New CD player or new external DAC ?

I have been looking for some options for a decent upgrade to my 14 year old Arcam MCD player. Since the CD player actually works, I'm wondering if it would be a better option to just keep it as a transport and get a good quality DAC. Would this provide an improvement ? Or is an improvement in the transport required as well.

I was looking at some $600-$900 Cd player options such as the Marantz 6400 or the Cambridge Audio 351 or 651. But then started to turn my focus to DAC and am looking at the Bryston BDA1 (can get a VERY good deal on a a store demo...full warranty), and thinking it would be worth the extra money IF it will be a signifcant upgrade to my stand alone Arcam MCD. Would this transport and DAC be a match ? And with a DAC, if I have future flexibiity as well. And if I can get just as good but less expensive, I would consider that as well.

Thoughts, comments ???
CD player now is more obsolete than turntable. If you decide to opt out of Bryston BDA1's VERY good deal, drop me a note so I'll get it instead of you.
The future in audio gear seems to be one that may require a DAC. Take your cd player to the dealer and ask them to hook it up to the BDA -1 and hear it for yourself. If no dramatic difference and you yet want to upgrade, get a cd player that includes inputs for other devices like a computer, cd player etc. Player like the OPPO 105 and some Marantz units.

Just for a lark if you do get the BDA, and I would if you think the deal if good enough regardless of your cd player. Buy the Emotiva DAC and compare to the BDA, you get easily return the Emotiva if it is not all that.
Similar question came up in the Forums about a week ago, though the poster asked for advice on DACs at lower price point:
I'd say that depends on if you plan on possibly wanting to play back music from a computer in the near future. If you are happy putting discs in one at a time and playing that way then I personally would look for a used player that is major bang for the buck. CD players are becoming a thing of the past and there are some great deals out there.

If you are ready to come out of the dark ages and play back from a computer then yes by all means get a DAC. The Bryston is a good DAC I have one and for whatever reason the prices have dropped pretty low on the used market. I've seen them going on here for 1100
Either way, a new DAC or a new CDP will improve your sound. Remember too that once that 14 year old Arcam breaks, it probably can't be fixed. Agree that if, like me, you play discs and have no interest in computer music, a CDP is the most cost effective option.
Perhaps I should ask this way: For the same amount of money (say $700-$1000) would I get a bigger upgrade by buying a CD player for that amount, or keeping my Arcam as a transport and spending that full budget on an external DAC ( and in this case, I'm looking at the Bryston) ?
I would get a recent used CDP. Avoid having to buy a digital cable and hoping the Arcam keeps working. And lots of newer CDP's have computer connectivity if that is an issue. There are also many who feel the transport is just as important as the DAC, and that the connection between transport and DAC can cause other problems.
Can you "borrow" some CD or DVD players and DACS to try out in your home system. Take some home, connect them and A/B compare them with your existing equipment to hear the difference in your system for yourself. First, borrow a decent DAC and try it. If you don't care about USB capability, try a used Theta DS Pro Gen VA DAC. You would be hard pressed to find another DAC out there that can out perform this unit. Then find some other CD players or DVD players to use as transports only. examples will be Pioneer Elite DV09, DV 79AVi, etc. use as transport only. They are actually very wonderful sounding into a good DAC. You can do this on the cheap. DV 09 or DV 79AVi run about $250 to $300 used and are hard to beat at a stand alone transport. Most people got rid of them because they wanted the newer bells and whistles, such as USB or Blue Ray capability. But, if you want a CD transport only, well... these are hard to beat. But, I suggest borrowing some first and hearing them in your system. CD transport and/or DAC.

For external DACs what about the Schiit Audio Gugnir DAC or the TEAC UD-501. Both are around the $850 mark.

The Teac UD-501 is the only DAC costing less than $1,000 that supports DSD playback (both 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz).

Here's a review on Positive Feedback...

Here's another take on the Teac...

There are lots of Schiit Audio Gugnir reviews out on the net as well. Happy Hunting.
+1 Marakaentz. If I had a chance to get the BDA-1 new discounted as a demo form a dealer I would jump on it.
Getting a CDP is an act of discipline.
Getting a DAC is going to add to your audio nervosa.

All the best,
Look at it this way... A CD Player + DAC is analogous to separates in the amplification chain. It offers flexibility.

The truth is that no matter how much you spend today on a new CD player the mechanical parts are the weak link. When they fail, you probably won't want to cough up the cost of repair.

I'd keep your Arcam player and audition as many DACs as you can. When your player dies, pick up a solid player like a Marantz with a 3 year warranty.
There is such a wide selection of DACs now at different price points that I say go for a DAC. Use your Arcam as a transport for as long as it lasts (CDPs from 14 years ago were built pretty well).
And a good quality cable doesn't have to break the bank.
Anyone recommend the Bryston BDA-1 ?

I agree...there is just so much added flexibility with a separate DAC and so much future upgradability. XCan use a CDP, as well as a discless solution etc. My local shos tells me that manufactures are really backing away from producing CD players and putting their resources into DAC's and digital players.
Not to be contentious but CDPs are a very mature product with a long life ahead (with room for improvement).

DACs and streaming does indeed have SO MUCH upgradability in store. It seems to take mere months to read of something newer and better. No need for a fancy new case or an upgrade but a whole new way of addressing that bit perfect need.

There's still a long way to go so don't overspend on something that will be bettered in a matter of months. Tread carefully: this hobby should be fun, not frustrating. Make sure to try out whatever you think you need before buying.

All the best,
Just listen to the Bryston and you will know. Bryston seems to be make products that some love and some don't like at all.