Howdy Dennis! Just a little advise from a fellow trip-hop fanatic: Don't bother with an external dac unless you are willing to buy a top notch dedicated transport. Both the dac and the transport are of equal importance, and though adding a dac to any player can and will make changes or even improvements the dac will be greatly held back from its potential if fed garbage from a poor transport. If you have under a grand a one-box solution would probably be best for your associated gear, and there are a lot of options. Personally I would think a Marantz SA-8260 SACD player might just do the trick, it's a multichannel player that just made Stereopile's class "A." If it sounds anything like the SA-14, in SACD AND for redbook, it deserves it! SACD if fantastic. I recently bought my first player just for giggles, having not been impressed by what I heard in dealer demos (aside from a $34K dCS setup), but getting SACD home has really opened my eyes, ears and mouth! The 2 dacs you mention are very good indeed as well, and if you can float $400 for a Theta Basic or PS Audio Lambda transport I'm sure you'll like them too. I liked the Musical Fidelity A3 24 much better then the Bel Canto, but deciding between them is probably nothing more then a matter of personal tastes. Good luck!
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