"Best" DAC for a grand or less

I am looking for a DAC for under a grand . I want something to favor the bass side ,as now my system is a bit on the bright side.I would like it to have a usb port also.My system now is......
Hafler pre amp
Counterpoint solid 1a amp (100 watts)
Nad 515 cd player
Tekton Lore speakers
Here on Audiogon you can get it for under a thousand. I've read some good things about the Eastern Electric, Rega and Benchmark too.
This thread is like a pin ball machine and considering our collective lack of digital design knowledge most everybody still has relevant input. Are we not all chomping at the bit for all this digital dodox to get worked out? I know I am, enjoying the unbelievable convenience of my Squeezebox without a DAC. My ears aren't bleeding but something needs to be done.

Even with a $1000 budget you just know the technology will soon render your purchase outdated within a year or so. It's like lighting a Roi Tan cigar with a hundred dollar bill. By the same token we're confident we're not going to find a speaker that sounds like a Magico for a grand.

What I've learned from a designer (subjectively? I don't have a clue, but anyway): That much of what's offered is simply a trial and error assemblage of parts with the possibly that a designers strong suit such as power supplies may give his design a slightly different presentation.

USB is not the ideal method of connectivity nor is anything else being used so far. We now have multiple iterations of software that have been written onto the TI TAS1021 chipset in a few short months which took Wavelengths Gordon Rankin years to complete, further clouding the term and quality of what asynchronous USB actually is. Along with the escalating sampling rates we're being hoodwinked with buzz words and figures as we were with low distortion figures back in the seventies. What is Thunderbolt?

The relationship between the converter chipset and the filtering being implemented is where a large part of the sonic correctness can come from in a DAC design yet this has become a forgone area of comparison in both the press and the manufactures white papers. Last month I heard a ripped 16/41kHz CD via a modified six year old DAC compared with a well known multi component conversion/clocking system playing the same music that was now a high sampled HD Track and the old setup simply sound noticeably better. I also heard a modified Benchmark against a much newer stock unit. The 6 Moons review of this comparison is spot on. Parts and smarts.

It seems to me that there is this huge scramble to get a products connectivity and sampling rate up to date while sonic correctness is taking a back seat at the moment. And, none of what I've written above does anything to answer the original posters simple question. On the contrary, I've simply piled on more skepticism forcing us to rely on the audio press who's limited experience and knowledge in this budding aspect of our hobby can be nothing more than a crap shoot. re. Stereophile's recent account of the Rega DAC by a confessed digitally challenged writer. Maybe less knowledge is more and that Rega is a terrific sub $1K DAC.

I wandered into a couple hi-fi shops in my area (San Diego). One of them, Stereo Design, is almost completely analog. Vandersteen and Electrocompaniet equipment dominates their space. The Music Hall DAC is the only DAC they carry. Their claim is that they only carry what they personally think sounds best--that's their main criteria. Take that for whatever it's worth. The Music Hall is $600.00. I haven't heard it, but these guys love it.
I'm not going to say "it's the best for a grand or less" - and a certain someone in this thread will cringe (KB, I never did get rid of the thing) - but...

The little MF V-DAC I purchased some time ago is still doing it's job in my system, and doing it well, and for $220 (used). I know, I know, it's a repackaged version of a slightly more expensive MF DAC, but it made my Squeezebox open up, big time. And the fact that HiFi Critic rated it higher than five other far more expensive and reputable DAC's - and found it to have the lowest jitter of any device they had ever tested - sold me on it.
"The Music Hall DAC is the only DAC they carry."
The Music Hall may be a great choice, but Stereo Designs in San Diego also carries the Rega DAC and the Ayre Acoustics QB-9 (which I bought!).

Vicdamone's comments, incl. referencing the expertise of Gordon Rankin's Wavelength Audio, are IMO right on the mark.

BTW, the Wavelength Audio Proton at $900 is the only DAC under $1000 currently listed as "recommended hardware" by Computer Audiophile, and would give you access to Wavelength Audio's very musical asynchronous mode solutions.

Good luck, and please let us know about your results.