Let's Talk DAC's

My current DAC, the Chord Chordette Qute HD is getting on with age and I am looking for a new one with superior performance. So far, I have narrowed down my search to five DACs. At the low end is the Denafrips Ares II and the Eversolo DAC Z8. Mid range the RME ADI-2 and at the top end the Chord Qutest and the Denafrips Pontus II.

This is for an all-digital setup in a 12x12 dedicated room. I have a much larger room with a much "bigger" set up, but for this room it is a simple PrimaLuna Prologue Classic integrated, Audiolab 6000 CD transport, ProAc Tablette 10’s, and a REL T/5i Subwoofer. I plan to add a streamer as well, but that is for another discussion.

I am conflicted with the choice between a delta-sigma modulated DAC and an R2R type Dac. I do like the FPGA technology in my current DAC. It has served me well.

I am certainly open to other ideas and welcome comments from those of you that have experience with this equipment.

I forgot to add; I like a wide and deep soundstage and good imaging. I also hate a rolled off high end.






I'm not sure what's been mentioned before, however the Gustard R26 R2R DAC has received rave reviews and at $1695 I believe is a really good DAC.  I personally don't have one however if you can find a friend or acquaintance that has one to audition, it would help you decide. I personally have a Denafrips Terminator Plus and a BorderPatrol DAC both of which sound great.  I prefer R2R DACs as what I hear is more analog sounding than other types of DAC's I've heard.  Of  course, your individual sonic tastes will vary so I'd  say try whatever you can in your price range and decide.    Good Luck in your DAC search !  

There are first generation PSAudio DirectStream DAC’s refurbished by PSAudio that can be purchased from them and they accept trade-in up to a certain amount. Stereophile Class A and there are multiple FPGA updates you can try out to get the sound you like. 
The second generation has been released so owners are trading in for the second generation. If you can stretch to this level, you will be quite satisfied. 

I agree with you. About anything in my price range is pretty much a lateral move, so I am upgrading with a Teddy Pardo LPS.

If you’re interested in R2R with FPGA processing and the ability to roll driver tubes I would recommend auditioning an Aqua La Scala Optologic MKII. I’ve owned one for some time now and still love the way it presents digital- especially with NOS tubes. 
TMR La Scala

Have you taken a look at the very unique Black Ice (Jolida) Glass FX Tube DAC?

I have one when it was still being produced by Jolida, and it has the stage one upgrades (Resistor, diode, capacitor and tube upgrade. Increased definition, tighter bass, more focus in the midrange, and more body and holographic image).

I’m feeding it with a Cambridge Audio DXD CD Player and the sound is magical!

The DAC portion features a Burr-Brown 1795 TI chip, and the analog amp uses two 12ax7 tubes for warmth. DSD clocking is based on the Savi Bravo SA9227 asynchronous chip.

I listen to a lot of acoustic material (Jazz, chamber music, new age) with some old school Jazz-Fusion thrown in and it’s always a revelation on just how much sonic material is buried in a CD!

Black Ice Audio Glass FX DAC