Theta DS Pro Gen V or newer?

System details: I presently have a Sony DVD (S560 if memory serves) as a transport, and I just sold my EAD DSP 7000 d/a. A new transport will follow the purchase of a d/a. The d/a will be connected to the Coda Technologies FET 04r preamp with balanced audioquest Viper. Balanced Viper also connects my preamp to my Coda Technology Model 11 amplifier. Biwired audioquest Midnight III connects to my North Creek Music System Rhythm Revelator loudspeakers.

I am on the verge of buying a replacement d/a, which is the subject of this thread. I am strongly considering a Theta DS Pro Gen V for around a $1000.00. My question is this: could a $1000 be spent better (i.e. should I get a newer $1000 d/a like an Assemblage or MSB piece that won't have the parts or build quality of the Theta but will have some newer features like 24/96 processing ability)?

It seems to me that over the last half-decade or more most of the resources of the “big boys” in the industry have been devoted to AV products, with little or no significant development occurring in the top end 2 channel d/a products. I know that dCS, Meridian and a few others have some new noteworthy 2 channel d/a’s, but $1000 won’t even get me a short peek at those pieces. I can observe the changes due to the “trickle down” from the top end products’ features/qualities to the lower end products over the same half-decade, and this is the crux of the question. With a $1000 in mind, are there really any better products than a Gen V? Build quality matters, and parts picks make audible differences in sound quality. I know it's such a broad question, but here are some of my considerations:
1. I need solid analog output section. This is very important for everyone, and is very frequently overlooked. Theta's analog section is truly top shelf to my ears.
2. Upgradable. The Theta is totally upgradable, but it can be quite expensive. Some other brands are upgraded too. The thing about upgrades is that sometimes they just don’t make any economic sense. So, this isn’t a huge factor for me.
3. Given the Red Book standard and all the experience/hype about 24/96 upsamplers and such, is a newer d/a a better move now? It’s my understanding that the Gen V can only pass 48K, but would have the ability to take advantage of the 24 bit input of an upsampler.
Thanks for your thoughts,
Theta informed me of a 24/96 sampling digital chip upgrade available early 2002 no need for up sampling with external component.
You should really look at the EVS Millenium II (great parts and upsampling), the Bel Canto DAC 1.1 used or the Perpetual Tech P-3A with Modwright parts swap (this mod is covered by their waranty). A DAC with a newer chipset makes a very big difference and all three of these dacs promise reasonable upgrade paths.
I recently bought a used Va for just under $1000 and like it reasonably well. I've been able to do close comparisons to the Audio Research CD2 one-box unit and to one of the "pro" Sony cd recorders, which is at a wildly lower pricepoint, but presumably has a newer chipset. Paired with a Theta Data II, I think that the Va is noticeably better at resolving bass detail than the Audio Research, but a bit less balanced; on the whole, I think it is a small improvement. It blows the Sony away: big surprise.

I'm concerned about the upgrade path, though. The Gen V Theta has been on the market for quite a few years, and I would have thought that a new version would already have been timely.
I've had my Gen Va for 5 yrs. and decided to try one of the new upsamplers just to see if I was missing anything {It was the Bel Canto 1.1 } While very good for the money the BC just wasn't in the same class as the Theta.
Thanks for the post.

Have you tried any of the outboard upsamplers that aren't D/As? I was probably going to try an upsampler between the transport and the D/A. Most have money back guarantees.

Do you want to sell your Va? If you could afford a new one 5 years ago, maybe you should pop for Meridian or dCS or something;)

Thanks again,
I've never tried an upsampler between my transport and DAC. Thanks for the offer but I think I will hang on to my Theta. It is the one piece of equipment that has stood the test of time. I'll probably get the 24/96 upgrade or just wait for the full Gen 6 upgrade. Good Luck!
When will the Gen 6 be released? if you look at stereophile recommended components the Gen 6 has been a "K" for upcoming for many yrs.

I love Theta's Pro Basic III. The sound stage is frightening (like my Thiel's)