I do think OP would be well served by using balanced connections from a DAC to the A7e. I've been using a Codex to my A7e with KEF LS50s. The sound is excellent. Sources are an Ayre C-5xeMP disc player and ultraRendu Roon endpoint.
A week ago there was a QB-9 DSD listed on the Canadian Mart for about $1200 USD. If you decided on the Twenty upgrade, you'd be in at $2700 ($1200 + $1500). I decided to buy a $99 Schiit Modi 3 to use while my Codex is being serviced -- it is a secondary setup after all, a QX-5 Twenty is my primary DAC and Roon endpoint.