Is there a DAC ranking list?

This is a follow up from my previous thread seeking more definition and presence in my music.  Among other ideas, I was advised to get a new DAC and several brands were tossed out from $100 to $1700+. The world of DAC’s is large, and I’m wondering if there’s a ranking list for them, similar to Crinicles list for earphones.  I especially like the value ratings on that list, such as “Redefines the price bracket.”

Here’s a recap of my scenario:

I listen to jazz at lower volumes on via my Apple iPad pro

My room is big, 20ft by 40ft, no carpeting or drapes, with a corner LP triangle

Apple AirPort Express Wireless Router a1392 300Mbps

B & O BeoLab 8000 powered speakers, 10ft from the LP 

Hsu ULS15 Mk II 15in sealed sub imid-room

Paradigm Monitor Series 7 12in sealed sub mid-room via wireless transmitter

Monoprice cables 10ft and 25ft, 22awg, 3.5mm plugs to RCA connections 

I am sure there are many good and great DAC’s out there.  But are there some that punch above their price category?  I also don’t want to pay a premium for one that exceeds the quality capabilities of the rest of my system.

My music sounds “A++” with my Moondrop Blessing headphones, so listening to on my iPad is giving me the quality of sound that I am seeking for my speakers.

Also, I don’t know if I need a DAC with a preamp or a streamer.  Thx for any ideas you might have that could help me.


John Darko used to have a 'Dac-Ranking' list.

I think it's now password protected, but may still be worth investigating.

can someone rank the best burgers in the usa? best smoked brisket? best french bordeaux? best sports cars? best seafood restaurants? best paintings in the louvre?

speaker rankings? record player rankings?

please please please... will make life so much easier... ordinals are just so clear, unambiguous.... just wanna know the rankings... 😉

sorry, couldn’t resist...

I’ve read several times a 2121 Audiogon thread “DAC That Punches Above Its Price Point”.  It has been helpful, but I asked about a “DAC ranking list” because I had such a good result using the one Chronicle created for earphones.  I appreciate your answers, and will study them.  I apologize for asking ‘beginner’ questions, but I live in a city where there is only a Best Buy, and my friends have 1970’s stereo systems.  I listed my equipment and listening habits, because there are likely a FEW “best value DAC’s” out there for me…finding one is the trick.  It has to be both good sounding and a good value.  Hamburgers?  That’s an easy one.  Without a doubt…the best burger is at the Anchor Bar and Grill in Superior, WI…$4 burgers, $6.25 if you want a 2/3lb one…fresh fries for $1.25.  So you might say I’m looking for the DAC that matches their deal.

How could you possibly compile such a ranking list? I think that there are more DAC's on the market than almost any other component. Just check out the DAC classifieds on USAM.

+1 @akg_ca 

I can’t see any worthy ranking below about a $3,000 price point. That’s the approximate starting threshold level and going north,....


There was a 2018 DAC shootout on WBF, but the DACs were from $2k to $100k+.  Current best DAC seems to be the WADAX at $150k.  Generally speaking, to hear a significant sonic uptick over the typical box store offerings these high-end DACs start at ~$3k.  Consider buying used to save $, often 30-50%.

If you're shopping at the ~$1k level, IIRC a couple of years agos Gustard reviews seemed to suggest great price/performance, possibly a bargain at their price point.  Also Denafrips garners many positive reviews.