Looking for a DAC that's better than Mc C47

Hi guys, I'm looking for a DAC upgrade to improve my current setup.  Using the Mcintosh C47 digital preamp as the main interface source for a few years.


I find the C47 lacking in rich harmonics tones and 3D-ness in digital music playback.  Budget around USD1000. 


I've heard Denafrips Aries II and it doesn't even sound close.  Topping, SMSL & Gustard around this price also not close.  The C47 is good sounding already, just wanting to better it.


Any recommendations?  Thank you.


Audio Research DAC 9, Berkeley Alpha Reference 3.


The ARC is a tiny bit more musical.

rsf the bricasti is a 5500 dac and  and it favors clarity over midrange bloom 


so that is not the right avenue 

a better question is how are you feeding the dac are you using stock power cords, power conditioning? vibration isolation?


often it is all of these tweeks that bring out the sound you are looking for


Dave and Troy

audio intellect NJ



Thank you guys for the recommendations.  Where I stay, there's no seller for Mytek, Berkeley and AR.  But I'll research on them and see if I can buy online based on blind faith.  Hahahaha


Bricasti is way off my budget chart.



Thanks for the tweak tips, but I don't think cables and vibrations are the cause for what I'm looking for.   I run a TT to the C47, it's a Technics 1200 mk2 more than 20yr old and old Benz cartridge MO-0.9, using old YBA Integre phono module output and the SQ is really super.  Only soundstage not as good as digital version of the same music, eg. MJ "Smooth Criminal", or George M "Kissing A Fool".  I have both albums on CD and LP.


Yes, I understand LP and digital are very different and many variables in between.  The rich harmonics, lush and 3D-ness on the LP is lacking in the digital playback.  So using existing equip with LP playback as reference, vs digital playback, via C47 preamp.


I ripped the CDs and use a Intel NUC as playback from SSD storage.  USB cable is Furutech silver plated OCC.  The SQ is really very good, just that the missing oomph is not quite there compared to LP.


Off topic:  My TT setup is such because the C47 phono is very sucky, to the point I find unlistenable.  Tried both MM and MC input, with and w/o step-up trans, and of cos' all loading options.

I owned the C47 for a while and was not happy with the built in dac. I bought a Musetec MH-da005 for about 3K. I know this may be above your budget, but some feel this compares well to dacs costing 10K. Much has been written here on the Audiogon digital forum about it. Some think it may be the end of the search. I wrote a detailed review.




Look into a used Benchmark DAC3b should be around your budget. Chord Qutest should also be a step up. These two DACs I’m familiar with and I heard the dac1 built into McIntosh integrated. 
Other choices just based on reviews are Schiit Bifrost, older Bryston BDA-1 or BDA-2. 

@rsf507 let me know where Bricasti M3 is in sale for around $1000. 😂