New DACs High End Munich 2023

I am now searching for a new DAC to replace my Oppo UDP-205 and High End Munich 2023 was the event I was waiting for to hear about new announcements.

I know that Auralic and Total DAC have introduced new DACs and Primare has new modules. Anyone hear any other DACs being released in the next 2-3 months?


I really like my Bryston DAC, and the HDMI inputs can be used your Oppo205 to play DSD from SACD, DVD-A, and Blu Ray

I have older Total DAC but their new Untiy DAC's entry level is around $11K so it is far above your budget


New or old tech, R2R or ∆Σ, the most important thing is, implementation. Since you already own a very nice tube preamp I would steer clear of tube DAC’s. Compile a list of DAC’s under your budget and see how many of those you can audition risk free in your home.

@milpai seems the Weiss 204 is within your budget, if you don't need a streamer module, and you are okay with no native DSD and just the 3 USB/SPDIF/AES standard inputs. It is delta sigma but dual mono and Weiss is of good repute.

Another good choice would be Ferrum's Wandla, even cheaper and has a streamer module and lots more inputs, filters, and sample rates. Also does native DSD I believe. I own the Ferrum Hypsos LPS and it has been rock solid for 2 years now, Ferrum is a trusted European OEM so has a history of reliability.

Great questions and suggestions. Thank You for that.

As far as improvements are concerned - Oppo is a jack of all. So I am expecting more resolution from a dedicated DAC.

FGPA DACs - I have been eyeing used Hugo TT2 for sometime now.

About the Bryston - heard mixed reviews - but intrigued by AKM chip, though I know that it is the implementation that matters.

Weiss converts everything to 195 PCM and that is not the path I want to go. Will kindly request posters to not bring up PCM Vs DSD discussion here.

Wandla - was not aware of this. So will surely look into this one.

One more DAC that I am eyeing is the Okto DAC. This is one that has high recommendation from both camps.

@milpai, As was suggested above the KEY WORD is "audition risk free in your home (Thanks, @lalitk)". You will never know how a DAC, or any other component, will sound in your system until you try it.

It is the synergy of all the components working together, including the room, that makes an audio system sound great. Have fun listening.


I agree @hgeifman 

And I am completely with you @lalitk. Tubes in preamp is fine with me. I don't want tubes in my DAC.

Slightly above your budget, but take a look at T+A DAC 200. 

In my system, I'm using Aavik which is also a fantastic DAC and far superior to the Denafrips Terminator II dac that it replaced. Aavik DACs don't get a lot of coverage here but based on my experience they offer great performance.

Milpai Iam also thinking of looking to buy DAC my choice at this time either Used Audio Mirror or Schiit Yagdrassil..Weiss DAc maybe?

yyzsantabarbara,  After listening thru the 3 FPGA "tunings" of late on my Pontus II, I agree...very nice to have a manufacture/distributer that offers free upgrades and tries to accommodate differing ears.  The FPGA programing can create quite different sounding output.  The I2s/HDMI connection to my OPPO 85 was a main reason for the purchase...very satisfied!

@old_ears sorry to correct you but the Pontus II is not FPGA based - it is an R2R design. 

@acmaier3   The Pontus II is indeed an R2R DAC, but the ladder is controlled by an FPGA chip that has 3 different firmware editions available with different sound outputs.

@old_ears that’s not an FPGA DAC… and dumb AF if true. That would be inserting a digital filter after its already analog thereby negating the very purpose of R2R DAC architecture. After it’s in analog they’d be converting it back to digital, filtering it, then converting it to analog again.

There is a new Korean brand Waversa which I am hearing good things about which you may want to checkout

@jayctoy ,

You already own the excellent Marantz SA10. I am wondering what this player/DAC lacks? If I had that one, I would simply stop looking. But maybe you are searching for something different?

@arafiq ,

Believe me, the T+A DAC 200 is on the very top of the list. But unfortunately it is beyond the price range. This is the only DAC that consistently gets positive reviews.In fact some users feel that between this and the $10k+ DACs, the improvement might not be even worth the money the pricier DACs are commanding. I have not heard any of them, so I cannot come to any conclusion.

The Bricasti M3 also has great reviews. I will definitely check out the Waversa.

