Time to upgrade CD transport and/or DAC?

This question has probably been asked eleventy billion times before, so forgive me if I'm not asking anything new.

For about the past 6-8 years I've been running an Audio Research CD-1 transport with a Timbre Technology DAC (balanced outputs on both). Something tells me I might benefit from replacing them with a more recent all-in-one CD player like the Cary 306/200, Ayre 7ex or Sony 777ES/9000ES--or any other equally high quality player. Or, I could simply upgrade the DAC with something more recent featuring upsampling like the Benchmark DAC or whatever.

I'm wide open to recommendations, except I'm not willing to go overboard on the $$$. Preferably, I'd buy a recent used model her on 'Gon.

Thanks for your thoughts.
I don't think you could go wrong with any of the ones you mentioned. But since you already have the transport and digital cable, I think you'd benefit from an upgraded DAC.

There is a lot of info on DACs in these forums.

Good luck! Happy upgrading lol
Output555, I would believe you would get a great change by getting a new DAC. The Bel Canto II is my favorite below the $1000.00 mark, I find it more musical/organic sounding then the Benchmark DAC. If in your budget a great step up is either a used Ensemble DAC, around $3500.00 or either a Reimyo or Accustic Arts DAC around $5000.00. All great sounding pieces, but they do have different sonic signatures, so personnal taste/system synergy does come into play.
If you can get a Reimyo DAP-777 DAC, you will think you are listening to vinyl. I love mine.

I agree with getting a new Dac will get you the most. Aside from the Benchmark, take a look at the Grace M902, or go for a used Chord DAC64
I havn't heard a lot of different DACs, but I picked up a Benchmark resently And I my Digtial Play back has taken a leap forward. But if you can I recommend trying it by it's self without a preamp, I found it to be much better.
would suggest going the upgraded dac route... you have a really good transport...

it is really sad the high res formats didnt make it. hopefully they will continue to do them for the "philes"....

there was a really good post under " Reference DACS: An overall perspective..." that offered some good insight (the question is what sonic characterics are you looking for and what is your budget ?)

it would seem the benchmark is a great choice if you want a more "detailed" dac or the bel canto for a "warmer " sound..

though i am currently looking for a used dac myself (considering the muse 24/96, theta gen v, audio research dac 3,stello, audiologic(highly reguarded and reasonably priced), and electrocompient, audio aero etc...

btw, if you can afford it ( it is reasonably priced but more that what i can afford) the tube technologies gear is the most musical digital playback i have heard to date...
You may want to consider non-oversampling DACs if you decide to upgrade in that area. There are many excellent ones out there and for very reasonable prices. Check out the Audio Mirror D1, a great deal at $550 here on Audiogon. If you want to do some research on non-os design concepts, check out the Audio Note and Sakura Systems (47 Labs) website. Good information is available there. I made the jump over to non-os and I'm not regretting it a bit. Very anaolg sounding.