Buying a DAC when you can't try it first


this is a generic "advice please" post.
I'm driving magnepan .7's with a primaluna evo 400 with KT150 tubes.
Most of my music nowadays it tidal streamed via a chromecast audio (CCA) with the optical output going into the DAC of a MusicHall C-DAC (its a CD player with a DAC that can be used by external sources).

I'm planning an upgrade path and leaning toward getting a DAC like the SMSL SU-9 or Cambridge DACMagic Plus and running the CCA optical through the new DAC. But i have no idea if those DAC's or something else at that price is going to improve on the musichall DAC (which some reviews say is a decent DAC).

Or should I ditch the CCA and separate DAC go the streamer route....but I'm worried that tying a streamer and DAC together limits upgrade path. However i am not totally against it. 

I'm just not sure if i even will hear anything measurably better than what I have so thought I'd reach out to you people for your thoughts and experiences. 

....sigh.

mid-fi-crisis
op

i believe soix’s recommendation was to get a node 2i as a streamer, and then couple it with an mhdt or audio mirror dac... that combination would yield what we who support this recommendation believe will be a substantial improvement in sound quality from your current front end

it is well known that while the node 2i includes an onboard dac, that dac is poor in sound quality (dull, lifeless, smeared) so with only the node, using its dac, it is not surprising your perceived improvement is minimal

hopefully you will take the next step and add a good nos/tube output dac

good luck, thank you for clarifying
Thanks jjss49
Yes, the next step....
At the risk of thread jacking (with my first post nonetheless) I am in the process of setting up a new "mid-fi" room too.  Prima Luna Evo 400 and Dynaudio Evoke 50s.  
Planning on running Roon with a Nucleus to a Merridian 218 as the DAC.
Curious if anyone would support that front end or strongly steer me in another way.  Thought this might inform the OP as well.
There’s an audio science review testing site that offers good tech data on specs and how well chip is implemented. Some Topping, SMSL, RME DACs score well.

Benchmark is great choice too. I like it.
op

Also ditch the stock power cord on your Node as an aftermarket or build your own will make a difference and you don’t have to spend that much. The DAC in the Node is decent but adding a DAC down the road will be a big improvement.