DAC diminishing returns

Looking for some experienced input on the diminishing return as you go up the the DAC ladder. I mostly stream music and occasionally listen to CDs.  Currently, I’m using a Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC.  It’s connected to my Naim Nait 5Si and that drives Zu Omen ii speakers. In my limited experience, I have not heard any substantial differences when changing DACs.  I’m considering a Denafrips Pontus DAC.  Does the significantly higher cost justify what might be a marginal increase in sound quality?  Is buying a more expensive DAC for better sound just splitting hairs, and making you feel better about your system?  Are different DACs just different coloration of the sound?

I don’t want to be duped into buying something I don’t really need. Thanks.


I don't know ghdprentice, I had my audiophile epiphany after I got rid of the "big buck" esoteric stuff and started taking the time to really learn what was required for good sound, and paying someone who knew their stuff to get me there. It took big bucks, but the big bucks was concentrated in a few areas.

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Lots of really good suggestions and advice here.  In my mind none are more important than trusting your own ears.  I upgraded my DAC less than a year ago.  I set a budget and started to audition.  I had a dealer come to my house with 4 different ones on tow all at varied price points.  I heard subtle differences between all of them but not one was good enough to make me want to get rid of what I already had in my system.  He then plugged in a Weiss 502 and, for me, it was like crossing the street and getting a completely new perspective on what I was hearing.  This wasn't a small upgrade, it was a leap.  It was double my budget but I went into the safe and peeled off the cash.  Every day I listen I'm happy I did.

@firstgrowth Well, I didn't want to read that but I can believe it. The 502 seems very impressive and I am probably right where you were at. I am currently running a Denafrips Venus II and am waiting on a new HoloAudio May KTE, hoping this will be my end game DAC as the 502's price point is double my budget. Fingers crossed. 

@firstgrowth , the 502 looks like a cool toy. I mean that in a good sense. Do you personally set and forget it or change the settings to match the music?