Absolute top tier DAC for standard res Redbook CD

Hi All.

Putting together a reference level system.
My Source is predominantly standard 16/44 played from a MacMini using iTunes and Amarra. Some of my music is purchased from iTunes and the rest is ripped from standard CD's.
For my tastes in music, my high def catalogues are still limited; so Redbook 16/44 will be my primary source for quite some time.

I'm not spending DCS or MSB money. But $15-20k retail is not out of the question.

Upsampling vs non-upsampling?
USB input vs SPDIF?

All opinions welcome.

And I know I need to hear them, but getting these ultra $$$ DAC's into your house for an audition ain't easy.

Looking for musical, emotional, engaging, accurate , with great dimension. Not looking for analytical and sterile.
Romulus wins a Golden Ear from the Absolute Sound!

"This all-tubed CD player and DAC is one of the greatest bargains in high-end audio today. What makes the Romulus special is that it sounds so "un-digital," particularly at this price. Rather than sounding flat and congealed, the Romulus opens up the spatial presentation and gives instruments and voices room to breathe. The player has an expansive quality along with a sense of top-octave air and openness. The tonal balance is rich and warm in the bass, which, coupled with the treble smoothness, results in an immediately engaging and fatigue-free presentation. The Romulus doesn't sound "tubey" in the classic sense, but neither does it sound like solid-state. The design and build-quality are beyond what's expected at this price. If you have no analog sources, the Romulus can serve as a preamplifier and DAC with multiple digital inputs, provided you purchase the variable-output option ($1000). Thanks to an innovative hybrid analog/digital volume-control, there's no loss of resolution no matter what the volume setting." -Robert Harley
I disagree, check the Audio Exotics site. Their most worshipped DAC currently is the Trinity DAC. That tiny single box has replaced the 3-4 box DCS Vivaldi in several systems in Asia. I think it is quality and implementation that matters, not the number of boxes. For some of them, the cost of the power cords for their Vivaldi stack was almost the price of the Trinity DAC.
I were willing to spend $16K for a DAC I would certainly put the Berkeley on my short list.

Fair enough Al, though a $16k converter should at least give the option of DSD64 via S/PDIF. But that is just my opinion, as well as the fact that there is no other reasonable explanation, except for being on a strict budget.

Elaboration will be the fact that there is an additional signal path for DSD (basically bypassing their DSP) necessary for providing the DoP/DSD capability, as well as additional clocking.

And personally even the true statement of yours:

"quality of implementation is likely to trump the theoretical advantages and disadvantages of any particular design approach."

It does not really justify using bunch of OpAmps from DAC chips to output. Sorry, it is again just my opinion.

Alex Peychev