Sub $1000 DAC with AKM chip


I don’t wish to start a heated debate but I’m looking for a DAC for my daughters system. Does anyone have a recommendation for an under $1000 DAC that uses an AKM chip? I have a Topping D90 with AKM that I like. It’s not my endgame DAC but it is substantially better than many I have tried before. I know that many like ESS, Burr Brown, Wolfson etc, but I would prefer to just hear opinions about AKM and I’d also like to stay away from a discussion about streamers (I’m also considering a Bluesound Node)…Hell, I might even get her an Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt since she is so iPhone-centric. She recently voiced her dissatisfaction with low fidelity and wants to hear music from better equipment so I’m giving her one of my integrated tube amps and a set of speakers. I don’t want to go nuts on this since she may ultimately find that hifi is not really as appealing as she imagined.

thanks all for your replies 


All solid advice. Especially interested in the Geshelli as it’s always nice to see a US company making this type of gear at a great price point, and for a beginner’s budget to boot 

thanks for all your input!

She has a pretty wide range of tastes with music. Pretty much easier to say what she’s not into.. (country/western and classical)

Pick up a RME it has bass and treble knobs also a eq and different filters. I’m sure she’s not picky on soundstage. If you do pick up one get the one with bass and treble buttons on the remote.

I have to agree with the comments on an AKM DAC with a tube amplifier..You'll likely end up in the old Conrad Johnson Syrup bottle..
 Some excellent sounding SABRE DACS from Topping,SMSL & a few others that escape my aged & damaged brain..

Wow, I’ve got the AKM Topping paired with a Marantz Model 8. I wonder if I’d get something better out of a DAC with an ESS chip for my own setup…