Quest for an external Dac has resulted in me way down the rabbit hole

Hi audio wizards!  I’ve read several articles and reviews about the benefits of a good quality external DAC, and the potential for “real” improvements in musical quality in a current system. I do believe my system might be in line .  I currently have a Rotel 955 CD player I like, a nodeii and a Creek evo 100 integrated amp.  The Ohm 1000 speakers sound a little lean in the top end although I do like them overall.  At this point I’ve been looking for a Dac that would bring a little more “spring and liven up my system”.  However, the more I research, the more confused I get.  I’ve been to a couple higher end stereo stores and I seem to just get the “party line”.  I live in Denver Colorado, and although I like the PS Audio line I can’t afford them.  If any one has any advice for me on a good quality external     
Dac model for under $1000 (new or used) I could sure use the help! Thank you



Truthfully, you will only know when you listen for yourself in your own home with your own system.

Once you realize the importance of the external DAC you will likely be switching them out like speakers for the first year of two. And they are much easier to switch out than speakers.

Start cheap, Like in the less than $200 range to see what everyone is talking about.

Having said that. The real center of the universe of quality without diminishing returns of money vs quality of sound hovers around the $1000 mark. I have owned and can highly recommend the RME ADI2, the Denfrips AriesII. My own favorite in that money range group is the Schiit Gungnir, frigging love that DAC.  All three are different from each other and wonderful with no negatives.

Now I am running the Schiit Yggdrasil OG. Purchased for $2100 used. For me my endgame DAC.

Final note. They all do sound different. And super great measurements don’t count for much in the equation. I purchased a super perfect measuring DAC reviewed by Amir (who I trust), that measured great, sounded like mud.

You have to hear these yourself.

I live in Colorado and think the best dealer is crescendo up in wheatridge- matt there is awesome.  Before finding crescendo I bought a lot of gear (speakers, amp, preamp, turntable,cables) from soundings - wouldn’t buy from them again.