I am down to the last piece of the puzzle. I am very happy with the sound of my system at this point, so I’m not sure if the DAC needs to be improved on. What I am looking for is to hear those background subtleties in the music a little more pronounced. The strum of a guitar, the stroke of the piano keys, the clicks, ticks & tingles that accompany the music. I do here that now, I just wondered if there is a way to elaborate on those background sounds (details) a bit more.

Is it the DAC that will make this happen? If it is, they say my Gustard R26 is as good as a $5K DAC, how far over that $5K do you think I have to go?

Thank you for your help and suggestions and the best to you all over the holiday season and beyond!

PS: I listen mostly to Jazz


@ghdprentice the Chord TT2 & the Gold Note IS-1000 are both multi-function units. Do you think there is a standalone DAC that maybe a better value but have a similar sound signature per your suggestions?  

@navyachts , I understand your position and wanting to stick with a speaker based solution.

While I’ve not heard it, the original Denafrips Terminator or Terminator 2 might be worth researching. It’s still R2R like your Gustard, but most of what I read on the Terminator is that they are highly resolute with a lot of detail. It may be the ticket at around $5k new. 

At the “how much more” over $5k level, and if you can stomach the appearance and goofy UI, you might want to look into the Chord Dave. Do you own an audio cabinet with doors that close? 😀



@yakbob LOL +1 on the Dave design. I just can't bring myself to spending over $8K on a DAC when they say it benefits by spending a further $5K on their M Scaler! The Terminator sounds interesting thought. Thanks!

"I just wondered if there is a way to elaborate on those background sounds (details) a bit more."

Yes, speaker placement (including toe-in).

Perhaps just slight/minor repositioning if the ESL's are already sounding close to what you want.

I assume from the room pics that you don't want to "treat" it.