Are any of the newer DACs better than BB PCM63s?

I've heard very often that there has been a perceived decline in the quality of DACs since the famous Burr Brown K series PCM63. Anyone know if there is any quantitative (or even qualitative) truth to this? I remember back in the days of the PCM63 other manufacturers' DACs were not considered in the same league, but can the same thing hold true today? How would a PCM63 compare to one of today's Wolfsons, Crystals, AKMs, or even the current top of the line BBs?
Hmm, we seem to have a difference of opinion here, gentlemen. I know very well that there's a lot more to the sound than just the DAC. As you pointed out, Alex, a well executed design is necessary along with a good DAC. So how do we know when we're listening to the DAC versus a better design / output stage? Where did the whole notion of the PSM63 K being so good come from? I still occasionally hear this being discussed today.
Tonyptony, the PCM63K (PCM1702) is a R2R ladder type of DAC. There is nothing unique about it. It was actually the first R2R type of DAC to achieve the highest precision in the industry by implementing the really expensive at that time Laser Trimming techology for the R2R resisitor ladder. Other than that, you can build PCM63 at home using some logic devices and it might even turn out better than PCM63, less the precision of laser trimming..:-)

Even the latest BB DACs still use R2R ladder with current output. If you really ask me, the patented "switched capacitor" DAC in the Crystal DACs is superior just because there are no currents flowing trough it. The dynamics and high frequency extension are unmatched. This is the reason for its superiority over all the rest.

Anyway, it is all hype. It is best to trust your ears! And believe me, who say we all hear different, according to me, is not true...:-)

Implementation fo course is very important,and actualy is the key to how well a DAC will untimately sound.I respectively disagree that the Crystal chips come any where close to what a 63k,or 1702k dac chip in cleanliness,and overall musicality .From talking to a highly repectited tech who is in the Arospace industry there are very few if any chips made today for the consumer that come close to the performance of those mentioned above.Another important factor is the power supply.As more and more of these are now made overseas,and the quality of most of them is questionable, also has a large bearing on the performance.This is why you see a glut of modders comming out of the wood work,taking stock pieces and bringing them to a more satisfying level.
Yes, that has been going on for quite a while (the mods). And one of (if not the) first things to be modded is the power supply. That and (in extreme mods) the replacement of part or all of what is usually a monolithic output stage with discrete components (sometimes even tubed).

But I'm curious, John. I happen to be a systems engineer in the defense industry (for quite a long time). I can agree in some respects that many commercial components just cannot be made to the tolerances expected for military use (too expensive). But among commercial devices, if it's one thing technology has shown us is that technology advances while cost either remains the same or goes down. Now I'm not saying that just because technology advances that something is "better". But your friend's comment is interesting: in what aspects of performance is his reference being made?
Quite simply noise is the biggest culprit in Audio particuraly digital.This is why a good many audiophiles still swear by vinyl even with all the clicks and pops.Most digital just does not sound musical,nor do any of the Hi rez formats other than some very few true DSD transfers.You are seing more and more maunfatcurers claiming to use military spec parts in their gear,and though the cost can be prohoibitve in some cases,there is plenty the the consumer maufacturers could use that is very inexpensive that is military grade and would imnprove gear by leaps and bounds ,but unfortunatly they are all ruled by the profit margin and very little money for R and D which is always the achiles heal in audio.