Best EXTERNAL DAC suggestions

Yes, I have the latest addition to the Bluesound node, I guess third generation, prior to the most recent anniversary X addition. I know they have improved the inner DACS with each version but now I’m asking what would be some thing better in your opinion and one that is in the ballpark.

I have Cornwall Heritage IV speakers, and I am currently running a NAD C 316BEE amp( which pairs well with Klipsch 102 db) at 40 WPC. In the winter my Mancave is heated by a tube Cary SLI-80, UL /Triode 4/8 OHMS. 
either way, I love the ability of the Bluesound node to be my preamp and facilitating my Apple Airplay 2 and the eArc into the TV/CD. Mancave is treated, speakers and me complete a 6’ triangle.


If you are looking for warmth and soundstage, put some NOS Mullard  12au7 tubes in that Rogue. I had a Rogue Pharaoh integrated and replaced the stock JJ tubes with the Mullards. This took the Pharaoh to another level. Warmth and 3D stage in spades! Not cheap, a pair will set you back approx. $140, but well worth the investment. 

@mr_m I used Brimar CV4003 from upscale audio in the RP-1. I think these and your mullards are essentially the same tubes. Very nice improvement but the Gold Lions aren’t too far behind

I have no experience with Gold Lion tubes, but I'm sure they are great tubes based on reputation. 

I think the CV 4003 tubes are military grade variants of the 12au7, but are essentially the same. 


hey appreciate your comments on Mogami … so I ordered a couple RCA pairs off EBay to hook up my Rogue preamp! They are priced right. What do you like about them? Moose

I really like the sound of low capacitance cable, which is a characteristic of most all Mogami products. Clearer high frequencies and overall higher current. My Heritage Wharfedale Lintons got noticeably louder but lost a little of their sound stage at first, but I figured that my analog preamp gain was too high and I just didn’t hear the higher noise floor until I plugged in the Mogami 3103 cables! They are very musical with just enough bite to not add any obvious warmth. Great value IMO.