Better cd SQ

Hi All,

I am considering purchasing an external DAC to use with my Marantz CD6006, trying to squeeze all the SQ from my cd's that I can. I like the sound of the CD6006, but feel like there is something better. Good idea or bad? If good, being that I know very little about DAC's, what DAC would you recommend for better SQ. My primary
Source is LP's. But I play a lot of CD's also.

All help would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,


Thats a Cirrus Logic chip in that 6006 and I would venture to guess a decent implementation, hence your current satisfaction statement with it.  Proly gonna need to spend more on the DAC than you actually would CD player. 

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You can get your CDs to sound as good as your vinyl and streaming can sound even better. The DAC would be the first step. It is a question of your transport and DAC, matched to the rest of your system.

I always look at the long term first. Do you want to improve your whole system over time? In that case each new purchase should be one level up. So, let’s say you do your DAC… then next your transport… or better yet a streamer. No reason to waste money to play the CDs you have when you can have access to millions of albums at the same or better sound quality.

But first things first what is the rest of your system. There is a place under your userID to put photos and ID your equipment. This would be really helpful for us to help you.

I think it’s a very good idea! You can greatly improve the sound of your CDs from what the Marantz has to offer.
You didn’t specify your budget though which makes recommending anything nearly impossible.

As others have mentioned, without knowing your budget it’s not possible to make an appropriate recommendation here.

HI All,

My budget is about 2k. My equipment is listed below:

Rogue Audio RP5 preamp and Hydra power amp

Rega P8 w/Apheta 3

Gold Note PH-10 w/PSU-10

Revel PerformaBe M126Be w/M stands, SVS SB-1000

Marantz CD6006

Hope this will help.







TMR is running a special on PS Audio Direct Stream DAC. Under $2,000 and I suggest you snatch one up while supplies last. That’s probably your best bet within that budget. 

I’m running a $550 Audiolab 6000CDT into a Denafrips Pontus ll DAC that I believe is currently around $1700US.

All the Best.

You really need to state how you feel your current CD player is lacking.  What exactly is missing??  You can change the sound in many directions but without knowing what you are looking for suggestions become random reflecting what a given member values.  

What do you value?

You can buya Eversolo A8 streamer ,dac , server and just buy a external dvd drive 

and better cable , play your CDs,rip them once you buya easy to install Solid state drive you can play digital radio,orTidal,orQobuz. Fora huge music library playing all Flac files , just buy decent Ethernet cables , and Ethernet hub , time to move with the times , and the external drive will sound far better then what you have .

set the streamers filter to Slow roll off off filter and very smooth sounding. 

I used to have the marantz CD6005. Now have the Jay's CDT2-MK3 with gustard x26 pro. The difference in sound clarity and overall presence is HUGE. I know it's way above your price range, but just making the point that you have lots to gain in moving up from the CD6005. I also used the Cambbridge CXC, better but nowhere the improvement of the Jay's. I hope you will find a way to enjoy your CDs as much as I do. And I run streaming and vinyl too.

+1 for Denafrips Pontus II 12th DAC, about $1,800 at current exchange rates at Vinshine Audio....can be purchased new for a little over $1,800 new with free shipping. Hundreds of positive reviews, sounds more analog than most DACs, US based service center, release updates a couple of times a year, and Alvin Chee at Vinshine is a great guy to deal with.

I've had mine for a couple of years now, and it has remained stellar even though I have upgraded components around it....never thought it was a weak link

A solid Dac choice would be the smart next step. Without knowing exactly what the cirrus chip and output stage of the Marantz may render in tonality and stage characteristics, hard to say exactly what will differ.  It 2k for a dac would get you a jump in quality regardless! Cables do matter, and even digital outputs (and even between dac inputs) can differ in terms of results. But overall, something with a good balance of stage, clarity and spaciousness like a r2r dac would be great. Since you’re running tubes, however…delta sigma might be the right offset? Who knows. 

so many choices, but if you’re not particularly worried about digital input choices and are looking for something kinda special, for around $1700 the ANK DAC 2.1 Signature might be nice with your setup (tried posting a link but got blocked). I think that’s a kit? More to have it assembled. 

