Responses from nkbg

Best Minimalist DAC?
At that price used QB-9 DSD is way to go. 
How are Crimson cables
I own them and they got me off the merry go round. Balanced and engaging sound. 
As good as Ayre QB-9 DSD but with SPDIF input?
Just for kicks I've sorted these suggestions by prices listed on various review sites.Sim Audio D300 V2 $1,000Hegel HD12 $1,400Hegel HD25 $2,500Ayre QB-9 DSD $3,250Auralic Vega $3,500Exasound E22 $3,500Berkeley Alpha Series 2 $5,000Lampizator Leve... 
As good as Ayre QB-9 DSD but with SPDIF input?
Update on my ongoing comparison between the Ayre and Berkeley.On a Mac you can create a Multi-Output Device in Audio MIDI utilities which outputs the same stream to two or more audio devices and compensates for drifting clocks as well. This allows... 
As good as Ayre QB-9 DSD but with SPDIF input?
Thanks Winson. Lampizator seems to be getting quite a bit of attention. I'm concerned about long term reliability and ability to audition one.I've been A/B'ng the Ayre and BADA Series 1 (AP2+PP) using Multi-Output Device support on the Mac. The Ay... 
As good as Ayre QB-9 DSD but with SPDIF input?
Thank you for the info you guys! Will research these, especially the Hegel.I've heard the Vega has more tonal saturation compared the Ayre but is in the same sonic ballpark, so that could be a safe (lateral) move. I also feel when changing gear I ... 
Ayre QB9 DSD buzz
No issues here. Maybe try a friend's home to double check that's it's not a power line or DC on power line issue? 
As good as Ayre QB-9 DSD but with SPDIF input?
I'm looking to run the Apple TV through it. Agree that DAC holds its own. I prefer it to the Berkeley Alpha Series 1 fed with Audiophilleo plus Pure Power. Rest of the system is Simaudio i7 and Avalon Ideas. 
April Music Stello Ai500 or Esoteric AI-10 Integ.
We have the April in our office and it quite amazing both from a DAC and amp point of view. It sounds natural and has great bass. Everything gets better with a good transport ex. audiophile etc. 
Best cheap speaker cables............again
Grover Huffman or Crimson Audio (used should be under your budget). The Crimsons are absolutely amazing. 
Avalon Ascendent best matching speaker cable?
What did you end up deciding? 
Avalon Idea vs Ascendant II
I wanted to demo the Idea but since the dealership did not have it in store we listened to the Ascendant and Indra to get a feel for the house sound. I've been told that the Idea has a tonal balance with a more robust bass foundation. I was recomm... 
audiophilleo 2
@devilboy, I tried a Vaunix USB hub with an AP2 which brought improvements to mostly bass and mids clarity. Adding the PP added more of the same but expanded the soundstage width, depth and made everything sound bigger. At that time I was using an... 
I second Steve's suggestion. Even though the DAC supports async USB, it's worth trying out a top-notch USB/SPDIF convertor (on trial?) to see if it betters quality. If not, then the investment is worth going towards a DAC upgrade. In my experience... 
Best alternative w/digtal inputs to Ayre QB-9 DAC?
I"ve run into the same problem after adding an Apple TV (which only outputs toslink) to my 2-channel setup. Would be curious to know what others recommend.