Outboard Dac's...Do they make a big difference?

Hi Folks,
I own a Mcintosh MVP 831 DVD/CD player, and am wondering if a DAC like the PS Audio digital link 3 or Cambridge Dac magic would give this 10 year old player any sonic upgrades. The Mac has a smooth sweet sound, but I'm not sure if resolution is at its best. Thanks for any input on your experiences using DACS.
ABSOLUTELY!!!! Not a big fan of Mac and can promise either of these DACs will improve the resolution, imaging of the player.
I'd say yes, but with reservation. I don't know any of the three DACs mentioned. I've used PS Audio in the past with good results and I've heard Mac digital in other contexts and your description of it tending to smooth and sweet doesn't surprise me.

A good external DAC/clock combination (one box or two) can certainly improve on what you've got, but it depends on what you've got and what you're going to. If at all possible, try the proposed DAC in your system, using the Mac's Digital Out. There are much, much better DACs than the two listed.

I recently put a Benchmark DAC on my MC205, Love the upgrade
In my experience an outboard dac is one of the highest return upgrade investments you can make.
Trumpetbri - Some external DAC are jitter rejecting and allow to use cheap transport and cheap digital cable. Benchmark DAC1 or Bel Canto DAC3 are the examples.

I use Benchmark DAC1 connected to very cheap Sony DVD player and digital TV. I'm planning to connect my computer as well (music server). DVD players have very good tracking, play DVD and inherently play MP3. I'm also independent from the transport (easy and cheap to replace). Sound wise it doesn't matter what Benchmark is connected to as long as it is "bit transparent" (doesn't have digital volume control etc.)

Second advantage of this setting is that I drive power amp directly from Benchmark (it has volume control) using only one set of IC. I don't have analog sources but if you do - both Benchmark and Bel Canto make versions with analog inputs as well.

I don't know DAC Magic but I believe it is also jitter suppressing (there is a review in Stereophile on line).
It can't happen without a separate DAC on my system.
Muralman1, I wish my Lambda transport hadn't crapped out. I'd be real curious to hear it with my Playback Designs DAC. Oh well...

Hi Dave, my Lambda has had a music uplift, and a new wheel change. I have trouble with a faulty door. I know what I have, and I know the really deep overdraw in my budget buying the equal new.

I had to go to an acquaintance in Europe for the wheel.

I know that with some effort that I could rehab the Lambda. It's a little frustrating that PS is about 30-miles away, but they have no interest in some fairly simple repairs. The parts are the issue, as you indicate.

Anyway, I already did the bank withdrawal for the replacement. ;-)

I will try to get info where to get a wheel, and I will ask what improvement was made to the transport. I know there was a diode change. The Lambda is a dark sounding transport. The diode opens up all the highs...... Quite uncanny stuff!
Dcstep - I took a look at your pics... Great digital front end, but you've got to build a room, and get some real speakers, man :-)
Goatwuss, thanks for looking. ;-)

I DO want to build a large room, but the economy put those plans on hold (my income dropped 60% over 2008). Still, I have great sound, with lots of dynamics, good bass, great imaging and very nice upper mids, but all on a smaller scale than I optimally desire.

I DO get to hear lots of larger systems and I'm comfortable that I'm not missing a ton, particularly of those things most important to me (dynamics and accurate midrange). I'll get all the way there one day...

Just busting ya man. I'll bet those VAs sound pretty decent as is
Hi All,
Thanks for your responses they were VERY helpful! I bought the PS audio Dac 3 and can't believe the difference! Immediately the music popped out of my Maggie MG 12's like never before! For even greater resolution, I put on the 196 setting and it's a whole other level in performance. The MVP 831 is good in stock form, however the PS is a MAJOR improvement in imaging and punch/life. Thanks again for your helpful convincing to give a DAC a try. I am using the Cardas digital cable on it. (Model around $109....can't remember the name of it.)
Trumpetbri, thanks for the follow up post. So often, people ask for help and then don't tell us what they did.

BTW, are you a trumpeter? Given your handle, I thought that you might be. I sponsor the Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest and play with several regional orchestras and bands around Denver.

Goatwuss said:
"Just busting ya man. I'll bet those VAs sound pretty decent as is"

I suspected as much. Yes, I love the VAs and plan to stay within that family when I "move up."

Hi Dave,
Yes I am a trumpet player. (Part time) I'm on you tube under Brian Nadeau if you want to check it out. Just a weekend hacker mostly. Haven't been full time for 30 years, but still love to play. Thanks for asking, and for your support. All my best...Brian.
Hey Bri. Yeah, you sound great. It's great that your keeping it up and a high level. I was never that good, but have lots of fun playing around town and hearing great players.

Cool Dave! Thanks for your support Man, and Mine right back at ya Fellow player and audiophile!! Be well and Happy playing/listening! -Bri.