Take a look at transports for sale here, then post for opinions, that way you get a good bang for the buck being used and info from hopefully experienced owners.
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First of all, has your Ack! DAC been broken in (~300 hrs or 400-500 hrs with the high res cap). I have owned the previous iteration of the Ack, and loss of high freq extension is inherent in its design. Although the 2.0 is suppose to fix from of problems of the previous generation, it is still a NOS filterless design and you can't fully get away from this problem. The thin sound may also be due to lack of break-in.
In the 500 range, the Pioneer CD or DVD players in this range have pretty good transports with good transports. The Panasonic DVD players seemed OK but I don't trust the reliabilty. The Denon universals suppose to have good transports but I have read reliability problems as well. I didn't try to buy used transports becuase of reliablity issues as well. The Onix CDP have a reliable transfort for $300. I would really stay away from the Toshiba, my 2 samples made unacceptible noise/vibrations. You're kinda stuck at this price range.
Thank you both for your suggestions... I have put approx. 300 hours on my dAck 2.0 so far, so it may be that it could use even a bit more time, for I did get the "high resolution" option with mine. It has plenty of extension with the simple Sony dvd player I have been using with it lately. The filterless design does some things extremely well, excelling in the area of texture, clarity, and detail. Transient attack is another area where it stands out. Compared to my previous Resolution Audio Opus 21 player, the dAck 2.0 only seems to lack a bit of the natural decay of the notes in the ambience of the music. This may have something to do with the upsampler on the Opus 21 excelling in that respect, especially on some of my older recordings.
I would like to be able to get this new system off the power grid completely, and would like to be able to find a good sounding battery powered transport for the dAck. The amp I am using is a custom made battery powered 40 w.p.c integrated gain clone amp made by Peter Daniel of the Amp Zone fame. It is a modified version of the Audiosector integrated amp he has advertised on his site. The speakers I am using with it currently are 3A MM DeCapo i's. They mate wonderfully together...
I see that Vinnie at Red Wine Audio has a battery powered transport in the making, and I am hoping that it will be within my budget. Until then, I will have to keep trying some others you have mentioned. Thanks again, and keep the suggestions coming!