When Will the DAC Singularity Be Reached?

A humorous title, but wondering if those more in the know have an opinion on either: i) examples today where inexpensive DACs (say under $2500) are comparable or superior to expensive (say over $10K) DACs or ii) can we anticipate that within a relatively few number of years that inexpensive DACs will basically achieve the sound quality of today's expensive DACs? Thanks. 




I used to be on the equipment ferris wheel, going around and around and around. Maybe equipment roulette is more fitting? This DAC, that DAC, this cartridge, that cartridge, amps, etc. Never quite happy. Once I learned all the nuances of speakers in a room, got appropriate speakers, subs, and fixed my room, then I finally got off the equipment merry go round. All those changes I thought I was making, that never seemed to quite do it, were not doing anything. I have easily spend over $20K on DACs over the last decade. Now every DAC in my main system sounds good. 

Maybe I am the man out in this discussion, but I would rather be happy and confident in my system than yearn for yet another lateral change. One spot I do agree with @melm is that good headphones are more revealing than speakers.

Because of my journey, like the op, I question the value of expensive DACs. They may be different but different is not better, it is different. Maybe that works for you, maybe it does not. It is working for some people here, but I wonder what are they putting a bandaid over.

Never. Quality components cost money. You can hear the difference with every pair of high quality resistors that you substitute. A simple volume control can be improved all the way to $1k parts cost. I know - I did it.

Quality costs. Period.

Whenever I hear amplifier companies touting GaN technology, I think "Fine Carinthian Leather". Purifi and Hypex don't seem to have a problem making amplifiers with almost unbelievable performance with regular transistors. I think many other companies have to use GaN because they don't have the technology to make a good amp without it. GaN is probably easier to market.

It seems I was grossly misunderstood by @othercrazycanuck in a very audiophile way.  Likely I did not express it well.

Revealing or not, I don't advocate listening through earphones to recordings that are engineered to sound like real musical events through loudspeakers.  It creates a surreal experience, not a naturally sounding one.

What I meant, though, is that audiophiles and critics whose experience with musical instruments is almost exclusively through loudspeakers, rather than with unamplified real instruments, are relatively more easily satisfied with cheap components.

Great DACs will always cost more,

I have had a fair amount of experience recently with a couple of budget DACs (Schiit Gungnir and Yggdrasil), versus some $5K and several $10K, and a couple of $20K DACs. No comparison. Will likely remain that way for at least a couple decades.

To be clear, no one is arguing that the more you spend, the better the Dac, (or any other equipment) is.


Really? There are zillions of reviews and when they compare the item to something less expensive it sounds better but not as good as something higher priced. It's the nature of the business in audio and every other industry.