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.
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.