I am very happy with my progress to this point.

I had a rough time getting started with a system that would provide the performance that I was looking for at a price that I could afford.
I do not have a ideal room at this point, but have found the perfect chair that alows me to listen for extended periods of time. I have been very pleased with the results to this point and have settled on an Odyssey amplifier that has plenty of clean power it is matched with a budget Odyssey preamp that was needed to get the notes flowing.
I have a Denon DCD-3520 cd player that can be used as a transport via tha oprical out. I do not have any information other than it is a 20 bit super linear converter (not sure what that means) but it was free at the storage unit I rented, the previous owner left it behing. It is a tank and I am not sure what I should do with it at this point.
I also have a Pioneer Dv-578a-S universal player. I have not had a chance to listen much, but it came very highly recomended and I picked it up for about $70 on closeout at CC.
So i only have about $70 in source at this point and would like to catch any suggestions of what to do next. I have been told that a external DAC w/ and external power supply would make a big differance or a jitterbug.
I want to keep this as simple as i can with the most lifelike music. A big week spot is the IC and speaker wire that I have. About $40 worth in wires with little room to move up. Any suggestions?

Is there a good cheap way to play with tubes?

Odyssey Khartago
Odyssey etesian
Denon or Pioneer CD
Chapman T-7 Speakers
Tact or Z-systems pre/dacs?
Your speakers are very good. I am friends with the guy that made them (Stuart Chapman Jones). I have had nothing but Chapman speakers for over 20 years. Each speaker is built totally by hand. Voice coils are wound by hand and all components are tested individually and matched up so that each pair of speakers is as much a mirror image pair as you can get. These speakers will give you a lifetime of outstanding performance with just about any equipment or music type you can throw at them and are certainly a strong point in your system in my opinion.
As far as speaker cables go, I'm using Analysis Plus Oval 9 cables with my Chapmans. I also have Analysis Plus power cord and interconnect products which I am very happy with. They can still be pricey but you can find them here on AGON. You just have to run through the site several times a day to stay on top of what has just been listed. Cables are one of those items that can go soon after being posted.
Remember this though, quality tunes start at the source. From reading your post it seems to me that you would definitely benefit from cabling upgrades as well as a source upgrade. I don't think your Pioneer CD player will bring out the best in the rest of your equipment, and if it were me, I think any money I would consider spending on a DAC w/external power supply to upgrade a budget player would be better spent on a better quality used player. Lot's of them here on AGON. I'm not familiar with the model number of the Denon cd player you mention, but Denon makes some good equipment. Do you have an old receiver and some other speakers that you could hook it up to to see if it works? If it was left behind in a storage unit by the previous owner there's probably a good reason for that and I'd be cautious about connecting it to my main system, but who knows...maybe it works. I just now looked around AGON for Denon cd players and found one in the 3000 model series for sale for $425.00. I also found some other Denon players in the 3900 series for a WHOLE LOT MORE! Maybe you have something more than you realize with this unit. I would at least check it out.
It sounds like you have some good equipment that you're happy with and you have a good idea of what you want to do.
Audiogon and it's members are a very important part of my system. I have bought and sold equipment here which has made my system better, but more important is what I learn from reading the forum topics. I think this site is a valuable resource for us all. Always seems to be someone to help you along.
Good luck and happy listening.
Happy holidays everybody!
I use a modified Pioneer 578A as a transport.I can honestly say without a doubt it is rock solid in that area. I had other players that were quite a bit more expensive. The Pioneer's transport is where it's at. You need a DAC,one with a good power supply. The difference want be subtle either. You have good gear..you'll notice the difference as soon as you plug it up.

The bass will be stronger and more defined.Instruments will have their own space. It will be much easier to discern the layers in the stage and shakes of the individual disc of a tambourine. There will be more of a dynamic contrast in the music from the quietest passages to the building climaxes.
Audio mirror DAC is super sweet and higher rated than most, its tube, check my system, it has the khartago's
The Denon 3520 works perfect. It was $1599 new, but is at least 15 years old.
i have found bigger differences with amps than with cd players. yes, different players and dacs can help, but amps make a bigger difference.

i have a anthem amp one which puts out 40-55 watts a channel, uses inexpensive tubes, is very well made (in canada, not china) with 4 ohm taps in black for $500. very nice sounding el 34 pp with solid bass. don't think it's any better than then oddyssey? send it back david sundby