This is really a difficult question. In your price range, you have many, many good options. Personally, I was not very impressed with the Musical Fidelity DAC, even though I LOVE my Tri-Vista SACD. If you shop around, you could probably get a Chord DAC 64 for close to your price. The Chord DAC is amazing even at retail. However, I think you should also consider a Modwright "Universal Truth" Pioneer DV-47 with the tube output stage. It is an amazing machine, and it will play all formats with aplomb. If you buy a new unit online and pay for the mods, you could still come in less than $1.5K. I won't even go into all of the reasons why some might prefer an outboard DAC versus a one box machine, but if you go for one box, you will at least save some money on cables.
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