Presently my system is: Qobuz > Lumin U1 Mini Streamer > Electrocompaniet ECD-1 Dac > Herron VTSP-3A (R03) Pre > Odyssey Khartago Extreme Amp > KEF r11 Speakers.

The ECD-1 dac is 20 years old. I've had issues with this dac at times not playing 24/192 music at all even though its rated to handle it. Recently I've had to adjust settings in the Lumin to play 24/192 music at 24/96 in order for it to play. So, I want to replace it with something using a bit more current technology. My budget is 1800.00 for something used.

To my ears, the KEF r11 is a very detailed and revealing speaker. Well recorded music sounds great. Poorly recorded music sounds very poor and again to me, that means edgy and fatiguing highs. I'm looking for a warm and musical presentation. Things I've done to lean in that direction are getting the Herron pre and adjusting the bias of the Khartago towards a warmer sound also.

Dacs I've been studying have been R2R NOS dacs like Border Patrol, Denefrips Pontus II, and others. I also have looked at the Schiit Yggy LIM.  So I'd love to hear from anyone who perhaps has had a similar quest and what was found to fit the warm and musical goal. Thanks for any comments!



I would look at the Wyred4sound 10th anniversary DAC It's $4,500 US one of the reviewers put it up against his VPI turntable with a $5,000 Japanese cartridge and he said that the 10th anniversary DAC was every bit as an analog sounding on that review I bought it and I totally agree it is the most analog sounding DAC have had in my system and they also give you a 30-day trial period.

If you are interested in a tube DAC, Lampizator is worth consideration. The basic unit, new Amber 4 is built like a tank. I’ve enjoyed my Amber 3 for a few years. I have it paired with a Lumin U2 mini and Conrad Johnson preamp and amp. 

I purchased an Audio Mirror Toubadour V DAC built for me by Vladimir in Minnesota. I had the opportunity to put it up against a friend’s Chord Dave and also a Denafrips Pontus II and we both agreed the Toubadour had that tube sound that the Dave and Pontus couldn’t match. We both preferred the Toubadour sound, although I would have been happy with either the Dave or Pontus as well. 
My friend did not have an M-scaler to go with the Dave. 

in my own system, I added a Gaia DDC which immediately improved the soundstage of the Toubadour V. I also recently acquired an Okta DAC8 that I intend to put up against the Toubadour V but I haven't done that yet. I bought the Okta DAC8 solely on the excellent reviews on ASR, and also because it is quite affordable that I can experiment with it.

I believe the Toubadour V may be in your price range. Also do consider one of the denafrips DDCs regardless of what DAC you get.


The Pontus is anything but analytical. No way I would live with it if this were so.



3500.00? I thought the Toubadour V was 6k?