Since my last post I have sold the ML38S and replaced that with the ML380S. The sound stage detail and air are a lot more open and cleaner sounding. That tv is gone, replaced it with the Panasonic 50" UT50, which after some tweaking gives a fantastic picture. The Bryston DAC is gone, as I bought a dCS stack - verdi encore transport, verona clock and elgar plus DAC. Kept the Bryston BDP-1 which is upsampled through the transport, then clocked before being processed by the DAC. What a lovely combo this is. Whether listening to hard drive music or off the disc, my foot has never tapped this much whilst listening to music before.
Waiting for the arrival of the new cabinet, when that is done I must update the photograph.
AVfile....... the ML with the BDA-1 have a quieter background, the artists and instruments had their own space, the separation between the artists was more pronounced, and detail and word pronunciations are better too. The preamp in the D2 is quite decent ( I have had Thule, Bryston, ML, NAD, Cambridge). Friends of mine ( who have the D2, P5 with Paradigm S6 and same cables and conditioning as I have in their setup with similar room size and layout) use the D2 as their stereo preamp and this is very musical and enjoyable, but I found that the D2 doesn't have the depth and feeling of the ML & BDA combo, the music sounds a little flatter. If I didn't have the ML and dac I would be quite happy living with just the D2 as a stereo pre. Certainly a lot less cables and component space too! But knowing and hearing what I do now, I would not give up my current setup - although lately a little voice says I must get a reference pre-amp to do justice to the dCS source. But I am loving the music, and cant wait to get home to listen to something whilst enjoying a fresh pot of coffee.
Hope that helps!