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?


Uhm what? 25 to 40k budget for a dac?

All you need is a 1200-2000 dollar border patrol dac.

The OP has a top class system, I doubt he wants to go from a DAC with ~22 bit resolution to one with ~10 bit resolution.  

@chayro I live in Malaysia and unfortunately there's no MSB, dCS, Lampizator, Aries Cerat DACs to demo, let alone for in-home demos.

I'm not unhappy, just curious if I can chop off that bright top end with certain recordings. I used to have a Dan D'Agostino Momentum Integrated. I'd use the tone controls and simple cut treble 1 or 2 dB. I don't have that flexibility any longer.

It's just occasionally bright. With 90% of recordings, and at 80-85dB, the transparency and detail are actually a benefit.

Why not just use the equalizer function within Roon?

@deludedaudiophile I tried that and Roon’s equalizer distorts the sound to the point I can hear the difference. Piano sounds off, for example. Having a highly resolving system is a two edged sword.

@xboom the occasional brightness is the result of the entire chain. I've considered VAC amplification. But my DAC is currently the cheapest component, hence my thought to upgrade to a better DAC. And not only better, but also a DAC known for a sweet and smooth presentation.

@rsf507 good for you, the proof is in the pudding. In-home demo is the only way to really decide if a new component makes a difference. Saved yourself a good bag of money there.