Will a new Dac improve the sound?

I have an older CD player( Cary CDP1) . It sounds good ,but would a new or used Dac in the line improve the sound? Looking at Dacs in the $600 - $1200 range. I know the other equipment would also matter in the outcome, but as a general question......do you think this would be an upgrade to the sound? Or should i go another route?



Went through parallel quest 27 yrs ago, I tried a Theta Prime, Pro Basic, with Magnavox CB650 as transport. Unsatisfied with the outcome, added a full set of Conrad Johnson Premier and VTL deluxe, both full pre/power combination. Tried 2 x Krell KSA250 and vertical bi-amp. Rotated loudspeaker of many flavors to come to the realization that room acoustic was the final frontier. 


Read a lot of books and tested various passive room treatment. Still have various acoustic softwares until I came across a product name SigTech. Denis Doyle came and gone with a total of 4 units of SigTech, 1 for music room and 3 for theater, I’d learned that the combination of passive room treatment, speaker placement, and electronic room correction out weights ANY equipment upgrades in my life long pursue for good fidelity.


My humble suggestion is to look into room correction processors. Currently I’m using QEDX in three separate systems. The beauty of this is that it is a Dac, digital crossover (for subwoofer), and pre-amp. Three birds in one stone.


I just upgraded my DAC from a 2017 Meridian Explorer 2 (well-regarded desktop piece at the time)

Tried two different replacements. First was the new iFi Zen Dac Signature v2. Instantly audible improvement in all respects - five years of technological progress at desktop level. It could be an inexpensive “experiment” to see what passage of time has done to DACs. Probably need to check inputs to insure compatibility. I think easy to return if bought off Amazon - falls into the “why not try?” category of experiments

Second was Benchmark DAC3 HGC. Reaction: “oh, THAT’S what a DAC is supposed to sound like”. Not going to bother with all the adjectives. Kept it, love it.  More than your budget but I think DAC2s may be going for the right price (most of my rig is 2nd hand). Again, check connection compatibility. No MQA, to the extent you are looking for that feature. Many, many choices at that price level, of course

I use Roon/Tidal, so can’t comment on CD transport stuff, or differences between digital outputs

Haven’t done much comparison on cabling - I use Kimber “Ascent” level (2nd level from bottom) for everything - good materials, well constructed - seems sufficient to me. Let’s me keep cabling to 10% of system cost. If it were me, I’d just buy I new CD player (incl DAC) at higher budget, rather than redo cabling

Let us know what you try along the way & what you decide to to!

Have a great day

Get a used or new MHDT Atlantis R2R dac, or Pagoda if in price range. Get adapters to use 6dj8 family tubes in the 5670 sockets, and get a nice 6922, ecc88, 7308, 6n23P, CCa tube for the output buffer. Your CDP will sound more amazing than you ever imagined. Buy a really good s/pdif cable, Enjoy.


I believe yes! DAC’s change the sound for better or worse. Cannot deny by introducing a new component that differences will appear. I like my Naim nDAC It’s loaded up with great sound and functionality. 4 optical, 2 RCA, 2 BNC and 2 USB A inputs. It can charge also your phone :-) Plays all formats even Apple losless. Massive power supply and I just ordered an XPS power supply for it. The current interior DAC Transformer has three stiff power rails. It will handle the front digital aspects. The XPS Power Supply brings 6 quiet stiff DC rails and provide6 stiff power rails of DC to the quiet analogzecrion. Auditioning Power cables soon and learning abot the "Burndy" cable.