How do I decide on a CD player or adding a dac?

I have been trying to figure a way to find a solution to my fatigue from my digital and SS rig. I run a Pair of Odyssy Stratos Plus Mono Blocks from a Odyssey Etesian (Passive or Linestage) to a pair of Apogee C Minor hybrids. My room is very small 14 ft by 9 1/2 feet and 8 ft tall. Hardwood floors with an Inca wool rug in my nearfield listening area. No room treatments yet the wall are bare because we just moved and I wanted to have a fresh start. Nothing else is in the room, but me and my seat. Pics are on my Budget system.

I need to know if anyone has any suggestions for a source, I use a Pioneer DV 578a universal player for now and have thought about running it as a transport with an external dac, but am a bit overloaded to make a good choice. I have looked at the Dac Ah and Audio Mirror units as well as the Cal Audio Dacs. Others that have been suggestions were CIA Dac and power supply and a van Altine OmegaIII. I know just enough to get confused.

Should I get the dac and use the pioneer as a transport or should I get a new one box cdplayer. My budget is only about $350 to $400 at the most, the lite ah could be had for about $150 as can the Van Alstine.

Please help.

From some expereance with and owning odyssey, DAC-AH, and many speakers and pre's.. Gotta tell you that the Passive line is gonna be thin in general, and those speakers are going to add to it.. Come down to that DVD player and its way to much plasic in the way. Dac-Ah is a very SOLID step in getting the Digital sound out of the way, but totally tamming your issue without some additional room acoustics, better look at a smooth active pre that will sweeten the mids and bass, even better probably a warmer Tube piece, conrad johnson or Cary type thing... But I think you might want to stay away from the cheaper Rogue tube pre with this combo, I know they are all over and tempting prices. Those amps will react to anything you put in front of them, they are like Glass windows very neutral to whatever is feed, they will warm up with something warm in front.. but the speakers and your room will be a bit hard edged with that style and all Reflective surfaces that you explain in your dialog.. Try the DAC -AH, you will like it Period just because it sounds like music and is rediculously cheap, but it will not work miracles with the whole problem this way.. You need to fatten the sound elsewhere.
I said it once ..I'll say it again..YOU NEED A DAC. The Pioneer is just fine as a transport.It sucks as a source though! I use one has given me zero problems compared to $1500 and above so called quality players in the past. So for now, I wouldn't worry about it.You will hear a significant difference going to the DAC AH or any other DAC in this price range over cd players remotely close in price. No doubt the room treatments will help also. You got to start some where...start with the source.
More of the weakness of the Pioneer such as jitter? Is there any non os dacs that can reclock or reduce the jitter? Sorry for my ignorance.

Just would like to hear from someone that has compared some of these lower priced dacs.

CIA, AVA, Lite Ah, Nixon, etc.

I was told that the lite cdp cleaned the Lite ahs clock.

Just trying to make a wise investment.
Here's a link to one that does what you speak of Attraction DAC . Yes it cost more than the others, but from what I'm reading even the most expensive DACS or players in the world can't do what is claimed here. So $1200 could be considered a bargain. I'll find out soon..since I plan to buy one myself. FYI every player has matter the cost.
Gmood, if you like that DAC then I would be interested in the old one, where did you find it?