What DAC to buy?

Under $1000.

I’ve been out of the DAC buying mode for 5 years. My Project Pre Box S2 sounded good enough. It seems to be dying...something in the output stage is scratchy and distorted sounding. Time to move on. I can buy something of equal or better sound quality, but I don’t have an audiophile system, so I doubt I’d get the full value out of a high end DAC.

Make a suggestion...lets keep it under $1000.

Here’s some specifics. I don’t need a combination DAC + Preamp. My Adcom GFP 750 pre got a refresh with Nicholson capacitors a couple years ago, its fine for me, even if its old school. I stream in CD quality...I gave Tidal a try, MQA sounded good to me, but plenty of CD recordings in the last 30 years are also pretty good, so, I don’t need to do MQA moving forward. So I stream via Amazon music for the most part, occasionally movies, and occasionally use my old CDs. That’s it. I don’t need upsampling, I don’t need any features really, no headphone option needed..just accurate sound, a USB port and a digital audio port. Maybe a Schitt Modi Plus?

I also have an Adcom 565 GMA amp that I refreshed with new capacitors and Tyler Acoustic speakers. Let me know your thoughts. I stream through a PC, not MAC. Don't even need bluetooth functionality in the DAC.  Many thanks.


The Denafrips Ares II got a new name last Winter. You would be looking for  a Denafrips "Enyo" now.

I have a Schiit Bifrost 2 that I upgraded to the 2/64.  It sounds wonderful in my system, is under your price limit and is, as has been demonstrated, upgradable.  (Part of my purchase criteria is “not made in mainland China” if possible, as I do not want to contribute even modestly to the Chinese military—admitted personal bias.  US-made, Canadian, European, or madeelsewhere in Asia would be fine if the product has the quality.)

+1 Denafrips Ares and Enyo

+1 the Topping is a sonic bargain

Gustard has a few DACs under $1k

Slightly above your budget but maybe a used Schiit YGGDRASIL or a used Mytek Brookland.  

"+1 the Topping is a sonic bargain."
Only if it keeps working. Topping quality control is dreadful. Look at the number of minions on ASR who complain about the brand's quality.