That PS audio recommendation would also be really nice with your setup (assuming here). But there are amazing offerings like the Gustard R26, Musician Audio Pegasus II, mentioning these as they are reviewed to hit well about their asking price in terms of tonal balance and performance. But like I said, it doesn’t have to be R2R to be engaging and beautiful, wide and deep while being true to source. I was lucky enough to find a used Okto Research Dac 8 stereo. Most balanced and beautiful dac I’ve ever heard and it’s a very carefully designed ess Sabre implementation. 

But good to consider a dac that you can later try with a decent transport since you enjoy the CD format. Yes, there are amazing new all in one’s that can attach an external drive, but I can respect (and prefer) the possibilities with separates. 

"No reason to waste money to play the CDs you have when you can have access to millions of albums at the same or better sound quality."

Such nonsense. 

Amour-all your cd's for a 20% improvement in dynamics....don't laugh.  Try it, you'll like it !

You’re at the bottom. there are many levels of upgrade from there. the first one is what you propose, an external DAC. It is easy to beat the onboard DAC. But to get a good audiophile DAC you’ll need a few grand. In the budget DAC area, $1k or so, look at Schiit. Then when you have an excellent DAC, you might want to iprove your CD transport. And of course you could spend money on a streamer (another several K) and subscribe to Qobuz and have CD quality by streamping with almost unlimited library.

Long term, the DAC is the heard to a digital system and you can keep upgrading it.  If you found $20K that you forgot you had, I would not criticize you for spending it all on a DAC.

I've owned quite a few DACS and CD players over the years and I now have a state of the art setup (Jay's CD3 Mk III, Berkeley Alpha Reference Series II MQA DAC). My system sounds better than it ever has but the addition of a single digital component has never been a big leap in sound quality.

My advice is to buy a well regarded used DAC and see if you can hear an improvement. Once nice thing about adding a DAC to a CD player is that you can easily compare the sound of the Marantz DAC with the new one. Some people claim to hear a huge difference in DACs and you may be in that category. Many blind tests, however, have shown that when the listener doesn't know which DAC they are listening to, they can't tell them apart. If you want to climb on the DAC treadmill then buying used is a good way to go because you don't lose a lot of money if you upgrade your way to finding the holy grail.

I'm in the exact same boat as you, OP. I also have the CD6006. It sounds pretty good to me until I spin some vinyl on my budget setup. Relative to my vinyl, the CD6006 sounds a little grainy and veiled. I tried the Gustard R26 for a month and didn't feel it improved SQ to any great degree. The Pontus is an attractive option I'm looking at but at the same time, maybe the lesson is, I'm not a digital guy. 

I too have a 6006 used as transport initially to my PS Audio gain cell dac. Decided to upgrade from GCD got a ARC LS 25 and Pontus and was a nice improvement. I also stream and LP wit P6.

Denon DCD A110…Quad differential Burr Brown 1395’s…a handful of these are hitting our shores by end of month.  As close to vinyl as you are going to get with better dynamic range and lower noise floor.  Price will be extremely sweet…I am not a dealer nor am I affiliated with anyone, just a passionate audiophile who has been through the mill and happened across this special player.

Check out Ferrum Wandla DAC if you can. No personal experience, but got fantastic reviews, Stereophile rates it A+ and says it competes with DAC’s costing $10K or more. They also worked with HQPlayer to incorporate a few of HQ’s more popular filters into the DAC (user selectable of course). A bit over your budget, but not by much. I think it’s $2800 (without the upgraded HYPSOS power supply).

I've got a Marantz SA 8005 CD/SACD player. It's very nice and has the guts (DAC chip, etc.) to sound fine. But...I picked up a PS Audio UltraLink DAC at an estate sale for $25 (yes, that's right), and, well.... Admittedly, the UltraLink is very slightly louder than the Marantz; also, the UltraLink won't play DSD, so I listen to SACDs through the Marantz' internal DAC. But I can switch between the Marantz and the UltraLink with the remote to A/B compare them on Red Book CDs, and I always prefer the sound of the UltraLink. It's hard to describe the difference; the UltraLink just sounds more like live instruments, less like "reproduced" music. But, again, there's nothing wrong with the SQ coming from the Marantz. So, yeah; a stand-alone DAC can up your game in subtle but compelling ways.