Milpai those DAC I mentioned will be going to my second system. Yes indeed I own the SA10 and Ruby both are stellar sacd players.On redbook I prefer transport and a good dac.

Partly Milpai I love Tubes cdp too. I have the the Raysonic 168 and 238 as well. You are right maybe I just want something different.But Iam not in a hurry to jump into those DACs I mentioned.. I do have the Schiit Gungnir pair with Cambridge transport.

What about Aqua La Voce S3? Runs close to the top of your budget, but has been reviewed as hitting well above its price. It’s seems to be a discrete dac with something special. I’ve never heard it, but others I know have and say it’s pretty exquisite.

@ acmier3,  I'm no engineer but here's the descriptive post from Alvin at Vinshine Audio:

I have a photo of the FPGA chip in my DAC.  It is not programed as an analog filter but the master controller of the resistor ladder.  I know you are thinking of pure FPGA DACs like the Cord Electronic line...not the same architecture. 

    The point of my posts here was to agree with @yyzsantabarbara saying FPGA DAC are the future.  Maybe I misunderstood his/her statement but I'd like to think more DAC manufactures will future proof their offerings by following Denifrips/Vinshine's policy of free upgrades and different "tunings" to choose from.  This is possible with pure FPGA DACs as well as FPGA "controlled" devices.

@jayctoy , I understand your requirement now. I did see that you have multiple systems. Yes, love the Rhumba, especially with the NOS Mazda tubes.

I really have no preference to tech when it comes to DACs. Chip, R2R, FPGA, does not matter. All that matters is, if will make a positive change in my listening experience.

One thing I did forget to mention, since folks discussed using the Oppo's HDMI. The CD playback from my current Oppo is "average". When you playback using USB, it is a vastly positive experience. The last time I used it as a CD player was in June-2021. So just for fun, I decided to try to play CD on it, just to see if USB or disc-drive makes a difference. I listened to the first 10 seconds and ejected the CD. I also then tried to play BluRay after connecting the HDMI on the TV. And for this needs, it is a stellar unit.

I highly recommend that you speak with Ben at Mojo Audio. 

You can access reviews of his products.  He answers 

his phone and will spend time with you. He offers risk free 

auditions and many of  his products are on sale.


I would like to hear the new Ferrum DAC + Power supply.

Might be worth checking out at that price point.

I have a friend who produces their own designs DAC's and Phonostages.

Recently the latest DAC this person produced, which was designed to present with a perception that there was a underlying Rich Tone, was used in a comparison with a Denafrips Venus II (not with latest FW Updates) and it was quite evident the DAC produced by a friend had shown the Denafrips a 'Clean set of Heels'.

The Venus owner was looking to replace the model following this experience. Vert recently the Venus owner has made it known the model has now had all Firm Ware Updates and the device has lifted to a much improved presentation and a much improved experience.

The friend who builds DAC's is at the Munich Show over the Weekend and has an intention to become familiar with lesser known DAC's that are being demonstrated. Maybe some models demonstrated will be readily available in the US, and not so in the UK.

If the OP is interested in receiving a list of DAC's that made a good impression, I am happy to request info to pass on, I suspect my friend will Photo document a lot of the equipment, this should help with identifying systems in use, which may also be made known. 

@milpai  Hi, my OPPO 85 does not have USB out but with a small inexpensive Chinese HDMI to I2s breakout box you bypass the onboard DACs and pass a full res digital signal to to my Pontus II.  It provides the very best sound to my Aria phones.  Redbox CD or SACD.  More and more manufactures are providing for I2s connections.  Denifrips now has it on their least expensive DAC.  Holo May also provides a HDMI/I2s input among others...I'm sure even higher end units would benefit from this protocol.

@pindac ,

Please feel free to add your friends impressions here on this thread. Goal is to understand the new stuff and what people felt about the product as such. Photos are not really needed, since Google is our friend 🙂

@old_ears , I am really not looking to utilize I2S for the DAC. But Thank You for the suggestion.

Would definitely look at R2R ladder DACs: Denafrips Terminator II 12th Anniversary at $5,000 would be at the top. The Musician Aquarius at $3,200, and the Holo Audio May DAC KTE are next best…..but hard earned cash would be on the Terminator 

As a reminder and in relation to 'New'.

