Advice needed: It's time for a new DAC

Hello People of Audiogon!

I received some help a little while back when I was considering upgrading my speakers so I am looking to the community again for guidance and opinions.  It is time to upgrade my DAC.  


My current system is Sasha DAW's driven by a Luxman L-509X.


The three DAC's on my short list are:


MSB Discrete
Berkeley Alpha V3
Chord DAVE


One thing to note is that I am in Canada so many brands are difficult if not impossible to audition.  

My priority is "musicality" or "soul".  What's this?  Well to me, it means feeling.  The Luxman and Sasha's well convey musical emotion and that is important to me.  I don't know how to describe it better beyond that.  They have flow (perhaps PRAT, to use another vague term).  Sounds have meat to them and texture.  The music feels real.  


The second priority is three dimensionality.  


The third is resolution.


My one caveat is no tube DAC's.  Tubes, for me, just don't work well based on my listening style and habits.  I love tubes, I've owned tubes and tubes are wonderful, but as things are now, I just don't want them in a DAC.  Perhaps they will find their way into my system in a pre-amp in the future.


I listen primarily to Tidal but MQA is not a priority for me.  I would switch to Qobuz but they were not available in Canada until recently and all my play lists in Roon are with Tidal tracks so I suspect a switch will be a real headache, but I digress. My point is MQA isn't really important and DSD isn't necessary either.  


Of the above DAC's, if you have heard them, what are your thoughts/opinion?  


Thank you in advance,





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When I was looking to get an integrated amp, I demoed the Luxman 509x and it was rather good. Then I made the mistake of listening to the Luxman c900u + m900u with the Luxman DAC in the then top end Luxman SACD player. The separates are significantly better than the 509x, mainly because of the stronger power supply. I mention this because I see the m900u on the used market at lower and lower prices. The m900u can also be run in mono.

The Luxman DAC is what a lot of people consider musical. Not my taste since I like a bit less warmth but that was a great system.

I think I just motivated myself to call Mitch to see if he can improve on my Livingroom system. It is a Yamaha NS500 speaker + CODA #16 amp. The speakers are a bit too close to the front wall. The sound is great but maybe it could be better. My ceiling is over 20 feet so maybe that is why the sound is good.

@ja_kub_sz ,

Before you sell your T+A, make sure that you have have enough hours on the PCM side of the DAC. There are a couple of posters on the HeadFi forum who recently found out that the PCM section took about 200+ hours to come on it's own. In fact these guys liked the PCM presentation as much or slightly better than the DSD presentation. But this is a headphone forum and they do not have as much experience with loudspeakers.

Good luck!

@milpai good to know... I feel like I've put at least that into it, but yeah I'll do some more listening.