This was my first DAC. I always thought it a bit "dry" for my tastes so have moved on and up. Did spring for the big DSD upgrade but it still had the same basic character. However it was very quiet, sound seemed to come from that "blackness" we talk about. It also seemed quite dynamic. Never used the I2S input, which might make a big difference. Not sure how it would hold up against other units in your price range.