Streamer/DAC combinations

Looking for opinions on Streamer/DAC combinations.  I am currently using a Node as my streamer and DAC.  Considering upgrading.  The options seem to be endless, so thought I'd solicit some of your opinions.  My node is currently running through a McIntosh C42 Preamp into a McIntosh MC352 Power amp.  Using Klipsh Forte IV's.  The node sounds good, but I think I may be leaving something on the table in SQ.  Not wanting to break the bank so to speak.  Maybe spend in the $2-3K area for budget.  Opinions???


Thanks to everyone for all of your suggestions!   I appreciate the input.  An external DAC is the obvious way to go.  Seems like the Denafrips Pontus II is the most popular suggestion.   kmcong mentioned the PS Audio Directstream DAC Mk1.  Thoughts about that DAC  vs the Pontus?  With the pace of improvements in the last few years, is an older generation of a higher level DAC going to outperform a new generation of a less expensive one?  Keep this conversation going,  it's been great to see the different points of view.

PS Audio DSD Mk1 is a really nice DAC. PS Audio is FPGA so I wouldn’t call it older generation as Ted Smith custom programmed it and it upsamples everything to DSD - latest Sunlight firmware is only few years old.
Worth looking into and would be choice between it and the Pontus.

I’m using an Aqua LaScala DAC. Very musical with my LUMIN U1 with upgraded XL - Power supply. 

Consider the MHDT Labs Orchid tube based DAC (single tube), about $1200 new.  You see used ones on occasion around $800.  Very musical and liquid sound, but still plenty of detail.  It’s been my primary DAC for several years.  Recently tried a Denafrips Venus II to potentially replace the Orchid… nope, much prefer the Orchid.  I think I’m going to have to spend over $5K to better the Orchid.

Good reviews on the Eversolo A8

DAC/Streamer/ Preamp/CD Ripper/Music Server.....