Best Bang for your Buck DAC ?

I just realized I’m in the market for a DAC , I don’t want to spend a fortune on a DAC either . I picked up a drangonfly cobalt a while back and am unimpressed  so I moved it to my CPU and sounds really good on my system there which when I bought it figured I would do anyway since it was my first DAC purchase . There are so many DACs I have no clue , how high up on the returns chart can I go at say $1,000 before I run into heavy Diminished returns resistance. I’m open to buying used . I was thinking about a Schitt made in the states ? Anyone’s take on best bang for buck DACs? 
I'm enjoying my Denafrips Ares II for $750.00.  It is not overly clinical, has a great sound stage and a small footrprint.  I  have it paired to a Mcintosh MC 275 Amp.  there seems to be good synergy with tube amps
Yup, @jiss49 perfectly well said, was thinking the same. People read half the question, see DAC and start pitching their favorite gear as if they get a prize should the OP end up buying their recommended piece of kit.

Disclaimer: I have no idea how this turned into my magnum opus. Just got all wound up reading through the many comments and felt how important it is now for ME to show EVERYONE how smart and clever I am. Seriously, I guess I really don’t have a life…
If all you want is the essence of this, skip to “Quick summary” on bottom.

OP: What I gather from your post and comments is that you need more than just a good DAC, but rather a “family friendly” set-up, which really means that you may end up needing/wanting two devices: a streamer with super easy connectivity through your Tidal on Apple devices, to keep the family happy PLUS possibly a better DAC to improve upon the streamer’s internal DAC. Yes?

If correct, then we are in the same boat and I am pretty familiar with some of the issues as well as solutions (IN YOUR PRICE BRACKET AND USING TIDAL FOR STREAMING, that is for around 1k).

One way to go is using a streamer such as the Bluesound Node 2i to provide family-friendly access to everyone without needing third party software or apps. The big differentiator is the introduction of Tidal connect and any streamer supporting it. Tidal connect allows you to completely bypass a streamers own software/control app, including the Bluesound OS of the Node 2i. Maybe Tidal connect wasn’t around yet when you tried out the Node.
Instead, with one click (ok, two) from WITHIN YOUR TIDAL APP on your iphone, you are directing the Tidal server to send the music instead to your phone to your Tidal connect capable streamer. Bluesound was one of the first couple brands supporting this; but of course the list is slowly growing like Cambridge Audio is updating some of their products (but no MQA with Cambridge) and more recently, Volumio OS now offers Tidal direct support which is great news - so any streamer that can run Volumio (any Pi based streamer that is; Volumio themselves make a very nice streamer btw the Volumio Primo) can give you streaming access/control from within the Tidal app; you don’t actually have to use the Volumio software or Bluesound OS.

The fact that the music stream with Tidal connect does not travel through your phone before reaching your stereo has a bunch of advantages, one being you can hardwire your streamer with an ethernet cable and say you had weak spots in your wifi network at home, your music playback would not be affected if you moved with your phone into such area - or even if you did rely on wifi and your network at home is stable and awesome, if you turned off your device the music would continue to play or if you wanted to use another app on your phone that plays audio, say youtube, you could watch a video with sound on your phone yet the Tidal stream on your stereo would remain unaffected. Or you get a phone call etc etc you get the idea. Take that, bluetooth…

At this point you could already be done, if you pick a streamer/Dac combo, such as the Node 2i which has a decent sounding DAC that can fully decode MQA. I have to assume that MQA playback capability is mandatory for you as a Tidal user seeking improved audio performance, otherwise I would question the wisdom of shopping for a better DAC while forgoing the capability to take advantage of Tidal’s higher resolution Master files and capping it at CD level.

*** A quick side note to all the eye-rolling Qobuz, HD and DSD file users: Yes, I know, I know, MQA is a scam and now finally the cat is out of the bag and there is proof for what YOU knew all along. But before getting your panties in a twist and start posting links to the latest revelations and test findings, take a deep breath and consider what this particular thread is about: Helping the OP, a TIDAL user (!), with recommendations how to maximize the sound quality within a 1k BUDGET (!) to stream his music from his APPLE DEVICES & within the TIDAL APP (!), that is a family-friendly solution that does not require the use of third party software/apps. ***

Ok, now finally to the DAC portion of your question and the two things you need to consider while shopping for the best DAC you can afford:
1.) the streamer you buy must have a digital out and be capable to pass the Tidal stream bit-perfect to the DAC you are buying.
2.) the DAC must be able to decode MQA via THAT SPECIFIC INPUT you are connecting to from your streamer.

This is a lot more confusing than meets the eye. Why? Because while DACs generally have multiple digital inputs - coax, optical and USB most commonly - and manufacturers advertise their MQA capability in huge letters all over the place, very few make it clear that the DAC can ONLY decode MQA via it’s USB input. That’s btw why I own a $500 paper weight.
So if you start your upgrade with purchasing a DAC, that may rule out certain streamers and vice versa. The Node for instance can only pass on the data stream to an external DAC using SPDIF (coax/optical), and although the latest ESS chip (ES9068S) can decode MQA natively, there are very few DAC options currently available that could decode a MQA file fed via SPDIF. Someone mentioned the Gustard X16 ($450), which is quite new and just about the only option I am aware of that would work with the Node, since it does use the aforementioned chip and could fully decode the MQA files when fed via SPDIF. Another route that would open up significantly more options in terms of the many DAC choices suggested here would be getting a USB streamer (or just network bridge without a DAC) that runs Volumio (for it’s Tidal connect support that you need) that has a USB out. Then pretty much all DACs advertised as MQA capable will work and you could go through the list here of recommended DACs and see what looks attractive and fits your budget. There were several DACs mentioned here in the $400-600 range that would do the trick. Paired with a pi-based streamer, which start for under $100 with a Raspberry Pi 4 itself + case, to a network bridge like Allo’s USBridge Signature, or more recent an Orchard Audio Pecan Pie streamer or Volumio’s own Primo (maybe the most elegant solution of those mentioned ). As long as they run with Volumio and have USB out you are good to go. The ones mentioned above I happen to be aware of from past research, but there may be newer better options out there already.

Quick summary:
1.) If you want easy and use the Tidal app only, Tidal connect capability is your friend when choosing your streamer
2.) To take advantage of MQA, read the fine print of both streamer and DAC and make sure in combination they can do what you need them to do.

Cheers and happy weekend!