DAC Choices - $5,000 to $7,000

What are the current top DAC choices in the approximately $5-$7K price range (new or used) that I should look at as possible upgrades to my current Metrum Adagio?  Having an on-board volume control is not a factor as I can operate my system either way.   If I wanted to spend more I would look at Totaldac, Rockna Wavedream Signature, or one of the other top-end contenders, but I selected the price range to achieve a sound quality that is consistent with the rest of my system and because I don't want to spend more due to the still evolving nature of digital technology.  I do like the more natural sound (to my ears) of NOS R2R DACs.  So far, I have considered the three below, but none seem to be a slam-dunk upgrade from the Adagio, which still sounds pretty good in my system.  The decision is complicated by having to "buy to try" so that I can hear one in my system.  Maybe now is not the time for an upgrade.  Any thoughts?

  • Denafrips Terminator w/DSP board - Reportedly has the full body/dense tone type of sound I like, but also has a high'ish output impedance 
  • Holo May KTE - Reportedly measures great for an R2R DAC and has strong reviews 
  • Rockna Wavelight - Some reviewers like it but others put it in the middle of the pack for the price
If you are thinking about higher priced dacs then the Mola Mola Tambaqui could be of interest. I have only heard it once and shortly but it was good. There are some reviews of it.
Thanks for all the suggestions.  I strongly considered quite a few of the recommendations but in the end, and without the ability to hear these, I believe the Holo May KTE is the DAC I need to try.  It has pretty much everything I am looking for especially considering I have come to appreciate the sound of R2R NOS type DACs.  The Holo May KTE has a lot of features I was looking for, including a dual mono layout, huge power supply in a separate enclosure, I2S input, balanced outputs, decent sized display, and the ability to process PCM and DSD to high sampling rates.  The 40 pound weight indicates a solid build quality.  The DAC measurements reported by John Atkinson at Stereophile and by atomicbob on the Super Best Audio Friends site were very good and the print reviews so far indicate the DAC is very musical sounding. 

One thing the May doesn't do that I was sort of looking for is control volume but I can simply reengage the volume control in my SMc Audio preamp that I have continued to use as a buffer with my Metrum Ambre DAC that does control volume.  I have been working with SMc on how to replace the Shallco switch with another option that can be remote controlled and can provide a display.  I guess I will work on that project while I am waiting for the Holo Audio people to build my DAC.  

The main other contenders I would have liked to have heard were the Mojo Mystique EVO (any level), Mola Mola Tambaqui, Bricasti M3, and Weiss 501.  Of those, I probably had the most interest in the Mystique since it is an R2R DAC, but the others are all well known, all provide more features than the Mojo DAC, and are all reported to sound excellent.  Thanks again for all the suggestions.
Used Chord DAVE. (No need for an Mscaler with this.)If you are into DSD files or SACDs or like a really deep sense of detail (and a system that can handle some soaring highs), look for an EMM labs DAC or high-end CD player with DAC capablity. (Again, you will need to buy an EMM piece on the used market in the price range mentioned.)
until you get above that price point, think there is only one..the denafrips terminator.
The Mojo Mystique Evo Pro sure looks interesting, but with 500+ burned SACDs and DSD128 vinyl rips, I just can’t face the notion of being limited to PCM. I suppose Roon could be used to downsample DSD to 24/196, but that seems like a step backward. On the other hand, Terminator+ with GAIA and clocklink is thoroughly up to date. Has anybody compared these top current versions from Mojo and Denafrips? They are similarly priced at $11-13K.