Better DAC then DA1 module in McIntosh C49 without braking the bank.

I got to the point in my system, when my DA1 DAC module in a McIntosh C49 preamp is the bottleneck. 

In comparison to my vinyl, CDs, files and streaming sounds flat and unremarkable. 

I have an SMSL SU-9 dac but it's worse than the one in Mac.

My system consists of Legacy Audio Focus HD speakers, McIntosh MC352 amp, McIntosh C49 preamp, McIntosh MB20 Bluetooth transceiver, Rotel RCD-1572, pc as a streamer and file player through Foobar2000. CD player is connected to the DAC too though coax.

DAC need to be able to do DSD, have USB, and connect via balanced. 

I like the DAC sound signature to be as natural as possible.



You don’t state at what price level the bank begins to break, but if $700 is within reason, this Musical Paradise MP-D2 dac would probably do the trick.

I owned the MKii version and still regret selling it, which I only did to help fund  the purchase of a Holo Audio May.

If you want to keep it Mac, then you could go for the MDA200 with the DA2 module as I did. It was a nice improvement over the C47 I had.  However with so much more good, more affordable dacs available,  I soon realized my mistake and tried the new Emotiva XDA-3, which totally won me over .

Everything the Mac has and then some, for a fraction of the price.