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


Audio Note UK (audionote.co.uk) -- recently picked up a DAC 2.1x Signature and I’ve never heard digital sound so natural and harmonically rich before, especially with jazz, just awesome

Also, I saw you weren’t DIY adverse, so worth a mention is Audio Note Kits (ankaudiokits.com) they use some Audio Note UK parts and ’similar’ schematics but they are not affiliated. I’ve seen people report success with their kits

If you want nuance it starts with noise and jitter.

stock cables won’t cut it.  Blue jean cables won’t cut it.  There are no cheap cables that perform as well as good cables.  AV noise reduction is a must.  Then some kind of grounding box. Then you can hear what a good DAC can bring.

There is a difference between a $1000 power cord and a $500 power cord(or practically any other cord) 

Spend at least as much on cables and electrical noise as you do for the DAC.

This is what helped my system.  I'm sure you have done some of these things.  I went for low cost options that ended up paying off.

Dedicated power line or if you use lots of power.

EMI/RFI filter on incoming power

EMI/RFI on router from internet Co.

EMI/RFI on ethernet cable to streamer.

Power cords

Good interconnects.  Use contact enhancer.  Stabilant 22 is reasonable. 

Isolate speakers from floor. Spikes won't do it.

Use a good equipment rack

Isolate all components.  I used Herbie's.

You could do this and then the DAC.  Just my thoughts.  

I have Chord TT2 with Mscaler, and a pair of TeddyPardo LPS. I think the new PS Audio Direct Stream MK2 would be a great choice especially pre-loved. Chord Dave is way out of your range. Maybe a Chord Qutest, with an MScaler. I looked at your system. Lose the blue jeans cables they aren’t even close to the level of your system. You need to upgrade all your cables and add a really good power line conditioner. Depending on how deep you want to dive you could do something like all AudioQuest. Thats would be simple and a huge improvement in sound quality. You could also do all Shunyata. My system is all Audience FrontRow for signal. USB, speaker, interconnect. Then all Shunyata for Power. Upgrading all your cables and power will be a monumental improvement.