DAC for Music Vault Diamond Server?

I am selling my Ayre C5xeMP CD player, a fantastic player, to go the music server route. I will shortly purchase a Music Vault Diamond server. I do not want to exchange excellent sonics for convenience. Thus, I need to mate a high quality DAC with the server. It is unlikely that I will get to go and audition DACs, so I am asking for opinions based on my subsequently stated sonic preferences.

I had a Meridian G08 CD player that, though different from my Ayre player, I really liked. I also have an Alesis ML-9600 CD player/recorder that was heavily modified by Balanced Power Technologies. This player is a surprisingly good player that acquits itself very nicely in regards to producing pleasing sonics. I do not like hyper-etched sound. I prefer detail without an edge, liquidity, and pristine clarity through the mid-range with extended highs and excellent, though non-exaggerated low end foundation.

I am running Canary CA 160 monoblock tube amplifiers and Canary monoblock preamplifiers - modded by Gary and Bob Backert - and Von Schweikert VR5 HSE anniversary speakers, and copper-based cable.

I have checked into Alpha Berkely, Bryston, and Accustic Arts DACs. I will gladly take any suggestions based on the above. Please no lectures about having to listen to digital to know whether you like the presentation - that will not be feasible for me.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xjaymark
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I got to audition the Ayre QB-9 (runs about $2500) the other day and was blown away, I didn't know a digital source could sound so good!
jaymark i think you are going to be quite pleased with your decision to adapt a music server/dac as your digital source. i could not be happier and listen much more know then when i used spinning silver discs. i chose the berkeley and do not want for more. i find the sound difficult to describe but i had no idea my system could sound this could. i also use the volume control in the alpha dac so it is a very simple path, no preamp. i have read good things about all three dacs you are considering so i would imagine you are going to be happy with any. from my experience and anyone else who has listened in my home, i can highly recommend the berkeley.

enjoy your new direction.
Sinner and Richard, thanks for your posts. I will do some investigation on the Ayre. Does it have the MP designation? I think I am going to have to pass on the Berkely because it costs several thousand dollars more. With 5 kids some compromises must be made by a mortal man.........
jaymark i certainly understand budget and priorities! you have a list of fine dacs beyond the berkeley so i think you are going to be very pleased with any of those, including the ayre. enjoy and keep us posted on your findings.
What about the Q-Sonic server versus the Music Vault Diamond?? Anyone able to give info on either or better yet compare them?

I have found the Zodiac Plus to be an outstanding DAC with the Music Vault Diamond, Retail is $2495, a number of my customers find it out performs the Berkley Alpha DAC.

The Plus has what I call smile factor, whenever I play it I find myself smiling while I listen to the music.

Neal Van Berg,
Sound Science
720 308 4000