i guess my question was too specific! anyone...?
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One thing to consider is that the Transporter will play sample rates up to 192/24 natively, whereas the Duet (and other SB devices) will only play up to 48/24 natively. So with the Duet, you are only capable of feeding your Theta 48/24. Higher sample rates are what separate Redbook from SACD, DVD Audio (and beyond). This combined with new measures for clocking and reducing jitter is what will effectively narrow the digital analog gap (and potentially eliminate the gap altogether).
Something else to consider, is that the Transporter will set you back close to two grand and right now PS Audio is running a Trade-Up special on their Perfect Wave devices (PWT and PWD). They will give you the original purchase price of your current DAC/transport (up to $1,000), which means you can get the PWD for $2,000. In case you werent aware, there is going to be a "Bridge" product available sometime later this year that will transform the PWD into a music server. I suggest you read up on this exciting new product. To my ears, the PS Audio DL-III DAC sounds better than the Transporter. The PWD is way beyond the DL-III DAC. These are exciting times for digital.
i do not have hi rez files so that is not an issue for now. i have read about the ps audio pieces and they do seem impressive. i think they are quite pricey. i still struggle with the same issue, would it just be better to invest in a better dac (then of course...which!)? i am not convinced that there is much difference in how the information is moved, more so how it is converted to analog and what happens after that point. these are challenging thoughts to me and key to moving forward with digital. i do feel some what stuck, like any change would just be a guess now anyway...but i am also convinced this is the only area that really needs honed in my system...i am very frustrated!!
I have a similar question about the whole bit/sample rate issues. First off hand what is the purpose having a DAC that up samples files to 24/192. I understand Richard frustration and suggest if you are not listening to HI-RES than I would not change the Theta DAC if you are only ripping CD @ 16/44.1 you only need a media player such as ITUNES/AIFF and keep it simple. The future is definitely musical server and red book cd will eventually die. I think at present however there are still have allot of holes and many improvements needing to be address with "the next Digital Generation".
IMO seat back enjoy your present system and let the dust settle before investing allot of time and money.
audiogalore...thanks for the input...that was my initial thought as the squeezebox sounds remarkably good. it really opened up after about 200 hours. i suppose it just brought attention to this as being my primary source and the need to bring it to the next level. the dac in my theta is around eight years old i would guess and i know things have come a long way since. just that burning desire to improve!
The OP suggested that the Transporter might be an option. It handles up to 192/24 (natively), which is very different than upsampling. Furthermore, the Perfect Wave DAC would be a monetary lateral move, since the TP costs about $2,000 and PSA would allow up to $1,000 off the PWD with a trade on the Theta. Being able to play higher sample rates natively without any upsampling is an incredible prospect. The PWD will also play higher sample rates (192 and beyond) natively (without upsampling). What this means is more information retrieval from digital music; the ability to hear the missing material that 44.1/16 (Redbook) leaves out (is not capable of producing). My point was that if you were going to spend $2,000 on the TP, you might as well get something much better for the same price. You don't have to purchase the Bridge, as the PWD will work in conjunction with the SB Duet (although, the Bridge will feature a digital lens that will take a music server to completely new territory).
I do agree with 2chlben, if you want a musical server upgrade the new PS Audio PWD with the down the road I2S bridge to interface outside and help eliminate jitter, looks like it holds great promises and also from the articles researched seem to be in the right direction with much more improvements to come.
I know how temping it is in this passionate hobby of our the desire gets bigger than our pockets. A bit pricey and we all know as we speak changes are being made that is why I still would suggest as previously discussed holding off until the dust settles.
thanks much folks. always helps me sort things out to bounce it around here. i will keep reading and poking around the forums but i think ultimately i am going to have to experiment with some different dacs. i am listening to radio paradise as i type this and it just amazes me how good it sounds. i do have the benefit of a pretty fine system (krell/wilson/mit) but that theta is unreal for it's age (and price). in response to the trade in comment, not an option now as i also use it for my pre/pro. this is another subject but i have a love hate relationship with theta. i think they made some of the finest digital equipment and pretty much created the stand alone dac but they also screwed everyone who was sold pieces based on open architecture. they have all but told folks with anything but a casablanca 3 to screw off. really bad business. i still lust for a gen viii though...