new digital source

I just recently purchased my good 2-channel setup and now I'll need to pick up a digital source to go with. My current setup is a VTL 5.5 pre, VTL 450 monoblocks and Dynaudio C1 speakers. I want a digital source (it can be either CD player or DAC) that I'll use mostly for rock/metal (any other genres will be listened to on my turntable).

What I'm looking for is a big, deep soundstage and the instruments to be very clearly separated. I want to make sure that the double bass drum sits at the back, all the cymbals are clearly heard in the right spot, and the guitar(s) are clearly audible. I find that in the lower-end sources everything becomes a mess with fast songs, like most metal, and all instruments are hard to distinguish.
Most metal music is poorly recorded to start with,granted,there are some exceptions.Poorly recorded music is poorly recorded music regardless of what's used to reproduce it.The attributes you wish to hear are the hallmarks of very good recordings.Better quality equipment will help you get there,but if it's not on the recording,it's just not there.This of course is just my opinion,humble as it may be.
I know what you mean Tpreaves, and I can't say I disagree with you because I just got my system and just starting to break the speakers in. I'm still waiting for my cables to arrive and I don't even have a decent source (just testing it out with a sony dvd player, but I'm waiting for the Sony CE595 to arrive since it was cheap and want to see what difference SACD makes). However I played the Slayer Reign in Blood album, recorded in the 80s so I doubt it would be qualified as "high quality". I was just amazed at the clarity of the drums and guitars. There's parts of songs where only the drums or only the guitar are playing, and those parts are great. However, when they all start playing it gets messy. I was hoping that a quality CD player or DAC would help to bring more air between the instruments to get more separation and depth.

I consider the recordings of the band Tool to be of really good quality (especially the last 2 albums), and I notice the same issues with those albums.
Jibbonacci...I agree with Tpreaves however a better source can deliver on the sonic attributes you are looking for when the recording quality is there. So having said that, what type of budget range are you considering for your digital source? Are you sure you are equally open to CD vs. DAC? If DAC, will you be driving it via a disc-based transport or via PC, in which case you are likely going to need a capable USB-based DAC? By defining some of these criteria better, you should be able to get good suggestions from your fellow Agoners.
I've already invested quite a bit in the amps and speakers so it wouldn't make sense not to make the most of it by getting a good source as well. I'd like to stay in the $5000 area or so.

I don't think I'd mind if I got a CD player. I'm used to switching sides on vinyl so switching CD's isn't a big deal. Of course if a DAC can offer the same sound quality that would probably be more convenient, but convenience is not a priority. If I were to go with a DAC I'd probably use it with a Squeezebox at first (streaming either wav or flac files), the Sony 595 as a transport, and in the future I could add a PC in which case I'd probably use a Lynx sound card and use the AES output.
Hi, Jibbonacci,
I am selling a brand new Bluenote Stibbert here on Audiogon for a fraction of its new retail. You can read about this outstanding player all over the internet. Here is the link to the listing:

Let me know if you are interested.
look at MSB TECH I own a platinum DAC II and it can be upgraded to be close to the new DAC iV the DACII is so good you don't need to do any changes
If price is a problem you can look at the earliers series and I have a 10 year old CD Player hook up yo it and it
sounds great its the dac not so much the player its self