The owner of the Denafrips Venus II that is now with the latest Firmware added, no longer feels the need to seek out an alternative model or discuss having a DAC built. This is a very seasoned user of HiFi Equipment, who has experienced a substantial amount of equipment in use, it looks like the Venus II has raised the bar.

The T+A DAC200 is a great DAC. But great and superlative are two different

sonic worlds IMO. Buy a DAC that you won’t feel the need to upgrade in a year or two. Then there’s the world of the Denafrips Terminator level of performance. You’ll be satisfied for a time but eventually…


When you are selective and pay more sometimes you’ll get the quality of performance that won’t give you the upgraditis maximus in a few years time. Do yourself a favor and look into brands like Audio Note and Playback Designs. Those who have heard, reviewed over time or had purchased a Playback Designs MPD-8 find it a keeper. Fast forward two three years and they still happily own that unit. Go read the reviews.

People do not want to fork out such $$$ for a DAC but if it’s digital audio bliss that rivals analog and gives new life and appreciation for Redbook CDs/files one should consider that investment. Eventually trickle-down technology may offer sonics that approach the level of an MPD-8 or a DAC5 but who knows when that will be. The quality is there today. Worth a listen.

Buy a DAC that you won’t feel the need to upgrade in a year or two

So, if you notice my system, I am long time "keeper. I am not a person who sells within 4-5 years. Most of my components are long term and I try to derive maximum joy before moving on. I am sure that whether I get a Okto or T+A or Holo or Dana or whatever - I am not going to change because there is something new in the market.

But I do appreciate your advice and it is taken well. Playback is a great DAC. Will consider used ones.

The Playback piece is superlative and the trickle down is already here…in the form of the Playback Edelweiss MPD-6 - still well over $5k however 

I have a Musician Aquarius. It’s easily the best digital I’ve had at my house. Makes everything sound like gold. Also my 1st R2R dac so dunno what’s better worse etc. 

Wow!!! There are SOOOOO many great DACs on the market these days and most peoples suggestions are solid (not the Marantz suggestion!). The only real way to decide is to audition multiple options (preferably in your one setup) and decide what ‘you’ prefer! Zero chance that all these recommended brand options will match exactly what the OP is looking for!….

I spend a lot of time listening to DACs in this price range.  There are some great suggestions above.  Particularly I hear great things about Merason though I have not heard it personally.  Two that I didn't see come up that I think you would find interesting are:

Canor DAC 2.10.  It is ESS based but with a tube stage that softens the edges from that chip and list is $4K.  I have several dealers around the country where you can here it and I also lend this out.  8 or 9 filters are available and it fully unfolds MQA.  Tons of detail, nice staging and not fatiguing.  

The Audiobyte HydraVox is an FPGA DAC with tons of detail and a huge soundstage.  It has a reputation for being quite natural sounding and is the FPGA side of Rockna.  Lisit is $4500.  

Having had several oppo products here as points of comparison I think both would be very appealing as an upgrade.  Neither is in the league of the Playback MPD6 or MPD 8 but if you listned to either alongside the Playback you would get why I am suggesting them.  

Full disclosure, I am obviously a dealer for these products along with Playback designs.  If you can, do your best to try and hear the product in home in your system.  If does make a bid difference.  

@jayctoy , I will be looking for the following DACs, but will take my time - Chord Hugo TT2 , Terminator Plus, Okto Stereo and Bricasti. I want to visit some bigger cities before I am able to make a decision. My timeline is in the next 3-6 months.

BTW, even your Marantz SA10 is under consideration if I get a good deal. Not sure why @boostedis thinks it's not a good choice. Playback designs is way too much over what I have budgeted.

@milpai Some love it, some love to hate it, but the Musetec MH-DA005 is excellent for 3k. It was one of those DAC's that just made me smile right out of the gate early on.

I have the Gustard R26, Musetec MH-DA005, Molo Molo Tambaqui and T+A DAC 200.

I would highly recommend any and all of them given their respective price points.

Happy hunting and good luck!

Milpai the Marantz SA 10 is a all around cdp.Music Direct usually have good deal on them.When I play sacd , sometimes I thought Iam playing vynil records.My analog set up is Sutherland 20/20 with LPS  phono pre, tt VPI prime scout with Hana  cart.