Is my hearing bad?

I brought home a Bel Canto Dac2.0 to a/b against my $200 AMC cdp. I can't hear any diferences whatsoever. Soundstage, depth or imaging. Is it my ears or is the AMC better than I originally thought? I had both in the stereo direct mode through the B&K.

My system
B&K Ref 30
BAT VK-200
B&W Signature 805's
What kind for interconnects and what digital cable? The AMC is the transport?

I also wonder if your HT preamp is a weak link for 2 channel audio?? Are you sure you are not re-processing the digital sound through the HT decoder a second time?
To find differences in digital playback is a great challenge since the 99.9% of differences are introduced through proper digital noise filtering in after-DAC proccess especially if different components are using the same DAC chips and all digital standards of 75Ohm signal transfering are in effect. If you change your DAC to BAT VK5 preamp than you'd probably benefit much more.

Excellent system though!
So in other words, you think I would be better off adding a BAT pre? I demoed an Anthem pre over the weekend and wasn't wowed. But I have been looking over the BAT pre listings. here.


Investing onto amplification gives much larger and audiable differences than onto the digital source. It realy a question of integration with amplifier where one would do great and another wouldn't even without mentioning price differences.

I mentioned BAT VK5 as very versatile preamp that basically can match any poweramp and very convenient with remote.

How it will sound? I guess it will integrate great with your BAT amplifier self-evidently especially if truely-balanced path is available.
I just went though the same thing trying to decide if I wanted a SACD player or a new redbook for my 2 channel cj system. In the end I could not hear a significant difference between a really good example of each on a system that was in the 50K+ range. I kept feeling guilty that SACD did not grab me. I decided to just get the redbook (since my current player died) and enjoy the music.. Be glad your current cdp still sound good to you.. proves you made a good choice originally. Maybe the new preamp is worth a try.. but don't feel bad if you still like the old one.. I think the speaker you have will expose any significant improvement. With all that said new toys are always fun even if the old ones are not bad...
Digital upgrades can be really elusive to hear right off the bat, especially if you've never listened for them before, but often even if you have. In many cases the differences only fully manifest themselves over extended listening. In my system, many digital upgrades later, there are still certain disks where, if I level-match the sound, I can have a heck of a time trying to pinpoint meaningful improvements between the sonics of my reference front-end separates and that of my CD-R recorder/player. There are other times, though, when it's much more obvious, and of course recording quality can have a lot to do with this. Your CDP must at least be pretty decent however, because some of the easiest-to-hear digital differences I've encountered have been among various low-budget players, and if yours was a mediocre one, I'm sure you wouldn't have felt the need to post this thread.

I would say you should give the new DAC some time, if you can, whether for component break-in or just for your ears to acclimate and begin to pick up on subtle stuff (reduced transient smear, better articulated microdynamics, juicier timbres, clearer air around the players, more pitch-defined bass...keep on listening). All digital converters, just like all other gear, will exhibit *some* sonic differences amongst themselves, whether for better or for worse - it's not really possible that your new DAC and your old CDP would sound *exactly* the same. But having said that, I'll also add that the quality of both the transport and digital IC can have a pronounced limiting effect on the theoretical improvements offered by a better DAC, and I was never able to get the kind of improvement I was after until I stopped using my old players as transports and got a real dedicated one.

On the other hand, what's perceptable and what's meaningful can be two very different things, both system- and listener-dependent. If you're happy with the sound of your inexpensive CDP, and don't suspect that the incremental improvement you might realize in your system by further pursuing the separates issue would be worth the expense to you in terms of musical enjoyment, then consider yourself lucky and save your money for recordings instead.
Maybe, maybe not,

Try this break that sucka in for about 100 hours put a disc on and let it rip for a week. Then, listen, not like your heads in a vice and your fixed on finding that difference, just listen like you always do maybe for a week, then, take it out and put the previous unit in. One of three things will happen: With the old unit you will either go Yeah, or Ick, and the third possible solution is that you will not notice a difference. If you can't hear a difference don't pay for it. Take it back. or well there Audiogon.