I would dedicate the 5k to a single box solution... That is if everything downstream is up to task.
What is the rest of your system though?
What is the rest of your system though?
Transporter modified by Dan Wright (so it becomes a tub DAC).
You get very good DAC as well as an easy introduction to computer audio. I have not heard it, but Srajan Ebaen just gave it a blue moon award on sixmoons.
Quote: "this ex owner of Zanden and reviewer of AMR, Ancient Audio, APL Hifi, Audio Aero, Esoteric & Co. would be lying if he didn't call today's silver machine with its weirdly coexisting twin WiFi antennae and three valves their full and unequivocal equal"
Indications are that computer based audio is going to be where the higher resolution - up to 24/192 - will be released. The Modwright will be a wonderful Tube DAC for your Denon in the meantime. At $3600 you could get a computer (Macs are simple and silent, but any will do and it doesn't have to be in the listening room) to run the slimserver software and still stay way below your budget.
I am happy with my switch to computer audio (iMac + Benchmark DAC1) even though I still have a universal player for SACD and the occasional new CD that I want to hear before ripping.
I also have a Denon 3930 (ci) it's a very good DVD player/upscaler and ok universal CD player and a Raysonic 168. Being able to put almost any CD in and having the player be able to read it is convenient. I think if I had it to do again I would buy an Esoteric DV-60 used and have $1000-1500 towards a PC Audio Stage 4 dac to run music files through.
A single box CD player can bring very good sound quality in the $5000 price range.
The other option is to get a music server (or computer) with a good digital out and get a capable DAC. It's trickier to equal the sound of a good CD player, but it can be done. The bonus here is the convenience of all your music on a hard drive and at your fingertips.
The reason I am wondering about the seperate DAC vs a single box solution is the flexibility to use it with a music server and to improve the performance of your existing player. I currently have a Sony DVP-NS9100ES which is pretty nice. With that player, I tend to think a really good DAC is the way to go.
Does anyone have an opinion on whether a cheap player fed into an audiophile DAC would significantly compromise quality (introducing jitter, etc) vs a high grade transport?
One last thing...anyone have any opinions on DACs inside A/V pre-pros that compete with good stand alone DACs? I'm wondering about the DACs in processors like the Proceed AVP, Anthem AVM line or Theta CasaNova vs a Benchmark or similar DAC.
I tried the transport/dac thing years ago with a sony S9000es and a Proceed DAP, Transaprent digital cable.
I prefered the MF308cd to this. Once you separate the transport and dac then you have to worry about the digital cable which can send you down another (expensive) path.
What about a single box solution that offers digital inputs like the Levinson 390?
I appreciate the desire to upgrade CD sound.
You have not mentioned conditioning & isolation for AC.
You have not heard your 9000 until you isolate its AC from the rest of your system.
Experiment and you will be amazed to find the true capability of the Sony.
I'm open to provide suggestions if you like. Best luck. Pete.
I find it ridiculous the whole idea about spending $3500 for a media server. I have never had a computer last for more than 5 years. If you are dumping this amount of money into something that has a limited life-span it seems ridiculous. At least with a cd player you can have it for more than 5 years and repairing it can keep it around for a good 20.
Aside from that, hard drives and space are dirt cheap so I don't understand why a Qsonix would be so expensive. It just makes no sense for hard drive space and a software program to spend $3500. Just my opinions.
Here is a vote for a DAC. An not a hugely expensive one either. Benchmark maybe...
The resale value on digital is so awful that I would to have money falling out of my ass to consider an expensive player. Couple this with relatively high failure rate and it almost becomes idiotic. Not to say that a cdp always a bad idea, but you better have addressed everything else- including room acoustics, power, etc.
Unless of course you have a ton of $ or you really are trying to get that last bit of performance.
I think your money is better spent on software. $.02