Transport and DAC pairings

So I recently switched from using a CDP with balanced output to a DAC and transport. I have the Northstar Design 192 MK II units connected with a higher end I2S cable. I wanted to have the flexibility of separate components so I can swap things out as technology improves, etc. Also, with a recent system change, the small footprint of these components was very useful to me ergonomically.

Of course, if you read the reviews on the Northstar stuff, it is best when the DAC and transport are connected via the jitter-eliminating I2S connection. My experimentation with other digital cables has proven this to be true.

So my question is -- how much do I lose if I want to try a different DAC, but at this point will be stuck using a regular digital connection (AES/EBU or SPDIF) between the transport and the DAC?

For example, there are some good deals on Bryston DACs right now (which also have a nice small footprint), and this DAC is said to virtually eliminate all jitter. So does this mean that even without the I2S connection, I can compare the Bryston DAC via AES/EBU and the Northstar DAC via I2S?

I surely know that one answer is try it and see, but I guess I'm questioning whether -- by buying a DAC and transport combo that sounds better via its proprietary connection, that I actually have precluded being able to readily compare either the transport or DAC on a one-off basis to competing products via a standard connection.

thanks for your insights.

I realize in re-reading my post that I got a bit off track from my more general question. I suppose what I'm trying to discover is if there are transport and DAC combinations (either of the same brand or different ones) that are particularly compelling in folks' experience? And what types of connections are you using?
try MSB tech and new ilink there is no better sound. detail and bass can't be touched
So my question is -- how much do I lose if I want to try a different DAC, but at this point will be stuck using a regular digital connection (AES/EBU or SPDIF) between the transport and the DAC?

DACs that use an async sample rate converter like the Benchmark DAC1 are virtually independent of the transport. That has been my experience with the few players I tried with my DAC1.

Does anyone know how much jitter between the transport and DAC there has to be before it would be obvious?
FWIW I went from the Northstar combo using the I2S cable to using the CEC TL-51X and Lessloss DAC 2004 MkII. The CEC/Lessloss combo slaves the TL-51X to the DAC using a clock cable in addition to the digital cable. IMO the Lessloss approach offers an alternative yet compelling approach to reducing jitter and providing excellent sonic results in the process.

I have also used the Northstar transport with the Monarchy Audio M24 DAC. In this set up I used the balanced digital output on the Northstar with 24/96 upsampling engaged. The M24 would accept and reproduce this signal. The sound was very good and in some ways I liked it better than the 24/192 signal generated by the I2S connection with the Northstar combo.

I wouldn't be afraid to try the Northstar transport with other DACs. You might be surprised at the results.
thanks all -- most appreciated. clio09, I'm curious what you were trying to improve on in switching out the Northstar gear?
My intent was not really on improving the Northstar combo as I think it is very good. I was always intrigued with the CEC/Lessloss combo and when one came up used here I jumped on it.

In my comparisons I came to the conclusion that the CEC/Lessloss combo was smoother, more dynamic, and presented a larger soundstage. I believe that overall the components are built better as well.