dac advice

HI my system is Rogue Tempest, appletv for my music it is in lossless,AIFF if I remember,and a pair of Mark&Daniel's Mini's, looking for a dac used or new $500 to $800 approx,considering psaudio dac iii, also easten electric dac,peachtree dac-it,has anyone heard these and what else would you suggest,I am looking for musicallity,smooth analog sound is most important to me, thanks for any imput, Nick
I should ad that I listen to a lot of Rock , flamenco,acoustic guitar , love good vocals,really anything but classical,and I did have a msb link 3 a long time ago that malfunctioned and got rid of it, also had a AudioMirror Dac 2,not good enough, want smoother more analoge sound,want the music to sound real and engaging . Yes the minimax sounds good from what I hear, so does ps link3,the monarchy m24 sounds like it will do the trick but only at the used price,perhaps at $1600 it is worth it and I should save up that is double what I wanted to spend so cannot say as of now, Nick
Hi Happynick,

I'm in the same boat as you're in. I also have an Audio Mirror DAC. I like it but I'm going to buy a Squeezebox Touch that plays 24/96 files and the Audio Mirror won't do that. Here is an interesting one that I ran across on this forum.

There's an UltraFi iRoc DAC available on Audiogon right now that is below the price range you mention and is truly superb:



I live about 20 minutes outside of NYC and had issues tracking down DACs I wanted to hear. I went to a bunch of places in NY, NJ and CT. And I couldn't hear everything I wanted to, and even then, was it the system or the room that was good or bad? Definitely not easy by any means. I was fortunate enough to try several at home though.

Because you don't have much access, a way around it may be to hear CD players by the manufacturers you're interested in. It won't tell you exactly how the DAC will sound, but it'll give you a good idea of what the company's goals are in digital gear and house sound. I've never heard a DAC that was a departure from the sound of a manufacturer's house sound.

Arcam's rDAC sounds like Arcam made it; Simaudio's DACs are cut from the same cloth as their CDPS, and so on.

Rega's DAC was the one to beat for me because I loved my Apollo and wanted that same vibe. Trust me, every DAC I heard got a fair shot, but I ended up ordering the Rega DAC before it was officially released. My dealer promised me a full refund if I didn't want to keep it. I heard it head to head with a burned in and warm rDAC and Naim DAC in the store (the Rega was fresh out of the box). I also borrowed a few other DACs in the following weeks to try at home, and happily kept the Rega. I'm done for a very long time.

My system - Bryston B60, Audio Physic Yara Evolution Bookshelves, and Apple TV 1. I also have a Pro-Ject 1Xpression with Speed Box II, acrylic platter, and Dynavector 10x5.

I listen to a lot of rock - classic rock, alternative, and metal. I also mix it up with Jazz and Blues, and even throw in classical once in a blue moon. They all sound equally great.

Again, there are a lot of great DACs listed here. If you've heard some of their CDPs, that should give you a good idea of what to expect. Typically, I've found DACs to outperform their CDP counterparts dollar for dollar - ie Rega's DAC at $1k is a great deal better than their $1k Apollo. Same for Arcam, Simaudio, and do on. In fact, Rega's DAC is on equal footing with the Saturn for about $2400 or so by a lot of people's opinion, not just mine. I'm not saying every DAC will be on equal footing with a comparable CDP that's 2.5 times it's price, but I think you get the idea.

Just my opinions. I'm sure many will disagree. Whatever DAC you choose, make sure it has good jitter reduction.
I also strongly agree with what's been said about older DACs, power supplies, and output stages. A DAC is far more than a flavor of the month chip. My 15 year old Theta Cobalt DAC is proof of that, as it beat out a ton of new sub-$500 DACs.
I am thinking of getting the Shiit,Bifrost dac, at $350 new from a former Theata designer and a 15 money back I will give it a try!! First have to pay bills!!! lol!!