Pioneer Elite DV-C36 as a transport, or get CDP?

Folks here on Audiogon have graciously helped me discern that I can add a DAC to my system as I am trying upgrade my two channel sound.

Is the Pioneer Elite DV-C36 Ok to use as a transport?
A dealer has suggested to me that this does not read CD's very well, but is great for DVD's.

In scanning other forums and posts, it seems like a lot of folks use similar level players as transports.

He is suggesting getting a decent integrated CDP for two channel as an alternative to a DAC (Arcam 62, or 72).

Thanks for input.
I have an outboard DAC and I found that two older CDPs made better sounding transports than my Pioneer Elite DV-05 (the model that the DV36 replaced??). There is a ton of additional circuitry (video, etc) in a DVD player that's not in a CD player, and many people (like Ric Schultz at EVS) think that will harm the CD signal. There are many people who offer mods for DVD players that will make them better CD players and/or transports, but it can get pricey and I'm still not sure they'd sound better than a good stand-alone CDP. SO much depend on the DAC, digital cable, power cords, and tweaks. Having a seperate transport/DAC can be kinda pricey once you start adding up all of the various costs. I would try to figure out where your priorities lie and go from there. If redbook CD is your top priority, you'd probably be better off going with a regular one-box CDP. Here are some other options for you...

Some one box CDPs (like some of the Cary players) have a digital input which would allow you to plug the output of your DVD player into them and use the CD player's internal DAC for both sources. That could be very handy and take care of both issues. I'm not sure any of those players are in your price range, but it's worth checking into.

You could also sell your DV36 and pick up one of the many CD/DVD/SACD (or universal) players and have it modified by one of the many people offering that service (Ric Schultz, Dan Wright, Stan Warren, and many more). If done right, it'd probably be the best value for your money. It would allow you to have excellent sounding redbook, DVD, and SACD (or DVD-A) all in one box. I think this is the route I'd take if I were to make the decision today. There is plenty of research to do on which player and modifier to pick, and it could mean a bit of a wait for the mods, but I think it would be well worth the hassle in the end. Check out Ric's or Dan Wright's sites for more info on this option. Good luck!
Phild -

Thanks for the insight. The Pioneer does something to separate the two functions by switching to a CD Mode when one wants to play a CD versus a DVD. I have no idea whether they separate some electronics. I don't know what/if it replaced a previous model. It is a 5 disc changer and seems to be their entry level model in the Elite Series.

My budget is around $4-500 for this upgrade (after the Xmas bills get paid :>

I would be buying used whether it was a CDP with a better transport and built in DAC than what I have, or an outboard DAC/upsampler.

I have 3 digital inputs in my receiver so that is not an issue. I will be running the new (used) DAC/upsampler, or CDP via analog ins anyway through the analog bypass inputs in the receiver to avoid the DSP stuff in the Denon.

I don't mind if I end up having a separate CDP, and actually had that setup until I moved an old Sony CDP CE235 to another system.

I guess this may actually be a common question -

Get a nice used DAC for the probably average transport/DAC in my existing Pioneer, or get a nice used CDP with a hopefully better transport and DAC in it?

Now the outboard DAC/upsampling stuff really kind of interests me as I am actually a computer geek/reseller/builder and the technology that I am finding out about in audio recently is amazing.

Botom line, though, is what might be a better upgrade path for a modest system. I do probably want to do this fairly simply, also if that is possible.

My system is:
Denon 5 ch DTS receiver (1801)
Parasound 1000 hca amp for the fronts only
RBH Sound 61SE fronts
RBH 661SE Center
Polk Audio S6’s for rears
ACI Titan Sub
Pioneer Elite DVD/CD player DV-C36
DH Labs T14 silversonic speaker wire
Tekline TL 2000 RCA interconnect from the Denon L/R preouts to the Parasound amp
Glass Toslink digital cable from Pioneer to Denon

Hi Lkdog,

Maybe others could offer some more info, but I would *guess* that your $400-$500 would be best spent on modifications for your Pioneer (it's probably not really enought to buy a great DAC or one box CDP, digital cable, etc). The upgrade potential depends on the internal DACs and the design of your Pioneer. You need to discuss that with one of the mod guys. They could tell you what sort of potential your particular model has.

If the internal DACs are decent, they would probably upgrade some crucial parts in the signal path, add an IEC plug to allow different power cords, and probably upgrade the op-amps (or better yet, dump them altogether and build their own output stage). Stan Warren is probably the most reasonably priced out of the bunch (and was originally the "S" in PS Audio, so he does have a history and technical know how). You should do a forum seach, find his number, and give him a call. I talked to him once, and he told me which Pioneer players would have more upgrade potential based on the quality of their DAC chips. Many mass market players use decent Burr Brown DAC chips, but end up compromising their sonics with cheap parts and poor output stages.

His mods tend to run $250-$350, depending on the player. He may have a backlog, so it may take a while to get the work done. Still...I would bet that his $300-ish mod and a good power cord would make your Pioneer sound better than a $400-$500 one box CDP or DAC.

One non-mod option...Harmonic Technology (and maybe others??) make an adapter that will allow you to use nice power cords with the tiny little power jack on the Pioneer. They cost $45-ish. That and a good power cord should also be a noticeable upgrade on your Pioneer (especially in the bass region). Good luck...
Thanks. I have seen his name in many threads and
will explore that further.
It would be good to get a really informed opinion about this particular Pioneer as a transport and if it is a problem. I have no idea how one tells whether it is average or not.

It would seem like the DAC implementation and complimentary electronics would have more to do with sound than the actual physical transport. One might assume (maybe wrongly) that after 25 years most mfrs. have the transport down.

Time to do a little more research.