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.


@rockrider I am also using the M-Scaler with the Dave (as I was with the TT2), I haven’t tried the Dave solo yet, so can’t say how that would compare to the TT2+M-Scaler combo.

DAC was 3x and it was a solid purchase.  It is noticeably better , not just subtle differences.   Will something at the $6k to $7k price blow me away?  Who knows, but it will be interesting to find out 

I had a full Benchmark stack, DAC3B, LA4, AHB2 and could never get really engaged with the sound quality vs other components, Pass Labs, ARC, HoloAudio. I ended up selling the DAC3B but still have the LA4 and AHB2. The LA4 is a very nice sounding preamp and my favorite component out of that stack. The AHB2 sounds decent, on the warm side in my setup but when compared to a Pass X350.8, the Pass is a noticeable improvement top to bottom. Build quality is very nice on the Benchmark stuff and I think they are very good values but I’m not convinced of all the hype.

In my situation I have the LA4 and AHB2 (soon mono) and I pair that with a more engaging DAC, the Musetec 005.

I use my DAC3B with a RAAL VM-1a tube headphone amp that benefits from the very neutral to slightly bright DAC3B.


@yyzsantabarbara I thought about adding a second AHB2, would be interested to know opinions on the improvement over a single stereo. Agree on the DAC3B, was too bright and hard sounding, put it in the system a number of times and it never stayed in very long.