Do dac upgrades involve cd playing?

I play only vinyl or fm to listen to music, but do record cd’s from vinyl on a tascam cd recorder to put on my iPhone or give to friends . I’m absolutely ignorant of most things digital, but recently realized (duh) that cd’s played through a dac will sound WAY better than through the tascam. My wife has boxes of cd’s.

So, my question: do periodic dac upgrades impact/improve cd play? If I don’t have an interest or motivation in streaming or playing files other than cd, should I be paying attention to upgrades? Suggestions for a dac, new or used, for simply playing cd’s? Many used DACs, and of course PSA gear, say they can be upgraded, which has prompted my prompted my concern and highlighted my ignorance.

Thanks in advance


Now, off to spend the day under my ‘85 Mercedes turbo diesel wagon, so not ignoring any helpful suggestions or answers.


Improved DAC firmware update will improve all digital sources, including CD. PS Audio is one of the very few companies who issue updates (which are actually upgrades on most occasions).

Before commenting on possible DACs it would be helpful to know what components you have in the rest of your system.

P5, B&K Pro 10 MC sonata series preamp, B&K EX 442 sonata series amp, Ohm Walsh 4 speakers with refurbished drivers. Decent (I think) interconnects and functionally 11 gauge speaker cable all terminated with eti/Eichman bullet and rca. For vinyl I’ve got a b&o table with a top soundsmith cartridge. I added a Musical Surroundings Nova Phonomena that really made a difference. They also made a dac, but I haven’t been able to find one used.

As you can tell by the above, I’m likely looking at the used market. For example, and what prompted my question, is a used Wired4sound dac that can apparently be sent off to be upgraded. I didn’t know if it would make a difference if all I use it for is cd’s.


Ripping your CD collection to computer files saves the hassle of loading discs and disc wear. Cataloging is simple. You can rip your entire collection, and store it on a hard drive, as well as load it on a DAP for full portability.

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It’s fascinating how good CD‘s (not only hires) can sound over the DS DAC. Not sure if there’s a better DAC playback for CD‘s/redbook filesup to a few times it’s price.

I have several redbook files which sound way better with it than 70 % of SACD‘s/hires of other recordings. A hires file of the same recording certainly is better sounding than the redbook file.

No interest in storing or playing or moving music from a computer. And even less in learning how to do it. I only want some music on my iphone (cd to itunes to phone) to play through a bluetooth speaker in the cup holder on my clicgear golf cart. Ear buds fall out when I swing. I can spend hours and hours replacing a sunroof seal, or removing and replacing parking brakes without being overcome by frustration, but a computer has me ready to jump out a window in 10 minutes.

For the cost and quality/resolution of my system, I’m thinking a used nuwave dsd dac might be just the ticket if I can find one, though I won’t have the advantage of upgrades. A reviewer was most impressed with its dynamics, and that’s my main thing. A Direct Stream, though I don’t doubt it is amazing, is more new than I have invested all told, and I don’t need need the amplifier. Maybe whatever I find first, a nuwave dsd, or musical surroundings mydac. The mydac supposedly does excellent with redbook cd. I really like Michael Yee’s phono stage.

Does anyone have experience with the nuwave dsd? Looking to move up to DS dac?

Thanks for the replies.

Wired For Sound is a good DAC. You could also consider a second-hand Chord. I’m sure that there are several that would provide what you want dependent, of course, on your budget.