Best DACs under $7,000.00

I'm tentatively beginning the search for a DAC upgrade.  Currently, I have Innuos Zen MK3 as a streamer connected via USB to a Denafrips Iris DDC that is connected via I2S to a Denafrips Pontus II DAC.  The Pontus II is excellent but I feel it's the one point where I could gain incremental improvement toward that illusive natural, layered, analog end-of-the-rainbow.  I simply can't / won't spend above $5,000.00 - $7,000.00 on the DAC. The rest of my system:  top-of-line Prima Luna Evo 400 Integrated Amp and a set of Harbeth speakers.  Right now, I'm looking at Denafrips Terminator II or Holo Audio May DAC.  I've never seen an a/b comparison of these two, but both stand out and have a following.  Of course, the unsettling thing is DACs have evolved so much and are still in a blooming state technologically, making it a given that whatever we have today will probably be surpassed by better for less later, like electric vehicles. But that's the nature of the beast.  Does anyone have alternative suggestions in this current climate?


I’ve written about it before, but I’ve compared the T+A DAC 200 against a modded DirectStream DAC, a Lampizator Baltic 3 with $1K in NOS tubes, the Mola Mola Tambaqui, and the $38.5K T+A SDV 3100 HV. While the T+A reference was the clear winner, the DAC 200 was also a clear winner across the remainder of the competition. It has nearly as much body and harmonics of the Lampizator with all of the speed and detail of the Mola Mola while being more fluid and coherent, where the Mola Mola can come off to be more clinical/analytical. Decay and bass definition is much improved in the DAC 200 where in the Mola Mola it can sound dry and processed. 

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I bought Denafrips Terminator Plus to upgrade to my internal DAC of Hegel 590. TP is an amazing in terms of sound stage, detail, clarity and presentation. It is simply amazing. I was able to compare to dCS Bartok, and I definitely find TP superior by miles. TP is at the level of dCS Rossini. Denafrips is the best DAC for the money. Buy a model in your budget. Please always remember a DAC is always as good as how much your speakers can reveal of those details.