I've been living with a Berkeley Alpha Reference DAC w/MQA and an SW1X Level 3 Special NOS tube DAC for the past 4-5 months. I have both hooked up to my Sachs preamp and can toggle between them on the fly. They're both fantastic DACs. After months of listening I've decided to keep the SW1X DAC and sell the Berkeley. However, one issue I have with the SW1X is that the gain is higher and when I listen early in the morning or late at night the volume is sometimes too high even with my preamp at level 1 on the volume. I can change my streamer volume (an Auralic Aries G1) but I prefer to leave the volume fixed. There are also a lot of interesting newer DACs on the market that I'd like to try. I figure I can sell the Berkeley for around $5500, and if I use half of that for a new "second" DAC that gives me about $2-3K for a second DAC. I love the NOS tube DAC sound, but for a second DAC I'd like to try something different, so not interested in the Audio Mirror Tubadour (although I was previously) or Doge, or Lampizator (tried it) or anything similar. I prefer to buy used but here are the DACs that have caught my attention. Any thoughts? If I get one of these and I prefer them to the SW1X I will likely sell the SW1X as I don't have to have two DACs. Its just the SW1X is that good, doesn't come up often, so I don't want to part with it. When I don't have to worry about volume it is my DAC of choice.
1. Denafrips Venus II DAC $3k New
2. Denafrips Terminator (original) DAC $3k Used
3. Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC $3k New
4. PS Audio Directstream DAC $2500-3k Used. I had this DAC and really liked it. Only sold it because I got the SW1X but never had a chance to A/B.
5. Audio GD R8 MKII DAC $2k New
Any others I should consider in this range?
Thanks in advance for the input, be well everyone