Getting on the ladder part 2

Hey folks, I’m intrigued to know whether a second hand Perfect Wave Transport (playing CDs) into a low end DAC (e.g. cambridge audio dacmagic 100) would bring about performance gains over my current CD player (Rega Saturn R). Or do I need a PS Audio dac too, fed via I2S hdmi? Thanks! I have no SACDs, I’m unlikely to buy any, and have no intention to start streaming either ripped files or tida/qobuz.

I think your money would be best spent on a new DAC.

Though the PWD would certainly bring some improvement to the sound, I do agree with Elk. With the setup you mentioned, I would address the DAC first and then the transport.

Thanks folks … so what is the bottom of the ladder PS Audio dac that will bring further benefits once paired with a PS Audio transport? Second hand is preferred!

May I suggest a lightly used DSD DAC, ideal with the new transport. I’d skip the Bridge as it is known to introduce noise into the chassis. Others may disagree, but I did pass on it when I purchased my DSD. For streaming a more current device would be my recommendation or wait for the PSA Octave to hit the streets.

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A used DSD Junior would be a fine choice.


Do those recommended DACs provide benefits even with redbook CD sound? I won’t be streaming or playing SACD any time soon, if ever!

A tremendous benefit. :slight_smile:

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I wouldn’t get too excited about SACDs. Some but not all sound better and the difference is not life changing.

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How about a stellar gaincell dac/pre as a starter? (just the dac, it won’t replace my pre).

I’m not sure people on the other side of the pond realise how good the Rega Saturn-R is, unbelievably good for the price. Plus you have a magnificent pre-amp.

If you have money to burn, I’d use it for a deposit on a new camper van.


I dont think that had anything to do with his question: :slightly_frowning_face:

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If you’re only playing CD’s then stay put on the transport and upgrade the DAC.

Rega is a great CD transport. I would leave that in place to spin those discs all day long and upgrade everything else around it starting with the DAC. I used an Apollo for many years before my digital transport caught-up to it. DAC upgrades made it better every time.

Yes indeed a significant step up. I primarily play Redbook CD when it comes to digital sources. The DSD jr. is a solid economical choice, but the DSD sr. used is a significant step up, and should funds not be limiting would be my choice without hesitation in comparison to the DSD jr.

FWIW, I share the opinion of several others that have already posted.

That is, buy the best, highly thought of DAC you can afford if you want to get the most bang for the buck in improving your digital signal path.

The PSA DS Sr. opened my eyes to what a difference a DAC could make (even with a very mediocre CD player/transport feeding it). IMO, a gently used DS Sr. is a bargain on today’s used market. Moreover, if you have the time to wait a bit, I expect they will soon be an even greater bargain – as soon as the new Ted Smith Signature DAC and/or DirectStream MKII DAC go on sale.

Personally, if I were jonesing for a better CD experience, I would just pull the trigger on a used DS Sr. as soon as I could scrabble together the coin. The DS Sr. purchase was one of the top two or three “transformative” kit purchase I have made in the last 20 years.

“Just Do It!”

 --- Nike


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you might be on to something! :rofl: