Best DAC’S $5k to $15k

I have Chord Mscaler and TT2 and it’s very good. I’ve been considering the DAVE. Any recommendations? 


At $13,500 I don't think a better DAC can be had than the Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC. Most reviewers and critics have concluded one has to spend > 50K to get anything that sounds nominally better. 

There is an audio company that sells a $70k DAC that actually outsources the internals to a well know digital company. The outsourced company also has a product line, which is a lot less costly and highly regarded. The designer at the outsourced company has publicly stated in an interview that his company does not sell their best boards to other manufacturers.

Money should not be what drives the purchase of a DAC. Have a listen and see if it matches your system. A cheaper DAC could be the best DAC for your system.

I had a $14k DAC mentioned in this thread and it was replaced by a $2.6k DAC that I thought a tiny bit better and a lot cheaper. I used the difference to buy a killer speaker.


One thing about the Tambaqui is that I think some people write it off too fast.  I too was not sure at first, until I realized it really, really needs a full 24 hours to warm up from standby.  At first, I just wasn’t getting the dynamic impact and precise imaging I wanted.  That said I agree with what people are saying - won’t be for every taste or system.


Not sure what's best but my favorite based on both sound quality and features is the Weiss DAC501.

BorderPatrol DAC. Simple, elegant and one of the best R2R DACs for the money.

Simaudio 681 and LessLoss EE DAC are superlative in this 5-15k range and keeping it all in perspective. 

The simpler the better in my book, and my book is a short read. 


@axeis1, I’ve owned a Chord TT2 and M Scaler combo for about four years now and I almost never think about upgrading my DAC unless I’m reading a post like yours. The sound of the Chord Dave is sublime and IMO it would be the logical choice if you enjoy the Chord sound signature as much as I do.

 I use one of Nick Bacon’s WAVE High Fidelity Storm BNC cables to connect my streamer to my M Scaler using an AudioWise SRC.DX USB to dual BNC converter, and two of his Storm BNC’s between the M Scaler and the TT2. Those two tweaks really improved the sound of my system. 

 Maybe one day I’ll find a good used Dave if the money falls from the sky. But until then I’ll never part with the TT2 because it’s such a nice reference DAC with a small footprint. Good luck