Better sounding DAC than Cullen mod PS Audio DLIII


I am on the market for a digital converter and my reference sound is Cullen Mod (stage III/IV) PS Audio Digital Link III. Can you recommend a few DACs better sounding than this DAC based on your experiences, hopefully actual comparisons? The budget should be $1K~2.5K.

Someone advised VALAB DAC already but I am not familiar with this DAC.

Many thanks in advance...
I'd consider looking at PS Audio's new Perfect Wave DAC. The list price is a tad higher than your budget, at $2995 USD. However, they are offering a very generous trade-up allowance that is worth up to $1K off.

If you like the modded DL-III, then I think that this would be a logical upgrade option.
I had a chance to compare stock DLIII and Cullen mod version, and the difference is very noticeable at least to my ears. Cullen mod version has sweeter but clearer highs with very solid bass. I really liked the sound from Cullen mod DAC and hope to find a DAC which has better sound than Cullen mod DLIII. Have you had a chance to try the new PS Audio DAC?

I have not heard the new PS DAC. It is my understanding that the 1st run of them is just about to ship. Though I plan to order one, I have not yet done so.

There is a lot of info on PS's website. Essentially, from the ground up this DAC uses a completely different technology in processing the data, and uses top of the line parts. Whereas the DL-III was made at a price-point of $1K retail.

Again, I cannot say that it is a better DAC. However, considering all of the "buzz," if you like the DL-III, one would expect that you should love the new Perfect Wave DAC.

I am sure that as the 1st batch makes it into the field, new owners will chime in.
Anybody have compared Cullen mod DLIII to Benchmark DAC1 or Bel Canto DAC3? Or Electrocompaniet ECD-1?

I did breifly compare the stock DL-III to the Benchmark and Electrocompaniet DAC's.

In my comparrisons of these, I found the Benchmark to be be analytical and non-involving. The Electrocompaniet was the most "musical" with a slight "warmth."

I'd suspect from what I have read that the Cullen modded DL-3, is probably closer the sound of the Electro DAC.

Your mileage may vary. However, I'd suspect that these DACs, in comparrison to your modded DL-3 may be a sideways move, or possibly even a step backwards in musicality.

From what I have read, you have a pretty good value in the Cullen DL-III.

I have also been told that though it is not quite there, the modded DL-III brings you very close in performance and musicality to the Bel Canto DAC3
Cullen is coming out with their own DAC under the Wyred brand.
Have you tried a Wavelength Audio Brick v2?
Apparently, Rick Cullen thinks his new DAC1 is a better machine than the DLIII: the two boards seem to have a lot in common ( (see pictures here) but the new ESS 9018 chip, and everything Rick learnt from the DLIII should add up to something pretty special.
I bought PS Audio DL3 Cullen Mod Stage 3 some year ago. I found the sound on the overbright, harsh side, fatiguing, suppressed mid-base, no warmth. Under the advice of Rick Cullen I sent it back for check, and since then I had nether money nor DAC back. I would avoid this gentlemen and his devices.