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?



i seriously don’t understand why you are so bent on a tube dac. The Essence are not tube, the nucleus is loud noisy and simple. Why would you not get a great server and build the system on that. I had a nucleus server. I now have an SOTM switch and linear power supply by nordost with DC cable connected to a Wadax Atlantis server via V2 ethernet cable and it simply transformed my system from noise to music. Yes a wadax server is 24k and I also have a dedicated line, fantastic cables a  a VTL S-400 2 and other great components. It seems you want a great dac without a great source. It simply seems out of order. Think of a great server as food for a dac. And if you have 40k a wadax atlantis Dac used will absolutely crush anything else. Or just get a tube dac if you are sure on that.

@dancarlson10 I'm open-minded and not 'bent' on a tube DAC. Just an initial thought, followed by me asking for opinions in this post.
Thanks for pointing out the server/streamer is the first component in the chain. And how the Nucleus is a good candidate for an upgrade.


that audiophiles are more interested in throwing money and stuff on the wall and hoping it will stick than delving into the source of their problems so that they can intelligently fix them

Me posting here and asking for feedback is *exactly* that: delving into the source of my problems. I’m open-minded and not fixated on one particular solution or the other. Yes, my budget is substantial, but that does not mean I want to throw mud against the wall and see what sticks. I started this topic to learn.

I use REW to measure the room myself.

The best dac’s I owned/had: Metronome Technologie “Le Dac” / C6 signature/ C8+ ,Ear Yoshino DAc 4 , and Audio Note dac 4.1x ( all dac’s with tubes!