DACed and Confused here...

So many brands/models/shapes/sizes. Everyone has an opinion.

I have decided to start my streaming with a DAC. I will probably just use a tablet initially with Quobuz or Tidal, before ultimately getting a proper streamer.

Looking for <=$1500. I thought I was set with the RME ADI-2 until I read here that it would require a new power supply and basically an engineering degree to make it sound good (not flat, not analytical). Is that price point too low?

System is ARC REF 5se --> Art Audio PX-25 --> Blumenhofer FS-2, with the DAC coming in as the source.

Can anyone give me some guidance?


I just got a Gustard A26 dual AKM R2R DAC and am amazed at the performance for about $1450 delivered.  Remote for on-the-fly changing of inputs, clock input, nice LED screen, etc. I’ll be listing my Denafrips Terrminator 12th Ann early next year.

For anyone interested.

The winner is... the Denafrips Pontus II. I'll let you guys know how it goes in a few weeks.

I'm unclear on whether I can use a "desktop" DAC in a full two channel system. I'm currently stream using BS node and the internal DAC for MQA processing. While I like the node, it seems the SQ can be improved by using an external DAC.

I've read about several Chinese-made DACs (eg. SMSL, Topping) that measure exceptionally well but are affordable. Is the nomenclature of these desktop/headphone DACs just that or do they have sufficient specs to be used in a two-channel system? 😶