I auditioned Assemblage DAC 2.6 DF1704 version, and I was floored.
It had absolutely correct tonality, just incredible, exceptional rhythm, all instruments followed the same pace, the whole presentation was scary real.
I have never heard anything like this.
This DAC is no longer made.
Can those NOS DACs lovers please comment on what NOS DACs on today’s market may be equal to or exceed (if it is even possible?) the performance of Assemblage DAC 2.6?
I am not interested in USB or tube DACs, only SS DACs that will have AES/EBU digital input (preferably SPDIF as well) and balanced analog outputs (preferably unbalanced as well).
Find a used Timbre TT-1, they usually sell for $5-800 when they appear. I used to own one and have always regretted selling it. The sound is highly detailed but still organic and a bit warm. Cool industrial design to boot. Check one out sometime, and happy listening!
I concur with Earthpulse...not sure what your asking for even exists. There are many good NOS DAC's though, with unbalanced outputs and SPDIF inputs. One of the best, I think, is the Altmann Attraction DAC. If you want the mother of tone, that's it. I was never really satisfied with a digital front end until I listened to a NOS DAC. Good luck!
As I should have mentioned above, the Timbre TT-1 was available with a balanced option, AES/EBU input and XLR balanced outputs. I know because I owned one. If you can find one for less than $7-800 buy it, you won't regret it. Good luck and happy listening!