How much should I spend on a new DAC

Hello Gents. What would be reasonable sum to spend on a new DAC relative to my current audio rig.

Speakers: Sonus Faber Olympica II

Integrated Amp: Pass Labs INT-25

DAC: Pro-Ject Dac Box S2+

Speaker Cables: Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire

Power cable: Kimber PK10 Base

Interconnects: Audioquest Tower

I must say I'm very happy with the music coming out of my speakers but It's obvious that the DAC is not the same league as the rest of the equipment.


@adg101 I’m glad you’re happy with your sound, but I’d suggest trying this R2R DAC, and if it’s not a big improvement just return it. My bet is it’ll be very interesting if nothing else, and my bet is you keep it. Like Wilson speakers it excels at 3D imaging/soundstage so could be some good synergy FWIW.  And I agree, get a streamer before looking at a DAC — it’s a total game changer.

+1 @sgreg1 is spot on, the Gustard R26 is truly the only 'unicorn' DAC I've yet had in this crazy hobby, replaced my Terminator II, also that frees up your funds for a good ethernet switch + fiber optic isolation kit, which will give you almost as clear uptick in SQ as the R26 - and don't forget to spend freely on good cables, EVERYTHING in a digital source chain is important IME.


Hi - my system is pretty similar, broadly, and I’m running a MacBook with Roon/Tidal as my source.

When I upgraded from a DAC comparable to the Pro-Ject, I went with the Benchark DAC3, and am delighted with the choice. Hadn’t anticipated the difference would be so tangible and immediate. I don’t feel any desire to search further.  Had the same reasoning on budget, btw

I use Tidal, and decided I could live without MQA given how good the Benchmark is. Haven’t missed MQA (or, said another way, I’m so pleased with the sound that I don’t really care about further experimentation)

Returnable if not to your taste (if purchased as an amazon prime member)

(I Kimber Kable for everything (their second tier up) - figure it’s well built with good materials, and that’s enough mental investment in cabling for me)

Let us know what you decide, and enjoy!


Thanks for spending time talking to me about the values of the r26. If you read all the reviews on the Amazon link you provided, you will see a couple of very negative ones regarding obvious sound issues probably due to some manufacturing problems. Understandable since r2r is a brand new thing for Gustard. And it's not the only site where I heard of these issues. I will be patient and wait another year, when my pro26 warranty runs out, before I may give it a try. Those issues will likely be resolved by then. 

The Gustard R26, something I’m definitely interested in has a rival in the family; the Gustard A26 with the new AKM chipset that’s getting some positive attention.