Addendum to the PS Audio UltraLink note above. Robert Harley, in Stereophile, loved this DAC. His "Conclusion" begins like this: "The PS Audio UltraLink offers many aspects of high-end digital processor performance at an unprecedented price. The product's soundstage transparency, focus, sense of air, and palpability have not been equaled at this price level, in my experience. Indeed, the UltraLink rivaled the $14,000 Mark Levinson No. 30 in these areas. Moreover, the UltraLink's resolution of transient leading edges and dynamics were superb by any measure. The overall presentation had much more in common with state-of-the-art digital processors than with comparably priced competitors." 

However, this review dates from 1992! I've read several testimonies in this forum that remark on how much better DACs have got in recent years. If that's so, and the 32 year old UltraLink still sounds unambiguously better than a higher-end and fairly recent Marantz SACD player...well, the implication is that the OP would be wise to do what he's considering doing.

I just purchased a Denefrips Pontus ll. It's still settling in but it's a treat so far. 

Remember this if a CD is not done well it won't make silk out of a sows ear. A good CD sounds wonderful 👍

Forgot to mention a used Weiss Dac would be a great option if you could swing it!


I have the CD6006, also had the 30n SACD...I wouldn't go much above a Denafrips Ares 12-i or Schiit Bifrost 64/2...above that I would get a better CD Player or separate transport and DAC...the Marantz 30n SACD sounds better than the CD6006 if you like the Marantz sound, and also offers streaming...

Used price Zeiss DAC 204 would be difficult to beat.  Best of luck on your journey.

+1 for the Denafrips Pontus II. I have had mine 3 years and it has performed flawlessly while sounding amazing. IMO, a high quality external DAC is definitely the way to go instead of a new CDP for future upgrades and flexibility. I listen almost exclusively to CDs with occasional streaming. I have both my Bluesound Node 2i streamer and my newly acquired Jays Audio CDT2 MK3 transport plugged into the Pontus II. I highly agree with @baylinor regarding the significant SQ improvement of the Jay’s Audio over my previous transport and the value of upgrading transports if you listen to a lot of CDs.

+1 mksun for Jay’s.  Just installed Jay’s CDT 3 MK3 transport into my wife’s system and it is revelatory.  Never experienced a transport with such detail, sound stage and overall authority.  Previously, best transport was a CEC belt drive.  And it was quite good….until its demise.

Mojo Mystique 3, Luxman 509X, ATC 20 passive plus other good stuff.

 @corelli +1

@nic919 not every DAC is going to sound the same and you may be left wanting by simply just taking someone else's random "I own and like". Define for yourself what sound characteristics are important to you and then research off of that to find DACs with that general profile.

+1 @facten @corelli

@nic919 If you’re comfortable with trying a couple of very different dacs on credit with fair return policies, then your best bet is to sample them with a well made digital coax cable. At least to experiment and find where improvements occur relative to your setup. It’s always a bit of a gamble, but you don’t know what will work until you try it. Logic has it that transports these days will -in general- render better results, but many CD players also do a very decent job of clocking and signal isolation for their digital output stages.

Regardless, so much of this is about learning to associate these characteristics described by others with what you are already hearing in your own system - hence trial and error.

Best of luck and enjoy the music 🙏🏼👍🏼


Someone mentioned the Denon DCD-A110. 

while a stunning player, in no universe can it be found for anything close to $2,000. 

 That Denon is $2499 including shipping at Accessories4less ... it is a factory refurbished

i too am a vinyl guy. My listening priorities are Vinyl, Qobuz streaming, then CD’s. I have the Marantz CD6007. It is the weakest link in my system, but don’t care (CD’s being by far my lowest priority).
The Marantz does sound SIGNIFICANTLY better with an external DAC. I have a Chord Qutest. I chose it over the Denafrips as space in my rack is at a premium, but either would be solid choices. 

Then I recommend you get a streamer. I went with the Aurender N150, but there are several great choices out there. Good luck. 

One more thing… while others may disagree, and every component choice is important, IMHO I believe your DAC choice will have the largest impact on sound of any digital component. Similar to your cartridge on the vinyl side or speakers on your overall system. Again IMHO.