I would look closely at the Rega Isis player; well into the very top class and some have been floating around for a semi-reasonable price i.e. $5k or so. Should easily equal anything under $10k. Do I have one? No; I have the Rega dac, which is quite good but nothing like the Isis. Extrapolating from its performance and the reviews on each in HIFICRITIC the Isis is a great product.
My opinion is that if you are willing to spend up to 10k for a DAC to bring your system to another level you should spend the time auditioning the contenders in your system. There really is no other way. I suppose you could just audition in an unfamiliar system but I'm not a true believer in "triangulation", or discerning what component is specifically doing what, especially in an unfamiliar system. If you have a local audio group, it might be a means of auditioning otherwise I would look for a dealer or distributor that will allow you to listen before deciding. 10K is serious money for a serious listener, I'm sure there are dealers that would be willing to let you try first. btw the W4S with the upgraded caps is in my experience a great DAC for the money but for 10K I'm certain you can get considerable refinement, the question would be, Is it worth it to you? Only you can decide that, not other opinions.
I totally agree with you about auditioning the components I mentioned. I did that with my cables via (the cable co.) I invested quite a bit of money in my system so far and was just looking for members opinions and thoughts on higher price DACs or CD players that would possibly work with my recent system. Thats all. Stanwal mentioned the ISIS CD PLAYER. Like to go the next level of detail, wider soundstage,better separation of instruments,so on and so on.
If possible, expand your budget (slighty), and try to talk this guy down in price a bit...
I own the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC and transport...it soundly beat a modded Meitner Bidat/ CEC transport combo as well as a T + A $5K CDP. I'm getting the MK II upgrade next month and this should take it to an even higher level. The PW transport is essentially a memory player and, according to many, is simply the best transport you can buy for SQ when used with its I2S connection. I have friends who replaced their Esoteric and Mark Levinson transports with the PW. A new retail MKII DAC and transport will retail for $8k in January.
If you have no need for a transport and you want to spend all of your budget on a DAC, I would audition the Bel Canto 3.5 vb and the midrange MSB dacs in addition to the dCS.
Personally, I set my budget limit for digital at $5k because of the current pace of innovation. I think some people are going to be shocked by how quickly some very pricey units are going to look "old" when compared to affordable DACs on the horizon. I could well be wrong, but it's already crazy what you can get for $1,000 compared to what that would get you just a year ago.
I think a dedicated CD player, especially an expensive one, could be a big mistake. Music sourced from computers/hard drives driven through the better software and lastest DACs already seems to be matching and even bettering what some of the best dedicated players are capable of with CDs much less what the hi-rez downloads can produce (read the latest Absolute Sound article on what the current capabilities are with J River, Jplay, etc.). So I'd advocate going the DAC route with an eye toward the future. Whether it's Weiss, Bel Canto, dcs, etc., only you can decide, but I think at least some of them have demonstrated an ability to upgrade to maybe lessen the price of avoiding future obsolescence.
Personally I haven't gotten my computer audio source off the ground yet, but it's so obvious it's going that way that it's pretty silly to live in denial any longer. Best of luck in whatever you choose.
Lol. Spend half of that on a computer/dac combo and get better sound than any cdp, and give the rest to feed the homeless.
Check out the well reviewed Ayon CD5s, can be had in your price range. Is computer ready and has transport, DAC and preamp all in one, making for a cleaner signal path.
You already have a great tube Tri CD player. I'll probably try upgrading the caps and 12AU7 tube of the Tri CDP first. Although I have not used any DAC with my system.
The most important thing in any digital audio system is the master clock and the jitter of that. Therefore, I recommend you replace your Transport or reclock it with a good reclocker with a low-jitter master clock in it. Reclocking will probably beat even the best transports. The W4S is fine.
>I really want to take my system to another level.<
Buy a turntable......
Thanks for ALL your Responses. Still have not made up my mind yet. I am considering transferring my CD and vinyl collection to a music server and
downloading hi rez music on to my Mac. Still green on how to do all of that.
I spoke to John Ruttan from (AudioConnection here in NJ) today and I am going to meet with him about different options. He also sold me my 5A's. Very intelligent and honest guy who is very familiar with the Vandersteen/Pass Labs combo. Thanks again to all and Happy Holidays.
I searched long and hard for the best digital I could find without regard for cost . After much listening and about a year of dragging home more unit's than I can remember , I ended up with an Ayre C5MP CD player and Audio Research DAC8.
Not only is the pair the best digital I've experienced but it surpasses all analog rigs I've heard too. The pair is just within your reach.
I almost bought the A R dac 8 bought aftercarefully testing it against
The Weiss 202 and the new Skylla -2 dac The Skylla was a revelation
More 3 dimensional much to do with the 8 tubes init and the 1704k dacs 2 per channel are considered by many the best Ever made . Burr Brown
Stopped production of these in the late 90 s for these were just to costly got hand to hand trim .The build quality is the best I have seen , also the preamp section inside is exceptional and the equal to many very good
Preamplifiers at 35lbs. The 3 R core transformers from Japan are are custom built , the many Zmundorf capacitors are of 1 percent
A pure Clas A -0 feedback Design using 4-6 x4 rectifier tubes for the over built power supply, and 2- 6h30 super tubes per channel for the preamplifier section and there is even several gain settings to make this a good match For the majority of amplifiers out there. A great Analog
Sounding digital product that will compete easilly with the great turn tables
Without he hassles.I am using the Superb Bryston digital player and
Use a mpad app through my IPad . My whole library through a 1T
Seagate USB drive and even have all the album cover art, and choice
Of digital cables is very important . I am using the Wireworld Platinum
USB cable , as well as a Wireworld Platinim digital cable.
Now with current digital technologies getting better and 24-196
Down loads as well as 24- 96 master recordings this is the future and soon
Even Hi Rez thumb drives will be available .