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. 


I upgraded from a Node 2 to Node2i, and later added a Cullen power cable. I noticed a big difference going to the 2i, and a smaller but noticeable difference adding the Cullen cord. WIth that said the Node2i (as a DAC) was still the weakest link. I upgraded recently to the Schiit Bifrost 2, and that was the breakthrough for me...natural, detailed, more extended bass. I can't compare top the pieces above as I haven't heard them, so they may be good or better, but I love the new Bifrost. Good luck. 
I have the .7's and drive them with a Parasound A21. I just purchased a RMR dac and I am using as preamp also. Love it.
@soix said it all. I second that.  I’ll add that we did a comparison of three separate streamers on the same system and the difference was quite remarkable.  Obvious improvement, well, the more you spend.
+1 On the Audio Mirror Tubadour MKIII SE DAC
For streamers, give Innous a look
Buying a DAC when you can’t try it first

Schiit Audio gives 10 days on their products the have some great dacs.
And their dacs are designed by Mike Moffat the man who made Theta Digital one of the best.
If going the GUNGNIR model go the Multibit option.

Cheers George