Should I Upgrade DAC & CD Player or just DAC ??


Standard Member

My current setup uses a Blu Ray Player as source to play audio CDs , which is connected to V-DACII via optical toslink , I am currently trying to considerably improvise my setup and Im in a dilemma wether I should Upgrade just my DAC or should I get a dedicated CD Player as well ?

Im cosidering getting the Rega DAC , But please suggest Would getting the Rega Apollo R considerably improve what I hear than Usign My existing Blu Ray player + Rega DAC?

My initial impression was that a CDP is just a source and its the DAC that does the main processing , But Im seeing a lot of people getting DAC as well as the CD Player of the same product line and I fail to understand why.

Source : Laptop, Panasonic BDP
Amp : Cambridge Audio 650A , NJC Monitor II
Processor: V-DAC II + V-PSU II
Output : Monitor Audio BX2 , Hifiman HE-400


Active Member
There's gonna be loads of different points of view on this, but I think the player is just a transport if you're using a digital out to a separate DAC. Why not try just the DAC to start with and see what happens?
I know that people talk about lowering jitter with better CD transports, but I can't say if there's really any audible difference. Personally I think that once the digital info has been extracted from the disc most of the work is then left to the DAC to put things back together again and therefore that's probably gonna be the biggest difference in sound.
I'm interested to hear what others think though.


Active Member
I went through a few DVD / CD + DAC combinations.
If you are using an external DAC then changing the transport won't make much difference, IMO.

However, I did get major differences in performance between an Airport Express and a DVD player which were theoretically sending the same data to the same DAC. Whether this was a jitter issue or failure to configure my PC playback correctly was never resolved, but it suggests that there is a small chance that the transport can make a difference.

I listened to both a VDACII and an Audiolab MDAC and found a slight improvement with the MDAC, but it was only slight to moderate, in the scheme of things. I suspect that the Rega DAC will also be only a slight improvement. I got an improvement using a regulated Maplins linear power supply with my VDAC II, so that may be worth a try for a cheap incremental upgrade (ah.. just seen you have a VPSU II already).

I also had a CA 640A V2. I believe the 650A is similar, though tweaked in the treble. I got a huge improvement by changing my amp for a Cyrus 6XP - and then again by adding a power amp.

Don't take this the wrong way but your MA BX2s are fairly modest, and - assuming they are already positioned as well as possible - changing those will make a bigger difference than anything else. Whether to change those or the amp first is a subject for endless debate. Either way, I think your source is outclassing your amp and speakers.

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