After much research, I decided to take the plunge and upgrade my system with the Sprout 100. My old system:
Paradigm Studio Monitor 20 V2 speakers
Onkyo TX-DS939 receiver
Onkyo C-7030 CD Player
Better cables brand speaker and interconnects cables.
The Sprout is replacing the DS939 receiver.
I had always loved the warm sound of Onkyo equipment and was pleased at the same sort of musicality coming from the Sprout on my first listenings. I wasn’t noticing too much difference in the sound stage but could tell that there was more individuality to the instruments and vocals.
Then, I decided to move the CD player from an analog connection to a direct digital via a Monster brand toslink cable. The difference was stark and immediate. The sound stage became more defined and that individuality also became noticeably bigger. Also, there was now a more immediacy to the attack of the instruments. I thought it would be a good test to bypass the Wolfson DAC in the Onkyo and take advantage of the new ESS DAC in the Sprout. And boy was it! Even though I had read that the Sprout makes extensive use of the ESS DAC, even via the analog connections, bypassing the Wolfson added much to the sound.
I have only had the Sprout for a few days now, so it still has some good burn in time to go.
I do have one question for everyone. Is there a difference in toslink cables? This monster toslink was purchased back in 1997 when I first bought the Onkyo receiver. Would upgrading the toslink make another difference in the sound?
Thank you Scott McGowan for this introduction to audiophile!