Which DACs are known to be sweet/rich/relaxed?

System is nicely transparant and detailed, but tends to get bright and harsh with certain (rock) recordings and at higher volume levels.

Nudge the system towards a sweeter, richer, more relaxed presentation.

Proposed solution / first step
Upgrade to a (tube based) DAC, budget $25-40k.

Current chain

  • ROON Nucleus
  • Mola Mola Tambaqui
  • Gryphon Essence pre amp
  • Gryphon Essence monoblocks
  • Focal Stella Utopia EVO
  • Full loom of Triode Wire Labs cables
  • Dedicated power line straight into Puritan PSM156 mains filter
  • System resides in the living room with some diffusors but no absorption other than sofas, chairs, and some rugs.

On my radar
Lampizator Pacific (or Golden Gate 2 since I heard it's more "tube-like")
Aries Cerat Kassandra 2 Ref or Sig

— What other DACs should I consider?
— Do you think upgrading to another (tube based) DAC will achieve that sweeter, richer, more relaxed presentation?


Many rock recordings have a hot top end. Ever been to a rock concert? An accurate DAC should be transparent to the source. If it adds its own sonic signature it is POOR quality - and not worth using. 

Thanks @lordmelton, I should do in-home demos to see what a difference that makes.

I remain a bit sceptical because Stereophile said about the Nucleus "JA found that the sonic differences between the Nucleus+ and the considerably more expensive Innuos Statement server were small."

Also, Jay's Audio Lab found zero improvement with his MSB Select II between streaming from his laptop and using a Taiko Extreme: https://youtu.be/k0SDLQJDrG4?t=199 

I suspect it's highly system dependent and should be tried in one's own system. Which is what I'll do. Thanks again.

@jasonbourne52 Isn't that a highly personal thing? Not everyone aims to get as close to the "truth" as possible. They might prefer a slightly more relaxed presentation because that allows for longer and more easy going listening sessions. By definition, all recording equipment, audio components, and rooms add distortion and colouration. Nothing wrong with wishing to mellow things out a bit if you're in a large untreated room.

Hi Robert, reviewers get paid to say nice things. It takes a long time to build a great system, do your own comparisons and listen to DSD files if you can.

You already have great components they are going to need tweaking to get them sounding their best in your environment and for your taste.