DAC Shootout Starts This Weekend

Okay...in another thread I promised to do a side-by-side evaluation of the Audiobyte HydraVox/Zap vs the Rockna Wavelight. Due to the astonishing incompetence of DHL this has been delayed. At the moment, I have a plethora of DACs here and am going to do a broader comparison.

I am going to do a compare of the Rockna Wavelight, Rockna Wavedream Signature, Audiobyte HydraVox/Zap, Chord Hugo 2, Chord Hugo TT2, Bricasti M3, Bricasti M1 Special Edition, Weiss 501 and the internal DAC card for an AVM A 5.2 Integrated amp as a baseline.

For sake of consistency, I am going to use that same AVM integrated amp driving Vivid Kaya 45s. I may branch out and do some listening on other speakers (Verdant Nightshade of Blackthorn and/or Wilson Benesch Vertexes) but want to use the Vivids for every compare as they are the fullest range speakers I have here. For sake of consistency I will use a Chord 2Go/2Yu connected via an Audioquest Diamond USB as a renderer. The only exception is the Hugo 2 which has a 2Go directly attached to it. I will use a Roon Nucleus+ as a server in all cases.

My plan is to use the same five songs on every DAC; In a Sentimental Mood from Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, Be Still My Beating Heart from Sting, Liberty from Anette Askvik, Duende from Bozzio Levin Stevens and Part 1 of Mozart String Quartet No 14 in G Major from the Alban Berg Quartet. The intent is to touch on different music types without going crazy.

I will take extensive notes on each listening session and write up a POV on the strengths of each unit. I am going to start this this Friday/Saturday and will be writing things up over the next month or so. If you have thoughts, comments or requests, I will be happy to try and accommodate. The one thing I am not going to do is make the list of songs longer as that has an exponential impact on this and make everything much harder. If and when other DACs come in on trade I may add to the list through time.
@treebeard1 - I took a look at your room.  It is a very nice setup.  It looks like you are trying to maintain an equilateral triangle.  I have only a little experience with Tektons.  I have a customer I am working with who has the Ulfbehrts.  I am not sure how much they emphasize that and how sensitive they are in terms of placement near the sidewalls.  

Have you gone closer to the sidewalls?  It depends on the speaker if that reflection helps or hurts and those are way out into the room.  Does the bass get to boomy if you move them back a but?  For me, optimal is wider than 6'.  

If you are looking for soundstage depth, the M3 or the Wavelight would definitely be a step forward.  The M3 has the network card which makes it a brilliant option.  I would seriously consider it.  I do think you will have some limitations with how close you are to those speakers.  

One note, I assume when you say "non-audiophile" you mean normal music that people like, not low res.  If that is the case, I would recommend that M3 very much.  I obviously listen to more than audiophile tracks and digging into normal rock music (The Cars, Black Sabbath, Hendricks, Christopher Cross, Jimmy Buffet, etc...) I really liked it.  This is the DAC I have been listening too during my days and it makes me very happy.  

If you mean low res 128k and 256k MP3s, that is a completely different issue.  
My Weiss comparison is going to be delayed.  Another customer requested a demo and the DAC is on its way to them.  Should be back next week 
Have you gone closer to the sidewalls? It depends on the speaker if that reflection helps or hurts and those are way out into the room. Does the bass get to boomy if you move them back a but? For me, optimal is wider than 6'.  
Not much room to side because they are on the edge of the rug. It doesn't get boomy at all. Moved chair back a foot and had my first real listening session since getting the XA25 and definitely got improvement. Next house will have more room for the speakers to breathe. 
I believe Terry London of Stereo Times now prefers the Audio Note UK DAC 3.1/II (twice the price) to the Bricasti M3.

I have heard neither.
Crap - you are in Jersey City NJ?  I'll be happy to bring some gear over for you to hear or you can visit us in Boonton NJ to hear some of our gear.

Happy Listening.