Advice Required

I have a combined HT/music system and thanks to all the advice here, I recently added a Bryston 4B-ST to drive the front L/R speakers. I am currently using a Yamaha CD player as a transport and the DACs in my B&K Ref 20 (20 bit DACs). I would like to upgrade my CD playback and am thinking of adding an external DAC and using the analog passthrough capabilities of the Ref 20. Have read some good reviews on the P3A and that is what I am thinking of adding. Am I on the right track, or would I be better off buying an all in one CD player such as the new Rega Planet 2000. Thanks and hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.
Call Wally - check his feedback at underwoodwally - he is one of the designers. I find him VERY HONEST, and willing to explain his product. Tell him I sent you (Ed Wilfong, shaqspack). PS - I have a REF 10 - is DTS worth it??
Shaqspack: I think he currently has a used one for sale on this site, 6 weeks old for 100 off the MSRP. Is DTS worth it, that is a tough one, I have about 5 DVDs with DTS (SPR,MIB, U571 and a couple of others) and I enjoy the sound. Seems to be more activity in the rear channels, but that is just my opinion. I am waiting to hear what B&K are going to charge to upgrade to the Ref 30. I am happy with the Ref 20 as far as HT is concerned, just trying to improve my 2 channel a bit. Got a Bryston 4B-ST from santa.
Hi Mikey, You might consider the MSB Link DAC with the 24/96khz upgrade also. From what I understand of the P3a, although a VERY good unit, The P1-A room correction unit (brother of the P3a), REALLY makes it shine. Bel Canto also has some excellent DAC's. As far as DTS sound is concerned, when I want to actually BUY a DVD it's a very large factor in my purchasing decision. Almost all the ones I've compared, I prefer the DTS track over the AC-3 track. (about 85-90% of the time) Plus you still get the option Dolby Digital anyway. Nice set-up you've got, you might have to splurge a bit to get an appreciable improvement over what you have, but, hey, it's a never ending quest for sonic enjoyment!!! Good Luck!
Bigwood: Thanks for the input, have you done any comparison between the MSB and the P3A. From what I understand, they would both offer me 24/96khz. I don't want the P1A right now, I can afford the DAC, but that is about it for now. Until of course upgrade fever hits again. How much do the Link DACs retail for, I suppose I could find a used one here though. Cheers.
Read the comparison between the MSB and the CAL Sigma II 24/96 DAC that they did in Stereophile before doing further research on the Link. I've heard them both and their is a noticeable difference in terms of "musicality" between the two. While the MSB might offer more "etched detail", it is WAY behind in the toe-tapping department. This is especially true if you replace the tube in the CAL with a Mullard from Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio. Sean >
Mike, I'd see about auditioning some DACs. I have a similar set-up to what you describe. B&K 202 (basically the Ref 20 with AV5000 in one chassis). Source is Marantz CC48 (Please don't laugh), Monarchy 24/96 DIP and MSB Link DAC II modified by Dan Wright. (Dwright-username). IMO the DAC's in the B&K are only so-so for stereo, if that. Going in 'Stereo Direct-Analog' via an external DAC is much, much better. I can't hardly listen to 2 channel with the digital connection FWIW. I'd venture to say you'll be quite surprised trying a decent DAC in Direct mode on the B&K. Hope this helps. P.S. I'd try the P3A, I'm looking to get a P1A soon.
Mel: The only way I can try any DACs is to order them online, I don't have any dealers in my area that carry the P3A or MSB. I am currently using the DACs in the B&K Ref 20 to decode stereo info for me. So you found a big improvement by using the external DAC instead of what is inside the B&K. My plan is basically the same as what you are doing, go with and external DAC and use the anlog bypass in the B&K. Cheers
Mike, I don't think you can go wrong with either of those products mentioned. There was an MSB in the classifieds here, last time I looked. If you bought a used one and then decided it wasn't what you want, you probably wouldn't be out much. Anyway, enjoy!

i tink yule get the biggest sonic improvement by getting an audio-only preamp - probably tubed - and run all your audio gear thru *it*. it wouldn't surprise me at all if yer current cd-player, run thru a nice tubed preamp, would sound better than it run thru an outboard dac & the b&k. and, ya don't have to give up the h-t thing - many preamps now offer a default input for a h-t processor - chosing this input defaults all controls to the h-t processor, allowing the h-t processor to control the main 2-channel speakers, etc... vtl, sonic frontiers, adcom, linn preamps are like this, i'm sure there are many others.