Hello, curious on everyone’s thoughts. I’m still building my system. I came across a really good deal on a Meitner MA3 dac. It’s from an authorized dealer and they offered to sell me one NIB for 7k. I have read and read about dacs and I am getting tired. Haha. I really like the Denafrips Terminator 2, Holo and the lumin T3 being the cheapest of them all. Once I factor in a streamer I am already close or over the 7k. Also I don’t need a dac for anything other then just streaming. Thank you 


There are big differences Between DACs, I used to use a dac hooked up to my iPhone to listen when on a plane for work.

‘For me, the dac has to be FPGA based, network and i2s capable, mqa and dsd capable or I won’t even look at it. These are more expensive but worth the expense.

The MA3 is a streamer/DAC but the streamer section is not as good as the DAC, and if it necessitates the use of Roon to stream then as others point out you will need a Roon Core to feed it. As well, Roon software has a great UI, but is not the best sonically.

The Lumin T3 is a streamer/DAC with its own propreitary software so it’s truly a one box and done source, plus it has very good build quality and manufacturer support. Sonically it is resolving and dynamic, but loses out just a bit on soundstage and tonal/textural accuracy compared to the Holo or Denafrips you mentioned - but then again you are saving minimum $2K on a streamer transport.

If you value soundstage and tonal/textural accuracy as must-have primary strengths then really stretch the budget and get either the Holo Audio May "KTE" or the Denafrips Terminator Plus 12th Anniversary AND MAKE SURE YOUR STREAMER TRANSPORT IS HIGH QUALITY (ignore the naysayers, EVERYTHING in a digital source chain counts).

Suggestions for a streamer transport are a Lumin U2 or an Auralic Aires G1.1 - or go all out and get an Aurender N200, the very best streamer transport under 5K IMO.

@kairosman Thank you, your response is one of the best ones I have received so far. I have gone back and forth if I am being honest on what to get. This is my first dac and the lumin t3 is prob the easiest to get into to start. I have pass labs gear and I just didn’t wanna feel like I would want more down the road… 


Thanks for sharing your detailed listening impressions of highly regarded DACs. Based upon your description and distinctions between them I’d favor the MA-3. It’s clear to me that you could not go wrong with either. It seems that the MA-3 digs deeper and is the more expressive and resolved (As well as better micro dynamics and musical pace) nice!




The MA3 is a terrific dac, but there are alot of terrific dacs out there today. The streamer in the MA3 is alot better than many would have you believe but like everything else in audio, it can be bettered. It is a nice feature to have while you are building your system and depending on the rest of your gear you buy, you will have opportunities to enhance your system once you have decided next steps.


What do you believe the rest of your system will eventually be, what is your overall budget and what are your musical/tonal preferences?