How do I spend $5000? A CD player or DAC for my De

After my fiasco with auditioning McIntosh 871 universal player (which I didn't like at all) I'm now considering either buying a dedicated redbook player instead of Sony XA9000ES and keeping my Denon 3930 for DVDs only or indeed buying a DAC to use with Denon as a transport. I don't think I'm ready to spend more than $5000 for either. The thing is I simply don't know which is better - a dedicated $5000 CD player or Denon 3930 plus $5000 DAC? I'm selling Sony anyway - the rack has place for only 2 sources and of course I need a DVD player anyway. What do you,guys, think?
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?
Agree with the single-box solution.With 5K to spend,you are in the price-range of the Gamut CD-3,AA Capitole and possibly the DCS P-8 used.
Boy if you can stretch to around $6000 yo can get a Esoteric X-01 used. I think that is one of the very best players made. We know it has the best transport.
my vote is for --esoteric xo3se--right at your price point after fully broken in and with the right pwr cord it is a wonderful cdp --good luck --rich
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.
OK, how about the same question in the 1500-2500 range?

Shoot for something used, maybe AR CDMKII or the like.
Sorry for the typo, it's PS Audio DL3 with stage 4 mods. There is a 6 moons review. Bmdduck do you also have a Denon universal player?
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.
Save yourself $2000 and get the marantz SA11s2.
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?
The Cambridge 840C has a digital input. It's not quite in the 5K category but from all the buzz it's a great piece.

How about DACs in pre-pros like the Proceed?
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.
Cary 306 SACD. Has 2 digital inputs, upsampling and sounds great! Since the pro version came out, you should be able to pick one up for $5000 or less.
Krell Evolution CD players.
You should by a music server it will sound better than any cd player costing up to $20,000 read the absolute sound december. You can get a qsonix for about $3500
So how ourld you recommend isolating the 9000 from the rest of my system? For that matter, what's the best way to get into power isolation/protection? I currently have just a NAIM/Wiremold power strip. It's probably about time to invest in some power conditioning.
5k used will get you a fine cdp. go with the cdp.

Bmdduck,depends on your digital player ac requirements. What power does your CD player draw?
It will be found on a sticker on the back of the unit. Perhaps we can really improve your sound very economically; that would be fun.
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.

The guy who suggested it (the media server) as an option is also a dealer. Just sayin'...
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