Can a dac really be future proof?

I’m talking via firmware/ software updates. I do get that some integrated amps ( McIntosh, etc) allows you to swap out the entire dac unit/card or whatever. 
I do get having firmware updates to improve stability, etc while the dac is fairly new. Or even let a new format “ kick in” due to final prep ( example MQA). 
How far can firmware - software upgrades carry you as dac chips and other hardware items improve? I can’t see a dac from 5 years ago with older generations of dac chips performing on par with the latest and greatest. Of course, I assume one’s listening taste is consistent for a particular chip/component. One may actually prefer the sound of an older dac over new one. Outside of that, how many years can software upgrades carry a Dac?

In general, most will think a newer dac will outperform an old dac. Can a dac with firmware updates out perform a new dac with updated hardware? There are people,I’m sure, who prefer dacs from 2003. Of course, I’m talking 5 or 6 + years. Not a year later. 
Dac's that allow firmware upgrades by their nature don't use off the shelf dac chips but rather FPGA's which can to some extent be re-programmed or "updated" to the limits of it's capabilities.  
Interesting question.
Perhaps one you should pose to Ayre and Schiit.
They are two manufacturers that offer upgrades when available- especially the latter.
I'm with @onhwy61 You can always choose to go with an old chip that's already "outdated", then no concerns at all about being left in the dust.  I use and Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE and it is much better than the PSA Directstream I was using previously.
I have such a dac and just received a firmware update from Vlad of AudioMirror , though it’s almost twice as much as his own fabulous Tubadour 3 SE dac I instead chose this FPGA 1 bit dac , AudioByte Hydra Vox stack with yet to be released streamer .

Recent dacs PS Audio dac senior, Denafrips Terminator, Rockna SE the Hydra Vox performance is head and shoulders above the others I’ve owned  .
I meant to add the firmware update for the Vox is sound quality related nothing else.
Really future proof?  As in SW only upgrades without a hardware upgrade?  I don't see how future proof is possible in that light.   SW upgrades will keep obsolescence at bay but Hardware moves on every year.   So you spring big bucks for a 24 bit, 196 KHz DAC, there is no software upgrade going to covert that to a 32 bit, 384 KHz DAC.  Software might increase the clock frequency on a one bit DAC to improve Signal to Noise ratio but that analog output stage will still have the same SNR and that limits the effect number of bits (ENB).  So for the short term, SW upgrades will keep things current but at some point in the long term, you will need a hardware upgrade.
DACs are already future proof. The numbers will improve but the physiology of human hearing won't and as there are DACs today that are transparent as far as we are concerned...
"Perfect Sound Forever."

"DACs are more transparent than the physiology of human hearing!" 

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it now, does it? 

Equally absurd though, it must be said.
I just got the RME adi-2 DAC fs and its awesome !  But despite its flash firm ware it will always be limited to dsd 256 and 768k sample rate because of the hardware .... so while I appreciate forward support and enhance features I am quite confident nothing will enhance its sound quality or permit new codecs.... i could be wrong , we'll see
Good video which discusses Dacs here:

Back up a bit in the video to hear more detailed discussion of the technology.
At the moment digital is as close to perfect as it gets. It is miles...years..ahead of vinyl. DACs will get better numbers as engineers are always trying to go one more step, they will get more features but as far as the DAC chip they have been future proof for home audio for years. The RME mentioned above has a chip from about 4 years ago they didn’t bother with the latest version. Surrounding technology will improve, USB, analog stages etc.. but higher SINAD only matters when something is audible.
At the moment digital is as close to perfect as it gets. It is miles...years..ahead of vinyl.
Yeah that’s what they said 35 years ago, and it’s probably as much true now as it was back then.
It was true then and it is now. You may prefer vinyl but digital is more exact at storage and playback. At any rate this thread is about DACs and digital. 
DACs will get better numbers
Do you listen to numbers?

On topic, there’s always the next best thing that’s so much better than the thing before. We’ve seen that a lot with different types of sound encoding and movies and TV displays. With audio though, how much more can the human ear actually hear beyond the high-res formats that are already available?

If it sounds good now, why wouldn't it sound good 10 years from now?
are any of us future proof?

only things that are future proof are 7-eleven straws and plastic drink bottles
Really future proof? As in SW only upgrades without a hardware upgrade? I don't see how future proof is possible in that light.   SW upgrades will keep obsolescence at bay but Hardware moves on every year.   So you spring big bucks for a 24 bit, 196 KHz DAC, there is no software upgrade going to covert that to a 32 bit, 384 KHz DAC.  

This. My experience includes DACs from both Schiit and Chord. I purchased the 1st gen Bifrost and had it upgraded twice (analog board and multibit). The next gen Bifrost2 was completely re-engineered making an upgrade from the 1st gen impossible. So much for future-proof. The Chord DAC started out as the Qute HD and was upgraded to EX when it became available, thinking I'd future-proofed a bit. 3 months later Chord released their brand spanking new version, the completely re-engineered Qutest. In particular, they overhauled the USB implementation (which they needed to do). In the meantime they stopped development of the HD/EX USB driver, which in a very short time rendered the USB connection to my Mac mini useless. Mind you, both DACs still work but the only upgrade path for either is to purchase new. BTW, the Chord experience was particularly painful. 

At least with the NAD M51 DAC they supported it as far as the architecture allowed, and thats fine by me.  They added features too, so you really can't ask for much more.  

One thing about the RME, its roots are in pro audio so the software side is much more solid than boutique DAC  brands.  Because all of their units are play/record , they use the same software and it has been debugged and refined.... it works perfectly.   
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