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?


The Tambaqui is a very neutral DAC and you are actually hearing the recording artifacts. Higher model Lampizator is not going to sugar coat a bad recordings, which most of the rock albums are. Those DACs will be more detailed and are supposed to bring more than life like images. You might be able to change the flavor by changing tubes.

I would suggest two things:

1. Try a Weiss 502 or 501. They have filters, like a vinyl emulation, which can tune the sound and the DAC is slightly on the warmer side which will favor rock music.

2. Change the Nucleus into something better. The Nucleus is not upto the snuff with the rest of your gear. If you are into Roon, try a Innous or a Lumin u1.


@robert1976 I am in a similar boat. My system is also very enjoyable but, tends to get bright and harsh with certain (rock) recordings. I don't listen at higher volumes so that is not an issue. I too am not unhappy, just curious if I can chop off that bright top end with certain recordings.

I was thinking about taking a slightly different approach. Purchase a less expensive Dac that would only be used for poor recordings. Something that tones down a hot top end. Dacs I am considering are a used PS Audio direct stream or Lampizator Baltic 3. I will also look at used Audio Note Dacs.

So what I am looking at is an Aurender 200 feeding a Berkeley Alpha USB then AES to a Berkeley Reference 3 and SPIDF to the new Dac. Both DACs will be connected to my preamp.

I did compare the Berkeley to the MSB Premier and preferred the Berkeley. One caveat is the new Dac must have balanced output.

Are there any other DACs I should be considering that will only be used for about 10% of the music I will be listening to?

I really think this is all barking up the wrong tree. Instead of spending 25-40K that may or may not work, spend $500-1000 to start for an acoustic engineer/technician to come to your house and measure your room / system. Without a baseline to know if your system is a bit bright of not, you are just throwing darts. An experienced set of ears may pick up on the flaw you hear, but cannot clearly identify the cause for. Just basic windows software on a PC can do equalization with absolutely no distortion. I am listening with headphones <0.01% distortion at high volume. That is lower than your DAC. All the equalization does is change the tonal balance. No distortion.

Ordering Aesthetix Pandora for my self soon to go with my Aurender N10 demo it in my system it was glorious