Back to the DAC

Just a bit of an update. When I inquired about a DAC upgrade in a recent post, it was suggested that I look at upgrading my cables first. Since then, I have done so (see my virtual system for that). Not over the top stuff, but a definite improvement over the mostly stock, generic cables I originally had.

System is sounding pretty darn good, but like most of us, you always wonder what a more expensive DAC will offer in the way of sound quality improvements.

Many of the recommended, higher priced DACs seem to include streamers and/or offer pre-amp capabilities. I have a good streamer and pre-amp and really don’t want all those components in one box.

Have any of you experienced a DAC which offers the sound qualities of highly praised units like the Mola Mola Tambaqui, DCS Lina, T&A 200, Weiss DAC501, etc. which their only function is a DAC?


@navyachts not sure yet what the next dac will be. Still thinking about it. Not in a hurry at the moment. 

I must second the MSB recommendation. I have the Analog Dac with the upgraded power supply (Analog Power Base). Extremely smooth, great detail, separation, wide and deep soundstage, luxurious sound. You said you are OK with buying used and this dac can be found used for 6-7k USD, so well within your budget. Also, @tvad 's suggestion to buy used and try several dacs in your own system is spot on in my opinion.

@jjss49 has generously shared his very extensive experience with dacs in a recent thread, worth reading if you haven't already done so. MSB Analog Dac is among his top 3 preferred dacs iirc.

@audphile1 Maybe include Métronome in your list ? I have a streamer from them and a friend a dac. Great stuff!

I've heard that the Denafrip's Terminator is made in China.

Andreas at Playback Designs invented the D/A converter. If I'm spending $24k on a DAC, it's going to be the MPD-8. If too much, then the MPD-6. 

Best build of any DAC out there. 

Thank you all for your comments and recommendations. I have a short list now and will continue to search for something in this list within my budget.

dmiller01 recommended the now discontinued Playback Designs Merlot DAC. Does anyone else have an opinion on this one?