I  have been debating on whether or not to purchase an external DAC and/or update my CD/SACD equipment. Honestly I am not very knowledgeable about DAC chips and I am in need of advice. Currently I have the Pioneer DV-47A Elite for my SACD's and a Rotel RCD 990 for my CD's. All being feed thru my Marantz AV8802A pre amp. When I purchased the Pioneer and Rotel new they were considered very good equipment and  had the better DAC chips at the time. I am using the DAC chip set in the Marantz for my Rotel and the DAC chip set in the Pioneer for SACD. I am considering the Oppo 205 if i decide to update, for SACD and CD's and Blue ray, (I also do home theater). Will the chip set in the Oppo or an external DAC be superior and noticeably different than my current equipment? How does it compare to the DAC in my Marantz? My budget is about $1000 for an external DAC. I am open to suggestions for equipment and any advice. I also use my computer to stream music from Amazon and Spotify (no Tidal or Roon streaming yet).  thanks  
You may want to look into Mod for the 205. Exemplar audio (John Tucker) did mine. Really special !!!
  1. If I get the OPPO 205 I will actually replace 3 players. My 3rd player is the Samsung M8500 which is what I'm using for 4K movie content. although it seems crazy each of my players have their designated roles, CD's, SACD's, and Blue ray. It's tough to surrender the Rotel and Pioneer as they have been loyal in giving me hours of pleasure.   Sounds like the Oppo is well regarded by all of you. I thought there would be a few other pieces suggested.  thanks for your input Oppo it shall be.
     To tfl303---what exactly did you get upgraded and what did it cost?  
Just was wondering, how you set up the OPPO for CD's ? did you use the digital outputs and /or the analog outputs? I'm getting myself confused about using the chipset in the Oppo I should use the analog outputs..correct?  and for SACD the only choice would be the 7.1 analog outputs?  
To Randy -11
I have read about the Benchmark DAC, and is another consideration. thanks

Until you upgrade your sources to lower the jitter, the differences will be small.  I continue to hear audiophiles say that a $200 DAC sounds the same as a $2000 DAC, or that all DACs sound the same.  This is why I highly recommend upgrading your source or reducing the jitter from it.

Here is typical jitter from a transport:

If you intend to use a transport, then you have 2 choices: buy a very expensive transport to lower the jitter ($5K+), or use your current transport and lower it's jitter with a reclocker like the Synchro-Mesh ($599).

Once you have a low jitter source, only then can you properly audition DACs and S/PDIF coax cables.  Then you will hear the real differences and be able to make an informed choice.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to do SACD with an external DAC.  You will still need the analog outputs from your CDP.  Nothing much can be done about SACD jitter, except to mod your DAC, which will reduce jitter, but not nearly to the level of a good reclocker.  If you don't have a large SACD collection, don't bother.  Your CD collection will probably sound better than the SACDs anyway.  Treating CDs with coatings and other tweaks to reduce CD jitter are not necessary if you use a Synchro-Mesh reclocker.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio