Looking at source enhancement for my new Sophia 2s

Took delivery of my new Sophia 2's on Monday and they sound great out of the box. Probably 95% broken in by now.

I'm driving them with a McIntosh MA2275 integrated tube amp which I deliberately chose a few months ago with the Sophia in mind, and the results are very satisfying. I listen to a broad range of music - today I played a lot of Johnny Cash's later stuff (the 4 cd set of the "American" series which by the way is just brilliant), some Van the Man, Morrisey, Aretha Franklin, Aimee Mann, Stan Getz... I listen to jazz and classical 10% of the time (but nothing too 'complex').

My current source is the McIntosh MS300 hard drive system, which is essentially a fancy Escient. It sounds excellent and is on a par with my other source which is a Rotel 1060 DVD Audio player (not a bad system as I couldn't tell the difference between this and a Naim CD5x when I demo'd it for a few days with my B&W 804s last year, although could have been the speakers/Rotel 5 channel amp which didn't let the Naim reach potential).

However I'm wondering now that I have these superior speakers and Amp, would I notice if I upgraded to an external DAC so I could feed the hard disk system into it. The other option is a Linn Unidisk SC, which has a digital input which I could feed the hard disk drive into (so I could keep the convenience of the hard disk with the DAC of the Linn and also use it as a source for DVD and maybe CD directly on it if it sounded good. I've heard that the Linn SC sounds pretty good and bests the Naim CD5x. I have yet to demo it however.

I'm of the view that the hard drive is the way forward for digital music, so maybe a good DAC would be the best long term solution.

I don't know too much about them, so I would appreciate any suggestions on a DAC or any other solution such as any other disc players with good internal DAC and digital input.

Are external DACs worth it or is it marginal? (I'm not a raving audiophile but I'd rather get a good one than an 'OK' one that didn't give me much of a noticeable upgrade). If anyone has experience of what they can do for a setup such as mine, then assuming a good DAC gave you a satisfaction level of 100, where do you think I am today with my current setup (i.e is it 97, 87 or 77?).

I can't help with your source but I have to tell you my Sophia's sounded much better after 2 months of constant playing.__ I'm sure so will yours. My 2's arrived with one speaker damaged so I'm still waiting---.BUT, when I get my replacement I expect they will be much better 2 months in---than they did straight out of the box.
That's good to know, I'm pretty happy with the sound after one week, so looking forward to getting the full benefits with time.

Actually yesterday after a bit of research, I ordered the DAC1 from Benchmark Media Systems http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac1/ It got very good reviews from several sources and at $1k with a 30 day return policy it seems like a decent value. Back ordered for three weeks however, but maybe by the time it arrives the Sophia's will be getting to full potential. I'll feed my hard disk system (Mac MS300, CDs ripped in FLAC) into it and hopefully I'll get some noticeable benefits.

What cables are you using for the Sophia's (or Watt Puppies if anyone has them)? I'm using the same Transparent Musicwave cables that I had for my B&W 804s (the 10ft pair cost me $430). I should really demo something else just in case there's a difference but I'm sceptical of cables in general as the laws of diminishing marginal returns applies there big time. Any suggestions? I'd hate to find out in 3 years that cables are an excellent upgrade.
Hi K_c--- First off my Soph.1's didn't do enough for me to even call my dealer for several weeks. (by the time they called me,things were getting better/ but not all the way there)--My former speakers were Merlin MM's and not chopped liver. Before that I had Montna EPS's.-- (Montana= sad top/mid__ Merlin= sad bottom end) However, when the Soph's came to life, I came to realize I had the best of both !! The things that attracted me to Wilson Soph, were easy placement and "sounds good with reasonably priced electronics".
I use Au24's, that be ic's and speaker cable. I use a Belles Ref 150 amp a Placete passive. My front end is a Theta Data3 and Audiomeca's dac.___ One of the things that brought my system up several notches= good power conditioning; Adept Response. (Pricy but worth it 2 me.) So-- while I expect most run their Soph's with better 'stuffs' I'm ok 4 now.
I had the same thoughts re the Sophia in terms of forgiveness - I went to demo them and of course they had the WP7s right there too so of course I had to A/B them - the WP7 was that bit more dynamic and certainly brought out more detail. However they were being run using top end Naim stuff with the pre amp alone running at $25k!

So I asked for the next demo to use very modest equipment -a Rotel DVD audio player and modest rotel integrated I think it was - the sound coming from the WP7 was pretty bad basically, especially the bass. The Sophia sounded better. It really brought home the fact that you need to invest in every aspect of a system when your speakers are as revealing as the WP7s. I'd read about this but it was so night and day when you actually heard it. In terms of just enjoying the music, the Sophias did the job about as well as the WP7.

I hadn't even demo'd the Sophia 2 but I assumed that the upgrade would bring out a bit more of the detail that I enjoyed hearing in the WP7s, so I ordered when I heard about the upgrade and saved myself a few grand too. BTW for anyone looking at the WP7, I'd be careful as they may bring out a WP8 soon is my guess (8 is a lucky number in Asia so its probably a good marketing ploy for them).

Better luck second time around with the new 2s!
Haven't heard the CD5x but I own the Naim CD5 and the CDX2 and the Linn unidisk SC. I have also done a good bit of experimenting with hard disk servers connected to DACs (mine is the musical fidelity trivista). There are a few things which experimenting with multiple combinations of the above have become clear to me. I always preferred the way the music sounded coming from a Naim CD player over a Linn. The CD5 was even preferred over my Unidisk SC so when I upgraded source I chose the CDX2 rather than a "better" unidisk like the 2.1. The convenience of the hard disk server cannot be beat however if your system has pretty decent components/cables etc. you will most likely readily discern how superior the music sounds coming from an excellent CD player (I still don't understand exactly why this is but I have proven it to myself over and over). I have experimented with everything from the recorded bit rate (wav, lossless, whatever uncompressed form you like), to different sound cards, to external dacs, to most recently using the wireless apple airtunes optical -> DAC. The CDX2 always smokes it. But it is getting much better the more I experiment with it. Remeber, these issues are all relative, I don't mean to imply that any of the combinations or pieces of equipment sounded BAD they all sound quite good (except maybe a basic sound card directly into line level preamp) and it is just a matter of degree of refinement. Good Luck.