DAC Under $3000

I am considering the purchase of a new DAC. Budget is no more than $3000. I lean towards clear, detailed sound with good separation. In the past I have had PS Audio Stellar, Benchmark, and Merason Frerot. I thought all were good, but not necessarily "special". Suggestions please. Thanks!


Sometimes there exists different options based on the performance requirement aka, primarily for streaming, cd and/or sacd playback, or server playback.  I use a custom built DAC for cd only playback.  It has USB input and can do higher resolution but sounds best for CDs only.  

Look at either a Denafrips Venus ll  or a used Terminator ll.  You won’t be disappointed.

A used Denafrips Terminator II or a used La Scala MKII. 

Don't cut corners with the DAC. It's the core that the rest of the system revolves around.

You can gradually upgrade the rest of the system later, and you will be rewarded as you use better components that will better reveal the DAC true capabilities. 

In the future you will also need a DDC to improve the quality and clocking of the input to the DAC. This brings a big lift to sound. 

Good luck