DAC upgrade

Let me start by saying I am a vinyl guy, but digital streaming, particularly if I can achieve the right sound has many advantages. My 2 channel equipment is as follows: 

Rogue RP-1 w/ NOS Brimar CV4003, LSA Warp 1, KEF R11’s, Rhythmic F12SE, Pro-ject 1Xpression w/Hana ML, Rega Aria, Bluesound Node, Marantz CD6007, Schiit Modi Multibit 2. Good to very good power, speaker, interconnect cables.  
My weakest link (I believe) is my DAC.

My desire is the best sounding DAC below $2,500, but certainly don’t mind spending less. i want the DAC to be as good as my best current component. I don’t need a DAC with preampliflication, don’t need balanced, don’t need headphones, however I would not eliminate a DAC with superior sound with those features. I do prefer a small form factor.  
My current top contenders are:

Chord Qutest, Schiit Yggy, RME ADI-2, Topping D90 III.

The Chord checks all my boxes… reviews, sound, form factor, no unneeded features, etc and don’t mind its quirky lights… but, looking your thoughts/ recommendations.  Thanks!




Was using Marantz HEOS, I’m assuming similar SQ to node. Purchased an Innuos music player. Truly, was a life-changing purchase. Getting the source right can make all the difference.

Similar situation and wondering if instead of upgrading the DAC, would getting a great preamp do the trick and eliminate the DAC all together?

I’d think you could find a lightly-used Matrix Audio X-Sabre 3 for less than $2500.  I’ve been using a Matrix Element X for several years and it’s superb.

I went through a similar search last year and ended up with an Yggdrasil+ LIM and have been very happy with the sound. Tried several other DACs including a friends’s Pontus II and a Gustard X26 Pro, but the Yggy LIM hit the sweet spot for me as I found the Pontus a little too rolled off and warm and the X26 Pro a little too soul-less even though slightly more resolving. 

However, to the point regarding the streaming source, I have a Node 2i with the PD Creative power supply interface/Allo Shanti LPS which I thought was good as well…until I upgraded to a better streamer. I settled on an Auralic Aries G1.1 and use the AES output to the Yggy and it was a very noticeable positive change, almost more so than swapping DACs. For all those that praise the Node, it is great for the money but it really was the weakest link in my chain however YMMV.

a wise person on this forum a week or so back said . When it comes to souping up the node. You can put Formula One tires on a Camaro. It’s still doesn’t make it a Ferrari.