DAC's from the past, are any of them really worth much today?

I was thinking of buying a new DAC, the choices are many, but some of the lowest price DAC’s are to be had from yesteryear. For example, i took home an Esoteric D05 yesterday and while I have not been able to hook it up to my Esoteric player, due to no suitable connector cable, I was wondering if any of the better DAC’s from years back are really worth having? The example I have in for audition, while close to SOTA back about 13+ years ago, has no USB connection! To that, it has had years of usage, and appears pristine although I am unsure as to what can fail in a DAC? Obviously no warranty, yet a price point that is somewhat attractive, particularly for the build quality.


The biggest issue seems to be no USB connection to the upstream gear, but also perhaps the difference in price between a DAC like this, and a more modern DAC with better DAC chips/USB etc.,would simply make this one not a great deal. Thoughts?


We should talk about specific models and not in broad terms. For example, Dcs Bartok, even in apex variant (with R.Nucleus) is product that does not come close to Dcs Puccini (playing discs)...I think, like in many other things, (except perhaps with new d class amps) 'new is better' is only a marketing slogan

I have a Wadia 321. They can be had for around $1k. Im sure there are better sounding units available but im content with my 321.   

Come on GHD, first generation CD players were not that bad.  Yes differences, but come on now. 

Most people would not consider an Yggy' as entry level. $2300 is real money.  A Modi ( $130 ) is entry level.  Maybe $5K is where a bigger step is, but I'll never have one to know. Listening to music is not only for the 1/2 or 1/2 of 1% income level. 

I will take a 20+ year old Audio Note DAC 5 Signature over just about any other DAC on the market today.  It was crazy expensive then, and the current Audio Note DAC 5 Signature is much more crazily priced.  I bet this model has not changed much in 20 years.  To Audio Note's way of thinking, the most important part of a DAC is its analogue stage.  I don't know if this is true  or not, but I've heard their old and new DACs and they are very good sounding to me--relaxed and natural sounding without being murky or lacking in dynamics.  

There are other companies that build modern DACs around very old vintage chips because they sound better with such chips.  Most of the advancement in chip design has been to make them smaller, make them utilize less power and offer more functions that support there use in mobile devices--sound quality is hardly a priority.  Companies like Audio Note, Naim, and Lampizator horde old chips because they deliver the sound these companies seek.   Whether or not that is your sound too is a matter of personal taste; but one really has to hear such machines to decide this.

DAC chips became a lot better, analogue output not that much. That's where vintage DACs more superior and let people keep them vs. newer models.

Let the new DAC chip perform in the vintage chassis with the rest of electronics same, things may change quite a-bit.