dac reccomendation - xlr & tube optional

looking for a dac that has balanced outputs and tube(optional) ie slightly warm..

any thoughts on metronome, chord, audiologic, lector,audio aero ?



Of all the DACs that I heard at one time in my system, I found the Chord to be the best to my ears. It was very balanced, very musical, sweet, smooth relaxed, detailed, etc. I thought the Audio Logic (current version) was a close second with the stock tubes. I own a AL 34 with the chip upgrade and NOS tubes. For the price of the DAC used and tubes I am a very happy owner. I never had the chance to compare my AL DAC to the Chord. Since that time, the price of the Chord DAC on the used market has come down so that would be a consideration. I also think Tube Technologies makes a tube version of the Chord DAC but I was never able to get my hands on one. The Metronome is not up to par. I am not able to comment on the other DACs you are asking about. The Chord has a few second lag time when playing music so that takes some time to get used to, turn the transport off and the music still keeps playing. The Chord is also the coolest looking component I have ever had.

Happy Listening.

thanks for the comeback....i really appreciate it.

btw, looked into the tube technology dac and it is only rca out...
Bigkidz is correct, my Tube Technology Fusion CD64 player uses the Chord 64 bit WTA Dac married to an all discrete tubed analog output stage. It's by far the best cd player I've ever owned. Also it has BNC digital ins and outs so it can be used as a dac or transport.
the fusion is really nice... that is by far the most impressive digital source i have heard to date ( there is a "rightness")...

i am really bummed the tt fusion dac doesnt have xlr outputs..