Best DAC under 2k US ?

I'm thinking of a DAC for my nearfield focal monitors (CMS series). I'm looking for a nuetral to warmish sounding DAC without overly harsh or bright tonality and also musical.

I don't know much about DAC's and I can't audition where I am right now.

Calyx DAC, Bel Canto, Peachtree, Ayer, W4S, Weiss Minerva. Anything else?

Which would suit me best.


Showing 1 response by tubegroover

Well you are being given recommendations under 1K and I would agree that those are solid recommendations. I personally prefer the W4S over both the Havana and Minimax Plus which I also own with the cavaet "in my system and for my tastes". The Havana offers what you are looking for in that it is warm without any harshness whatsoever, no sins of commission for sure but ultimately sins of ommission in my experience. The Plus has the detail but in my system it sounds somewhat lean across the board, less preferable to me than either the Wyred or Havana, YMMV. The W4S offers warmth, detail with substantially more weight in the tone of instruments than either of the other two with no harshness, it also is a bit pricier. Not to belabor the point but we all have different systems and different priorities.

You might want to try a Havana used and hear first hand what all the fuss is about, NOS tube based. It is every thing you request at a great price point. If you find that you want more, particularly detail and frequency extension, you might want to try the W4S or some of the other pricier ones that probably offer that. Not knowing your system and not having auditioned all of them my comments above are based on extensive listening to each in two separate but very different systems with the conclusions being the same for both myself and the owner of the other system. I also own an Oppo 95 which IMO for all that it offers is the best value in low cost digital that I have come across. I am currently using it as a transport but can see sometime in the future having the modwright tube mod performed. There are many great choices out there for budget buyers but one thing to keep in mind is that some of the fringe/esoteric manufacturers' products might be better purchasing used than new. Otherwise you might take a bigger hit if you decide to move on to something else.