DAC finalist please help


Hi all,
hope everyone is doing well this holiday season.
I’m back on the DAC hunt and I have narrowed down to these different but compelling DAC’s.
Unlike a lot of you guys on Audiogon I’m not a millionaire : (  My budget is only 1,500 bucks but I think there are some good choices in that range.
If any of you folks have experience with any of these pieces I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.

I’m replacing a McCormack DAC-1 that I have owned since new.
I still listen and continue to buy Redbook CD’s so something that would be kind to those is important.
I’m trying to make the determination on overall what would work and sound the best.
NOS with tubes is intriguing as is R2R as is just a good chip set.
I’m looking at a Aragon D2A used $600 for redbook playback and maybe teaming it up with a Xiangsheng 05B to handle modern formats DSD etc, less than 500 bucks the two together would be just north of a grand.
On the NOS front the Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS w/tubes, new $1,500.

The Denafrips Ares II R2R used about 800 bucks, or the Musician - Pegasus, new around $1,100.
And then there is the Line Magnetic 502CA tube, used 700-800 dollars.
I love the look of the LM and it's got a great tube stage, I definitely have a bit of a crush on this one.

I realize I’m a little bit all over the Map here, but again if anyone has thoughts or has /had one of these DAC’s I’m all ears...Many thanks and Happy Holidays!HG
grossman616
I too have an MHDT Orchid with the upgraded tube - costs $1,200. Lovely sounding DAC, very high quality build and look, great customer service from both MHDT and the dealer. They are a steal for their quality. I recommend also considering their Pagoda balanced.
https://www.lineartubeaudio.com/products/mhdt-labs-dacs?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8IqXsr7Z7QIVxZyGCh3y7A7fEA...

https://6moons.com/audioreview_articles/mhdtlab/2/
I recently bought a Schiit Bifrost...a future proof upgradeable great sounding multi-bit Mike Moffat DAC for 700 bucks.
I third the Schiit Yggdrasil GS. Unbelievable deal! Smokes anything near it I have heard 


Border patrol dacs are very nice and well received and have a Tubed power supply. That’s what I’ll get when money allows. For now my musical fidelity v90 dac does the job @ $299.....😁, a border line class A recommended component in Stereophile. It is an amazing little box for the money. I still got a new in the box Jolida glass dac 10 I’ve yet to try. That one too is a well received and reviewed dac. Especially if you replace the stock tubes with the Tung sol 12ax7 gold pins...and maybe a AQ nrg z3 power cable, thata my plan for that one.
616Man,

Many the new R2R DACS are getting great reviews. Sadly
the Chi-Fi gear is a one way sale as will any used gear.
So the chance to compare is not an option.
I just sold my Oppo 205 and bought an Innuos Zen 3 streamer.
No DAC inside. I also just bought the Denafrips Ares 2 direct from
Vinshine. $750 all in. Reason I chose it? They resell at full boat in 1-2 days. That is as good as a trial period. Which one of the top 10 above
is best for you? Does it matter anyway? You will likely trade up and out of what you buy now in 1-2 years. Anyway that's how I see it. 
Denafrips offers a 3 year transferrable warranty and just arranged for a US service center.  Border Patrol has a tube sells for $1250 and has a 1 year warranty.

Our club held a shoot out Aug 2019 with 9 DACs. See AZAVCLUB.com  for full review. 25 people blind listened and rated 1,2,3 as that was the input max. We repeated this 3 times. If you added the 1st and second place votes, Yaggy won. Strictly on first place the Jolida won. Chord was up there too. We added the new LM model at the end and it was preferred by those still in attendance. Biggest loser was PS Audio Direct stream which no one voted for! 

We had a lot of top brands mostly $1,500-$2500. RME, HoloSpring,
Chord, IFI, Schiit, Line Magnetic, Jolida ice, PS Audio and others.

What do I think of the Ares 2? A full upgrade in terms of fullness and
clarity. Still getting hours on it. My wife sat down the 1st day and immediately said "Wow, this is better"! 



Good luck!