Best DACs for under $1500 in 2021


I've been reading threads here for the past few weeks, but everything I come across is from 2018 or earlier so the prices are a bit off. I've been so close to pulling the trigger on the MHDT Orchid based off of several reviews, but is there something that'd give me a better listening experience? 

I get that $1,500 is not a lot in the audio realm, but I'm positive that I'll get a much better listening experience than my current SMSL Sanskrit 6th ed. Again, I'm realistic, but I want a taste of the "in the room" feeling. Body, great soundstage and just something captivating to hold my attention. Detail is great, but I'm not looking to overanalyze music, more or less just sink into it.  

From what I see the MHDT lineup is going to be something to consider. The BorderPatrol dacs are still in my price range. The Tubadour is no longer in my price range, as they've discontinued the $1500 model. What else should I look for? Yt reviewers seem to love the Denafrips Ares II. 


I'd prefer new recommendations under $1500 because when someone says "you can find X at your price point used", it's impossible to find a current classified for it. 


Thanks! 
nails337
Thanks for the information, I will try to figure it out for more. Keep sharing such informative post.
It’s way under your budget, but have you listened to the Cambridge Audio DAC Magic?  I recently purchased the CA streamer that utilizes what is probably the same DAC and while I prefer to run it into my much more expensive Bryston DAC3 I am very impressed with internal DAC.
Great suggestions so far. The MP-D2 looks very promising due to reviews like this: 

"After reading the 6 Moon's review of the MHDT Orchid you could easily switch names to the Musical Paradise MP-D2 MK3 as the description appears synonymous. I have not heard the Orchid but they share similar sound design elements though the MP-D2 MK3 is larger and is tube rectified and has APT-X HD for when you're feeling lazy or you just want background music while cooking/dining that can be changed from the dining table. Hope this helps."


This was one of the reasons I wanted to pull the trigger on the Orchid. Only downside of the MP-d2 would be the size. Quite large when I already have the Doge 10 Mk3 
I’m in the market for a dac as well, being that my Schiit Gungir MB sold unexpectedly (be careful when you say “everything is for sale, at the right price” because it just may sell, lol).

I spent quite a few hours withthe Gungir.  My quick impressions are that its great at detail resolution, its smooth in that it will take some nastyness / honkyness out of the highs and mids, it has great bass weight / depth / resolution.  It also has pretty good imaging in that it will give that holographic effect.  Its open and clear sounding and vocalists will appear in the room with you.

Its actually a great dac for $700 used.  I don’t think it can be beat for that $.

I was thinking that I wanted to try the Denafrips Ares II but was on the fence.  The more I started looking, the more I realized how good and what a good deal the Gungir is.

Im going to research a few of the suggested dacs.  That Pegasus looks interesting…

I’ll probably buy something today and will report back!