DAC suggestion for PC


Need some help deciding on which DAC to use with a few changes I will be making for my PC audio setup. Currently I am using a iFi Audio Zen DAC v2 connected by USB (and a Fosi Audio Tube amp). Right now I am using some PSB Image bookshelves (but I'll be changing these as well) and a Velodyne Subwoofer. 

The change I will be making, is I'm looking at changing my amp to a used Cambridge Audio CXA61 which has its own DAC. The Cambridge has the ESS Sabre ES9010 DAC model. If this isn't a better DAC, then I'll look at the Cambridge Audio AXR85 instead which doesnt come with a DAC instead and keep the zen dac.

My questions are the following:

1. Is the CXA61 dac better than the Zen DAC v2? It would be nice to eliminate an extra piece of equipment.

2. Might be a bit out of my budget, but how much of an upgrade would the CXA81 with the ESS Sabre ES9016 DAC be? Is it worth paying the extra?

From what I understand, the model of the DAC alone doesnt tell the whole story, but how the unit is built and setup around it that also matters. Hence why I am looking for some feedback as Ive never compared or auditioned them with an A/B comparison. Thanks

skads_187

Any Streamer suggestions? for tidal ? I just liked using my pc because its easy for me to open the app and change songs, etc while working. 

So I guess getting the CXA61 seems like a good idea DAC wise?

I believe the iFi Zen Stream works with Tidal and would be a big sonic upgrade from using your computer.  The Zen DAC is actually a good DAC that uses Burr Brown chips that many prefer to ESS DACs as they are purported to be more “musical” sounding, but you’re absolutely right that it’s more than the chip and overall implementation is key.  If I’m you I’d get the Zen Stream (I own it BTW) and eventually get something like the iFi iPowerX power supply for the Zen Stream that can significantly boost performance for relatively little $$$ (I own that too).  Just my $0.02 FWIW.

@soix Interesting! ok, I think step 1 for now, is the amp, as its my weakest link I have to imagine. Then speakers (which I had to do anyway, bringing the current ones to main floor for tv room) , then a streamer. Sad part is though... maybe I should get a streamer with DAC vs an amp with DAC? which now opens a new door of research. 

Is this streamer good? Cambridge Audio MXN 10 compared to the iFi Zen Stream? thanks

I think step 1 for now, is the amp, as its my weakest link I have to imagine. Then speakers (which I had to do anyway, bringing the current ones to main floor for tv room) , then a streamer.

I’d encourage you to identify your new speakers first (even if you don’t purchase them first) and get an amp that can appropriately drive them and synergize with them musically.  I have no idea about the MXN 10 so can’t help there, but the Zen Stream has garnered many positive reviews that say it punches well above its price level, and given what I’ve heard I believe it.