Another "Which DAC?" thread.

I've got a serious itch to finally a pretty good dac.  I'm looking in the sub $1500 range either new or used.  On my short list is the Schiit Gumby, PS Audio NuWave DSD and the Wyred DAC 1 LE.

I'm 64 and as most of us at this age have a bit of hearing loss.  It's not what it used to be.

My system is very moderate by most standards.  I have:

Quad 2805 speakers fully upgraded by Kent at Electrostatic Solutions
Primaluna Dialogue HP integrated
Modest Nordost cables throughout
Cambridge Audio CXC transport

The DAC I have is a DacMagic 100

I mostly listen to ripped files, (AIFF) through a MacBook Air with Amarra and Tidal.

As of this moment I have over 2000 ripped cds and not one high rez file.  That may change, maybe not.

So here's the question; will I hear much of a difference? 

And of the three DACs on my shortlist, do you have preference for any one?

Thank you all for your help.  I've been reading about dacs for about a month and am more dizzy and confused now than when I started.

Thanks in advance,


I use a Rega DAC-R, with MacBook PRO, Amarra and am very happy with it.
Hi @jzzmusician, I am in the same boat and age. However, the DAC I'm using now, Geek Out 1000, will handle PCM up to 384 and DSD256 so the few files I have in those formats play fine in my system. 

As itchy as I am, I am waiting a bit longer to see if Tidal offers any music that is MQA as they have promised. Even if its only a few titles by this autumn, I will then acquire an MQA capable DAC.

If no Tidal content is available by autumn that is MQA, then I will probably acquire a DAC capable of DSD 256. In addition, it will need a decent headphone outphone and must be remote controlled - the DAC will also have an input from my TVs Toslink out. I am thinking Mytek Brooklyn. 

I wish the Schiit was remote controlled and DSD capable.  I haven't ruled out a PS Audio Directstream or Directstream Jr. 

I really like the quality of sound of DSD on the few albums I own so I imagine I will be acquiring a select few from my future purchases. 

If I had any one of the three DACs you listed in my system right now, I would probably stand pat - except for the remote control aspect of the Schiit.

The Gungnir Multibit sounds incredibly natural with redbook, the Schiit filtering and R2R architecture really does a great job. People who hear it in a good system think it must be much pricier than it is. You can return it for a small restocking fee if you don't love it. 
If you try it, play it on repeat for a ~100 hours before you critically listen as improvement during burn-in is significant. Cheers,
I use the lower end model, Bifrost Multibit, and am very happy with the sound. I got it because my McCormack DAC doesn't support USB.
I have to say I prefer the Schiit and will be sending in the McC for some updating soon.
Whether you will hear much of a difference depends on your tastes and how good your ear is.  Try a $1500 dac with a return privilege and try it in your system.  You'll either hear it or you won't.  Just don't judge it until it's on for a couple of days at least.  When I moved up to my first good cd player, I was immediately taken with how real it sounded compared to what I was using.  It was night and day.  Luckily, a you can buy a lot of stuff now that you can return, so your risk is minimal.  Good luck.  
Look at TEAC offerings too. And don’t dismiss av receivers with auto calibration, Onkyo sounds fantastic.
Thank you all for your input.

gdnrbob; You said, "  Try a $1500 dac with a return privilege and try it in your system.  You'll either hear it or you won't."

You hit the proverbial nail precisely on the head.  I am hoping I *will* hear a difference and difference enough to justify the expense.  My gut tells me that my $300 DacMagic is okay and that moving up will show an improvement.  Whether I could tell a difference between a 1000-1500 dac and a 5k one is much less certain.

I leaning toward the Schitt gumpy or the NuWave DSD.  The NuWave is a bit more attractive as they will give me $400 for my $300 dac.  Pretty tempting.

coli; I've looked and read quite a bit about the TEAC and I agree it's a fine offering.  The Schiit or the NuWave just look like a better fit for me.  As far as receivers go, there is no way I'd give up my Primaluna Dialogue HP.  It's just that wonderful.

Any other old guy out here that have upgraded from cheap to entry level?  I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks again,


+1 with sbank and gdnrbob.

If your going with Redbook, PCM download, or CD replay then stay with the Multibit dacs, as they do a "bit perfect" conversion of it. Dsd dacs only give a facsimile (approximation) of it and don’t sound as good doing it.

Cheers George