Chord DAVE alternatives?

Hello fellow 'goners.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to the Raidho C1.1 and D1 paired with bryston 28 (the latest ones) mono blocks, a zanden pre, and chord dave. While the synergy was amazing I was mostly there to listen for a possible speaker upgrade, however (as these things usually go) the chord dave caught my eye. Right now, most of my music is digital and I am using a fostex hpa8 as a dac. I usually do toslink out from my Astell player or macbook pro as I found it to be less finicky than usb (different laptops were sounding different).

1. the chord dave is very far outside my budget. if i were to "upgrade" dacs are there more reasonably priced alternatives? i want to capture that tone and timber and spacing but understand that i can't have all that the dave offers. will the qute/qute ex/qute hd be a nice step up from my current dac?

2. the dealer said toslink was no good - any suggestions on what i should use instead?
I compared Mojo with DAVE.  To my ears (and a few others) Mojo gives you at least 80 - 90% of DAVE's performance.  

If your dealer carries DAVE, he should also carry Mojo, Hugo, Hugo TT, and qute2.  You should listen to all and decide for yourself.

Your dealer is not correct about Toslink.  Rob Watts, Chord DAC designer, recommends USB, followed by Toslink connection.  Many people have tried both and agree that USB is better than Toslink, but not by a far margin.

Standard SS rectified Lampizator Atlantic with Superclocks on the USB will be about $6K. You can have it with Tube rectifier for a bit more than the standard price.

R2R ladder Dac with PCM384khz and DSD256.

It’s a killer!

 I have a demo unit now and its super impressive.

I own a Qute EX and it's far below the DAVE and the Atlantic.

Although there is a significant performance jump to DAVE, I think the Hugo TT is excellent, and the best "value" in the Chord lineup above the Mojo (which is extremely good for a $600 DAC). 

Would you know if the Hugo TT internally converts the incoming DSD to PCM before converting to analog?