DAC that compete with EMM M3 and playback design m6

I like the sound of AMR cd 77.1 but these are far and few available. What I have heard on line with both Meitner M3 and Playback design m6/8 is a similar sound. Very open analog sounding. 

playback designs is just $$$ way out of reach. The Meitner is closer but at around 7k is just not in the cards. Looking for recommendations of similar sound quality without spending an arm and leg. I currently own a Cary 306/200 cd player and have enjoyed it and have thought about looking for a Cary 306 professional model


You can get one of these for $4900 with a trade in.  30% off retail.  They sound amazing, and as you described.  PerfectWave SACD Transport – PS Audio

The T+A200 dac is better then both and less monies .

and has a excellent preamp if you chose to use it, galvanic isolated throughout .

that is my gift to myself after the holidays .I have heard pretty much everything out 

there , and at $7200 Retail myself andmany others find it betters the competition 

at 2x the cost it is that good ,and has HQ player built in ,which is built into the back 

end of Roon ,plus many other options. 

T+A is not better than the Meitner and gets blown away by the MPD-8. It is a good $7k Dac.




This is actually the older CD transport and DAC, not the SACD transport and newer DAC. It would be a raging steal if it were. I’m sure it’s still a great set, just not what you were probably referring to as you posted the SACD link before.

Send your Cary to me for upgrading.  Last two we upgraded sounded amazing and may actually be better than the DACs you are looking at.  We build a 101D DHT tube DAC and it competes with ours.  I liked it so much, I purchased one for myself!  Over 100 parts go into the CDP and way under your budget.


I did a bake-off between the T+A 200 and the PS A DSD Mk2. The PS A was (is) more refined, more natural. 

In Playback designs range is also very good APL Hi fi   -  APL   DSD AR  dac.

A Playback Design Merlot DAC would be an excellent choice. Retailed for around $6k new and you can find them used for around $4k. Very well reviewed when they were released and will give you a significant portion of the Playback Design house sound that you are seeking. If you use USB input, the Playback Design USB-X4 device converts USB to the PBD PLink optical input, is compatible with the Merlot, and can be added for a nice SQ upgrade.  

@markmuse interesting.  Goldensound also has a decent review of T+A vs another one 1/2 the price and find the latter has deeper stage and better layers 

@quattr0 The DSD Mk2 is actually a little more expensive than the T+A, but clearly worth it from my perspective.