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.


From the description of your room/system, you have bigger fish to fry than a DAC.

Just sayin......

OK, ozzy62, I’d like you to expand on that if you would.  I’ve started room treatment by adding 7 utility mats on the floor.  As I mentioned, I’m very happy with the sound of my Moondrop Blessing earphones.  My guess is that the weak links are the AirPort Express and/or streaming on the iPad Pro.  What would you address to take a step forward?

You nailed it. My first pause for concern was the room as you described it. No curtains or carpet makes for a very lively space. If you are addressing that, we can cross that off the list. The second one is the streaming configuration. You’d be much better served with a dedicated streamer connected to your modem and/or hard drive, if sound quality is of import.

And by "LP triangle in the corner" can I assume you mean a record player? If so, this is a very bad place to locate it. Standing bass waves can wreak havoc in corners and don’t play nice with a turntable. If I misunderstood, please disregard.

Lastly, the B&O speakers would be another weak link I'd be looking at.




Agree with @ozzy62   Your cabling also. The monoprice long cable likely degrades sound. I would start with a Bluesound Node 2 and get your streaming in order, then you can add an outboard DAC later if you want to further improve sound quality. 

  • Thx ozzy and Peter!  By LP I meant listening position.  Here it is, the red lounge chair in the foreground.  You can see the 2 B&O ‘pencil’ speakers on the right and left, connected by a 10ft cable.  I put mats under them for room treatment.  The subs are about 10ft behind the LP, 1 connected with the 25ft cable and the other wireless.