MSB Link III DAC - The Right Way to Go?

I'm looking at purchasing the MSB Link III DAC with upsampling. Currently 95% of my listening is to standard Redbook CDs. The CD and SACD sound on my universal Pioneer Elite are marginal to OK (DVD is very good). I have the following equipment.
1. Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai (Universal Player DVD-A, V, CD and SACD).
2. McIntosh C2200 (tube preamp) with the SS MC-352 amp.
3. Power Conditioner is a Monster 5100.
4. Also, use a computer based MusicMatch MP3 for general listening (I know...junk quality). However, can the Link III or a DAC improve this quality at all?

1. Will the Link III provide a noticeable improvement in sound quality over the Pioneer Elite, or are they pretty close sonically?
2. Is the Full Nelson upgrade really worth it?
3. Is the P1000 Power supply needed when I already have the Monster 5100 Power Conditioner?
4. What else would you recommend to enhance the CD and SACD quality without getting too expensive. Wife's having a heart attack $$$.

Thanks a advance, Jim
1) It's a subtle change, you'll not hear huge a/b differences but once you remove the dac you'll really miss it.

2) Yes, but if you're looking to buy new, skip MSB and spend that $900 on the used market. The Nelson, I feel, is low value/dollar, and the technology is dated, besides.
3) Yes, your conditioner doesn't do what the power base does.
4) Musical Fidelity A3 24, in another league, but it will take a good transport, which I'm fairly sure the Pioneer is not, so in that case, perhaps a Bel Canto dac. You of course know that these external dacs will NOT affect SACD performance, but they will possibly improve feeds from your computer, but don't expect miracles....
Hi Slhijb

I've had a few DACs in the past, and still have a couple now: an EAD and an MSB DAC III Full Nelson w/Power Base. I somewhat agree and disagree with Socrates. I wouldn't characterize the technology as being dated. As far as the performance goes, it is excellent, and can be had in this configuration for around $600-$700 on A'gon. It may not have the build quality as say an EAD, but it's still great, none the less. And, MSB stands behind their product 100%.

I, too, have a Monster 5100, and though I plan to upgrade it, it still serves its purpose. Regardless, YES, you will still reap great benefit from having a Power Base, even with a 5100.

As far as the benefits for MP3's... Night and Day! I currently use an Audiotron to play my MP3 library (ripped using Music Match). The Audiotron grabs the MP3s, which reside on my PC, over an Ethernet network, and plays it on my system. I take the optical out on the Audiotron and run it into the MSB. The DAC makes the MP3 sound pretty damn decent. Of course, you can't compare it to uncompressed music coming from a transport through the DAC, but that's not a fair comparison. But unless you're sitting down in front of your system for serious, critical, music listening, it certainly does the trick.

Bear in mind that the DAC isn't going to be of much help for SACD.

Hope this helps.

Just used as a CD converter for a dedicated transport, I ultimately did not prefer the sound of the Gold Link (the highest model in the Link line) + P1000 that I bought last year, choosing instead to hang on to my much-older-yet Theta DSPro Basic IIIa. I found it to be somewhat opaque to fine detail and tonally colored, with an overly-ripe midrange, weak frequency extremes, and constricted soundstage and dynamics, though it was fairly smooth. On the other hand, if you prefer a 'wet'-sounding DAC that can warm up and take the edge off many CD's, and don't care as much about image separation, spaciousness, wide bandwidth extension, fine resolution, tonal neutrality, or micro-dynamic inflection, the sonic picture it paints can be quite enjoyable on its own terms, if not completely accurate. I felt engaging upsampling only exacerbated the Link's shortcomings in most objective ways, yet again it could be very enjoyable subjectively with certain disks (I never tried the DAC without the P1000). In the end, I easily decided the Gold Link wasn't high enough in fidelity for me to keep (and certainly not deserving of the "B"-rating that Stereophile bestowed upon the regular and Nelson Links, the same rating they once gave to my reference Theta at over $1K more when new), but that doesn't mean it might not be better sounding (to you) than your player, or a good deal for the money. (FYI, the Gold Link incorporates the Full Nelson upgrades along with balanced dual-differential DAC chipsets, the only Link that is so configured.)