Would this be an upgrade?

Hi- I've been using a Theta Miles cd player which is the balanced version and like it alot. But, I have a Sony 9000es dvd player and was wondering if I add a dac to that would it sound better? The dacs that I was interested in are the Theta Basic IIIa and the Classe DAC-1.
Please let me know if anyone has any ideas or feedback on this.

Thanks Jim
Theatre has better digital tech and Classe. Suggest you should consider this as DA.

Also, Sony 9000es is very good in vocal performance. I dont feel anything you lose if using it as CD Transport.

Bear in mind that it has SACD decoding option as well.
Lafish, your 1st sentence is confusing. Could you translate?

Jim, How does your Sony sound compared to the Theta on redbook CD's?
Hi Rockvirgo, The Theta sounds much better than the Sony on redbook Cd's. The Theta's soundstage is much wider and better overall. And the bass is much better.
I heard that the dacs in the Theta are the same as Theta's Pro Prime IIa. But this brings up another question, how much better is the Basic IIIa's dacs than the Pro Prime's?
Thanks Jim
I owned the Pro Basic IIIa for a few years. When I was deciding on which level of Theta I wanted I auditioned all of their products. IMHO the Pro Basic IIIa was clearly superior to the Pro Prime IIa. If the Pro Prime IIa is a 6, then the Pro Basic IIIa is an 8. I was a very happy customer and appreciated the 'drive' and 'pace' that came out of the Theta products. I drove mine however with the Theta transport and do not know anything about the Sony as a transport.

I have owned the balanced version of the Theta Miles and the Sony DVP-S9000ES. I agree that the Theta was far superior to the Sony for redbook playback. I also used the Sony with a very good DAC and Digital cable (Birdland Odeon Lite, Nordost Silver Shadow) and I feel the Theta was still better.

The Sony is a nice unit, but it is not up to the level of the Theta or my current CD player (Cary CD-308). Even as a transport, I preferred my Theta vs the Sony.

Hope this is helpful.


Jim, I had both the Prime IIa and Basic IIIa as my main Dacs running off a Data Basic II transport. The sonic difference is most noticeable where runs of notes are played closely together. For example, on the song Glad from Traffic's John Barleycorn, over the IIIa the recurring piano riff takes on added dimension. The riff sounds more cascading than before, the individual notes more identifiable, its musical identity more evident. The IIIa also lets you hear more deeply into densely layered mixes. For example, on the Beatles Abbey Road version of Here Comes the Sun, it's easier to latch on to the electronic keyboard part. It's not that it sounds louder in the mix but the increased clarity allows you to follow this sometimes buried melody all the way through. When I first heard it through the IIIa it was exciting, like a new discovery.

One could say the Basic IIIa dissembles the performance more, making each part more distinguishable from another. By comparison, because it doesn't call attention to these fine details, the Prime IIa sounds more relaxed. Which one is more "correct" is anybody's guess. Bottom line and maybe most importantly, the move to the Basic IIIa ended my search for something better than the IIa. If you go that way, let's hear how the IIIa mates using the Sony as a transport.
SONY DVP 9000ES even as SACD player is inferior to 7 years old ARCAM CD player (long time ago I have tried this CD Player Arcam Alpha 6 with some Theta DAC - do not recall which one, and it was far beyond reach of SONY) not surprising if Arcam alone was better/equal then SACD, more details you can read here:

SONY S9000ES is pretty sensitive to power cable (& therefore power conditioning). You may try different cables with it. Did not own THETA, many think they are good tranports. As a CD player, S9000ES can't compete with those top rated ones. As a SACD player, Only better SACD players or >6K range CD players can beat it.
I will not count one or two specific CD/SACD to do comparison for hi-fi gears. You need to live with them for a few months, rotating enough CD's or LP's on them. During that time, you might find easy tweak to improve them for fair comparison. So my trying period is usually two months at least. For example, ARC DAC5 did not impress me in the beginning. Then, I found canare digital cable with BNC connector feeding to DAC5's input(also BNC), that improve sound significantly and BNC/RCA adaptor is the cause of sound degradation. Another example, I leveled Accuphase transport and add isolation foot after first month, which greatly improve the sound. I have been living with S9000ES for >1 year now. Try other transport/DAC from ML, ARC, Accuphase, P1/P3... (either bought or borrow). For redbook, of course S9000ES is not as good as others. But compare SACD with CD playback. I would say those redbook gears are getting close but not better. Never hear ARCAM, can't comment. If it is that good, why it did not kill all the giants 7 years ago.
I have used both old Arcam 6 and Sony with supplied power cables. You said that SONY 9000ES as SACD could be better only by >6k$ others SACD player. Unfortunately this is not me and my wife heard, it was better by 300GBP 7 years player. I was so disappointed that I'm going to invest money in better CD (Wadia/Naim ???) not interested in SACD any more at least not from SONY for time being.
And I do not think so that Arcam is that good, I think that SONY is much overrated. I had for a few months P1/P3 it was big improvement with Arcam (totally different league them SACD SONY), but it was causing so much interference with AV-equipment so I have sold it. Perpetual Technologies units are poorly screened. Bought SONY with big expectations and was shocked how big downgrade it was to ARCAM+P1+P3+PowerSuply.

Sorry this is just what I heard. I'm not impressed at all and I personally do not believe that any tweak will make this SACD player contender to high quality CD Player. Of course my personal opinion, by any means I'm not a guru here.

Try P1/P3(D.W. Mod one) with S9000ES as trasport. The same DAC I try Accuphase, ML transport also. Although I agree the two transports are better than S9000ES, the margin is not big enough for a few thousand more. Playing a good SACD, I think it is still slightly better than the already nice tranport/DAC set up. People tend to find the same music to compare, but I don't think it is a must. Especially when the music is mastered by different equippments different engineers at different time, too many factors confuse me. I usually just find the many good sounding SACD's and CD's, and see which format has better sound to my ears.

Since S9000ES is very sensitive to power cable, you may try different power cables or IC's. That's my point, live with it for a while, make sure it is broken in and rotate different cables and CD/SACD's. The judgement for one IC/cable and 2 or 3 CD's may be too early.
Very often, A is better than B on specific IC or CD, while B is bettern than A on specific IC/cables.

In my experience, P3 takes at least 10~15 min to warm up. If you A/B things too quick, it is possible P3 is not in a stable condition. My way of A/B audio component is to spend 2~3 hours on one piece listening to many CD's/cables. Next time, do the same for aonther piece. Repeating this for a few times. It might take you weeks, but you can tell if fatigue bothers you or if majority of CD collections like A more than B. I mean tens of SACD and hundreds of CD's. If we trust one or two disks only, there is a danger that the disk maybe a bad reference for all. There are some remastered SACD is not as sweet as original CD, but that doesn't count for all cases. A true DSD SACD recording is hard to beat by CD format. The reason I know S9000ES sensitive to cables, P3 needs warming up is because I spend many months of audit to know them well.

I did not hear ARCAM before, so I have no right to say good or bad about it. SONY's high is brighter at high, especially for CD. I guess most of us agree the negative of most SONY CD players. But every audio component has its weak point, there is no perfect one. You can tweak it or go to other player looking for other sound. SONY is not in my music only system now(storing $$ for Accuphase or Chord DAC), but I won't say its SACD is "so so". It is pretty good to my ears, plus its price now is far lower than most of high end stuff. I have not heard a CD player within 5~6K range can conclusively beat its SACD.