly a modest cd player can be improved upon significantly with the addition of an external DAC, moreso than buying a new all in one unit at double the cost of the dac.
Marakanetz has writen:
"rega planet is a pocket cd-player mechanizm incorporated with great dac. "
As far as I'm know, that's entirely false.
The mechanism is a Sony KSS240A pick up assembly which, if put in a pocket player, would really produces an astoundingly big pocket player...
The DAC is a custom Burr Brown PCM1710U which is really not a great DAC nowadays, especially since this DAC have an in-built post-conversion hig-pass filter (baddly) modified on Rega's requiry...
What is realy of a pocket player kind is the unique Sanyo chip which incorporates additional high-pass filter, I/V conversion stage, output amplifier, internal own's regulators and DAC supply regulation.