Pioneer PD65 needs a DAC

I have a Pioneer PD65 that I have been using as it was intended, a CD player. I don't see (or hear) any reason to replace it as a transport, I would just like to hear if I can improve upon it with an outboard DAC. I have a pair of Dali MS5's currently driven by a pair of BAT VK1000 monoblocks that I might change to either Pass X600's or Elecrocompaniet Nemo's. I am also in the process of changing my BAT VK5i preamp to a Pass X1. I listen to Classic rock, Jazz, Vocal, Classical, most type's with the exception of current rock, RAP, Hip-Hop. Not interested in ruining my equipment. Because technology is always changing in this area, I don't really want to spend thousands. But if that what it takes, please don't exclude it from your recommodations. Any advise would be appreciated.
The Musical Fidelity A324 is a good match for the PD65. I used one with the PD65 I used to have. The A324 is easily found on the used market.
I have a Pioneer PDR -05 which has the stable platter transport
mechanism. It is greatly improved when teamed with my Chord DAC 64
and also with my Krell 30i CD player which also has digital inputs so its
dac can be used. The PD 65 is a great transport at its price point and will
greatly be enhanced with a quality outboard DAC.
Buy an ECD-1. Nothing beats it at the price. Nothing.
p.s. You can bring anything over my house to compare it to.
Ligi, Rex, Imin2u, thanks for the great information. A quick question for you. Am I better off just spending a little more and replacing the Pioneer and getting a better CD player or go the route you've suggested? Imin2u, thanks for the offer. Unless your in Los Angeles...
The PD65 is a decent player, and the stable platter mechanism is pretty good, but it's old. Technology has passed it by, and if it breaks it's probably not worth repairing. It's certainly not worth modifying.

There are some VERY GOOD CD players in the $2000-3000 range that would beat a PD65/DAC combo pretty handily, IMO. Arcam, Ayre, Classe, a bunch more.
The outboard DAC will get you the best CD sound. The ECD-1 is very good stock. I recommend it for anyone that is not planning to modify their gear. It does not have good HF extension though. Rather warm sounding.

As for the Transport, the PD-65 needs help. A Superclock2 at a minimum. It also has very cheap output pulse transformer and is not well matched to 75 ohms. Mods are recommended. In stock form, you should be using a 2m S/PDIF cable. I would replace the transport with a modded Sony DVP-S7700.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks again Rex for your input. I will look into some of the brands you've suggested.
Audioengr, I have a Sony DVP7000 sitting around, is it worth having any mods done to that? And then what DAC to use with it?
Zippyy - The 7000 is built well and makes a decent transport, although not as good as the 7700. I offer a digital mod for the 7000 that is not too expensive to make it a better transport. With the mod, you can safely use a 1m cable.

As for DAC's, I have not found a better sounding DAC than the Turbomodded Perpetual Technologies P-3A. It is around $2100 for a used DAC plus all of the mods. Other DAC's, even with mods, just dont match the dynamics and liveness of the P-3A. It truly sounds like live music, but without the HF harshness of typical stock DAC's. Also, it is one of the few that actually achieves 3-dimensionality. Many have P-3A's with others mods in them, but this is a different animal. It is on the same level as the Meitner DAC for CD playback.
I am using a Musical Concepts Epoch V moded PD65. If the soundstage was deeper, I would not even consider a DAC. The Stello 220DAC (upsamples to 192?) just got an excellent review in Soundstage emag. MSRP is a mere $1195. I am waiting for the next shipment (due any day).