Look at the perpetual technology Dac and pre-dac setup - unbelievable sound from this setup.
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I just received my EVS Millenium II DAC, and I highly recommend putting it on your list. The info is at www.tweakaudio.com Ric offers a 30-day trial, and the cost is $1050, with an unheard of 50% going to parts. It should compare favorably with DACs with resales of $2000-$3000.
Unfortunately, I've never heard any other DACs. I have owned various CDPs...a Luxman D300-something, a Denon 2650, a Revox B226s, a Rega Planet, A Studer A727, and a Pioneer DV05 DVD player. The DAC II is much better than all of them. I don't know if you'll like it best, but you should definitely consider it in that price range.
Ric had a lot of delays, but he's finally shipping. THe waiting list shouldn't be too long at this point.
I'd recommend auditioning the Shigaraki DAC from 47 labs. www.sakurasystems.com
I just had one in my system for a few months... retail is $1250 but might be avaialable for a little less somewhere... ?
Worth a listen for sure.
Used Muse 2 dac is wellworth auditioning as well. usually around $600 used.
I use the Bel Canto 1.0 which I am going to have upgraded to 1.1 status. The BC is very smooth which may work well with your setup. If you look into the Muse DAC 2 it would be better to locate one with the Bessel filter and perhaps the HDCD upgrades (even if you do not use HDCD material there is another filter involved in the HDCD upgrade that is said to also improve standard CD feedback). I almost went with the Muse and contacted the last reviewer of the DAC at AudioReview.com, quite some time ago, who was very helpful (these were his recommendations and he owns it). If you are looking for greater detail and the future option of running directly into a power amp, then the Birdland DAC is another runner up. If I were starting over again I would be sorely tempted to take the EVS DAC on trial as the designer/builder has a very good rep. I assume that DAC's like any thing else are system as well as taste (obviously) dependent and if you are planning on purchasing new, then see if a trial demo with a return priviledge is available (they all sound different).
i would look at the birdland oden lite (lists for 970$) dealer in town sold to me 800$ no tax. it is better than p1/p3 with monolith sound (it did not have dan w upgrade). i a/b'd them for several hours. dealer opted for birdland over bel canto as it is more nuetural and detailed. it is better than my cal 15 more musical with good detail. have not heard the other recommendations; i am sure they are good too. good luck
The Millennium DAC II from Electronic Visionary Systems(www.tweakaudio.com) will be hard to beat and you can try it risk free for 30 days. I have the DAC 1(the original model) and have been thrilled with it and can't wait to upgrade to the DAC II. Prior to the DAC 1 I had a Dusty Vauder modified MSB Link DAC which was a big improvement over my original CD player but was definately veiled and soft when compared to the DAC 1. The most amazing thing about the DAC 1 is the utter clarity of the soundstage--so much so that the vocals and instruments seem to pop out in a 3D way from a silent, black backdrop. The detail and dynamics are outstanding and will allow you to get the most out of your other excellent components. All I can say is that since I've had this DAC in my system I can't imagine living without it, and the DAC II is supposed to be a significant improvement over the DAC 1. Ric Schultz has upgraded the chip set to the best Burr Browns available, eliminated all op amps from the signal path to further purify the sound, and has included upsampling. And it's also upgradeable to the new formats, but 2-channel only. I've got to go, I'm starting to salivate. Try it and I bet you buy it. Best of luck.