Should I add a DAC ? Which one ? Never used one?


I recently switched to a multichannel but am trying to still focus on 2 channel as I have 1200+ Jazz CDs and 50+ SACDs. I have:

Magnepan 3.6r fronts
MG 1.6qr rears
phantom center
Velodyne HSG-15 just for HT.

Bel Canto Pre6 mch preamp
CAL Audio 2500 MCA (500x5 - which can be run in 2ch mode that is like having 2 monoblocks)

Arcam FMJ DV27A
Sony XA777ES
Sony C555ES for lighter listening

Interconnects: Kimber Hero from Pre to amp; Harmonic Tech Rainbow for DVD/DVD-A; Acoustic Zen Action 7 for SACD multi; Harmonic Tech Truthlink for analog CD; Acoustic Zen MCsq digital interconnects

Speaker: Fronts- Synergistic Research Alpha X2 Active (speakon to biwire bananas); rears Proco-Fatmax 8AWG (4 stranded 11AWG); 10 guage multistrand cooper wire between exsternal X-over and speakers and between tweeter attenuator.

I have a great 14 foot wide soundstage on my long wall with good transparency and detail from side to side, not as much in depth.

Would adding a DAC improve my redbook from eitherthe Arcam or XA777 ??
I have never used one and none of my local dealers have any of the ones I wanted to try.

I was considering a used version of one of the following:
Benchmark DAC
Bel Canto DAC2
MF TriVista 21 DAC (I use to have the MF TriVista Integrated and liked it a lot with the 3.6s)

Anyone have experience between any of these players ? I have 2 Acoustic Zen MCsq digital interconnects already. Any others I should consider. Would like to stay around ~1000 if it will improve my sources, could go up to ~2000. Would I be better off buying a dedicated CD player ????????????

Would like to improve transparency and detail further if possible - while still being musical with acoustic jazz small cobo material -- I collect trumpet players.


I have 3.6 front and 2.5 rears.

As for DAC it's your ears, but I suggest a tubed output unit it will sweeten the whole system just a tad. Could be exactly what you seek. Try and borrow an AhToeb oh however you spell it. I don't think it's what you want but they're around and it could tell you if that's the direction you want to go.

I think it's in your budget, so look for one of the new Mk2 Audio Note DAC 1's.
$2000 is not a lot for separates, but if you mod the 777 to have a decent digital out (~1200) and then get a dAck! with mods ($1275), this will outperform most any player for CD playback. See this article on digital cables and transports:
You might want to consider the Audio Research DAC-5 that I have recently listed for sale here on AudiogoN. I bought it because it has the same DACs inside as the AR CD-2 player. I think it sounds better (at least in my system) than the CD-2. (I also owned a CD-2.) Anyway, look at my listing and see what you think. I had one "buyer" contact me all "hot to trot" and now he has disappeared. I still want to give him a chance to respond in case he had a computer crash or something. If you might be seriously interested in my DAC-5, I will drop the price for you.

Thanks! Steve
Have you considered an Isolation system (for far less money) as opposed to a new DAC? If you take into consideration that for a farction of the cost you may very well find your troubles elminated. I myself am in that process for my ARC CD2 and the reports (from other members) are very favorable, also as I've found out this route would be something else I'd just need to take anyway and I was lookinfg at a DAC(again as I had one before w/my Proceed PDT2) Isolation/vibration control really does make a difference. But this is a subjective suggestion.