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.


Dac's I own and sell

Wadax Reference DAC and streamer

CH Precision C1 will be upgraded to 1.2. All previous customers can get their Dacs upgraded.

Brinkmann Nyquist Mark 2

EMM Labs MA3

Hifi Rose 150 and RS250

NAD / Bluesound. 

Dac's should match the level of electronics, speakers etc you have. The Hifi Rose at $2495.00 rs250 is a great buy especially if you have a 2 channel/cinema system combo. The Wadax makes sense for guys who want ultimate systems, The CH Precision Factory certified $29K dac is a bargain with a HD streamer board. 

What's the point with a ranking List?  "punch above their price category? "  Most of the choices, recommendations from just about any corner of the market are subjective.  Some reviewers go cheap and cheerful and don't believe in pricey models and the same goes for reviewers who are only interested in the best sound, screw price.  And of course the great middle ground.  Don't make a choice by what you hear on YOUTUBE!  It's fraught with so many reasons why that's not the best way to go that I think are obvious and self explanatory.  Maybe the biggest reason is that some reviewers are much better at demonstrations than others, kind of like the brightest, most vivid tv set on the floor.  I always find a good starting point with many things is to find someone whose taste sinks up with yours, and build relationships where you can.  Then go and listen, taste, touch, and lock eyes with whatever you can.

Based Upon the Responses…it looks like buying a Bluesound NODE would be the best next step.  That would replace streaming from my iPad Pro and AirPort Express.  Then I could follow up later with a better DAC.  
The responses will help me narrow down the best Value in a DAC.



Just my 2 cents and I am an importer/distributor for audio brands.


We have A/B tested slightly over 100 DAC's and approximately 30 different servers/streamers. The most overlooked part of digital is the actual set up. Running a separate router, upgraded connection from the router to the server/streamer and the digital cable from the DAC to the server/streamer.


In terms of DAC's, my personal favorite is the 130 lbs Aries Cerat Kassandra. However as a combination and at a much more realistic price point I really like the Rockna DAC's and matching Rockna Wavedream Net server/streamer. If I had to keep just 1 DAC for the remainder of my life it would be the Aries Cerat Kassandra paired with the Pink Faun 2.16 Ultra server/streamer.


There is lots of good digital product but it very difficult to find digital manufacturers that build both a server/streamer with the matching DAC and clock them together perfectly. I recommend that everybody buys their server/streamer first and then focuses on the DAC.


These are just my opinions so please be gentle and have a nice weekend.




The CH Precision Factory certified $29K dac is a bargain with a HD streamer board. 


A fine example of the kind of comment that only a high end dealer living in their high end world might come out with.

I bet even Stereopile would baulk at uttering such obvious drivel.