DAC for AirportExpress around $1k?

I would appreciate recommendations for a DAC in the $1,000 range to use with an Itunes (Apple Lossless)/AirportExpress setup. Using the AirportExpress' analogue out and (alternatively) a cheap DAC, in my experience this equipment suffers the most vs. good CD players in the bass so I'd hope for help from a more expensive DAC in that regard. The winning DAC would also have to accept toslink. Some candidates that come to mind are the new Musical Fidelity "x" DAC and the Benchmark DAC 1 that John Atkinson likes so much. Any experience with these or other recommendations? Has anyone gotten their Airport Express setup to rival a top shelf CD player and if so, what did you use?


You might try the Apogee MiniDAC. It is about $1,000 and can take the optical feed from the Airport Express. I used it extensively and it sounds absolutely beautiful, although it would drop the USB connection occasionally.

In my experience, if done correctly, PC audio can sound every bit as good as (sometimes better than) a high end transport. Remember that these days most CDs are mastered on computers.
I don't think the Airport Express has a digital out?
The airport express has an optical digital out. You can plug either an analog cable or a digital optical cable in the same port.
Get a good glass fiber Toslink cable and a Benchmark DAC-1, Birdland or dAck!.
A Bel Canto DAC2 can be had for under 1k. I am currently using a Bel Canto 1.1. Both accept RCA and toslink (optical).
The Bel Canto is very smooth and transparent to the point of almost vanishing. I was using a Krell component before which although had great bass, sounded very brittle (to my ears anyway).
See the blue moon review of the bel canto... superb
Ditto on the Bel Canto 2
I am using the digital input on my cary cd306-200. Maybe a 303-200 used would work. Balanced outs etc.

Good luck, its real cool