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.


you would be better off having your CDP upgraded then to buy a $1K DAC.  You would get much better sound.

MHDT Orchid has to be considered, you can pick them up under $1000. I still miss that dac and the MHDT Havana,  they were just enjoyable to listen too, and only one tube to roll, the 6sn7 adapter was nice, just a fun dac. 

If I understand correctly you don’t have a separate streamer. So buying a new DAC only unit will help you how exactly?

If you need a streamer/DAC combo, look for a used Lumin D1. Here’s a good one with linear power supply


++++1 I would buy the Denafrips Ares 12th anniversary over the Denafrips Ares II/Enyo, a few reasons:

(1) The Ares 12th has a full milled aluminum chassis versus a steel chassis for the Ares II/Enyo

(2) OCC copper power plug in the Ares 12th, vs standard copper in the Ares II/Enyo, also the fuse has been moved inward in case you want to upgrade it....versus in the power socket

(3) The Ares 12th has I2S input, which the Ares II/Enyo does not

The Schiit Bifrost 2/64 (which my Bifrost 2 was upgraded to) is a really great sounding and well designed upgradeable DAC. I like Schiit Audio and have a Freya, a couple of headphone amps and a couple of Loki EQs. All are superbly designed and sound great, are USA made, and generally less expensive than the competition although for some items there really is no competition.