During a recent listening session, I realized my system needs an upgrade. There seems to be a lack of detail and soundstage depth, compared to other similarly priced components/systems I've heard lately. I live in a shotgun style apartment with a high ceiling, and have tried everything - rolling a variety of tubes (to positive effect), moving the speakers incrementally for hours - and yet the end result has been the same.
The current configuration is a pair of Avalon Symbol speakers, REL T2 sub, Cayin A88-T integrated amp and Marantz DV9500 universal player, with MIT AVT1 speaker cables and Audioquest Cheetah interconnects. With so many variables possible, I decided to start with the universal player. I have an extensive collection of SACDs, and I'd like to take advantage of the format wherever possible. Thus my question - would you buy a quality DAC (Berkeley Alpha, Audio Research DAC7, etc.) and hook it up to the current player, or obtain a similarly priced universal player from one of the usual suspects (Esoteric X-05, etc.)? A few DACs I've heard in the past seemed to "flatten out" the sound and remove the life from the music, to the detriment of the original intent/recording. However, recent reviews tend to suggest otherwise with certain units.
I also saw the excellent article on the Audio Space Reference 3.1 300B integrated this month, and will be giving that an audition in Mountain View next week.
If you have any other suggestions based on the system above, it would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance,