DAC Help

Bel Canto 1.1 or maybe Musical Fidelity? Then there is this Benchmark thing which is out of the price range for now but I could wait. Maybe there is something I haven't considered. I'm looking for a DAC for around $600 used +/- to go with a Theta Data Universal transport, Hamonic Tech Plantinum cable, and tube gear. I listen to Progressive Rock mostly.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks -
In today's auctions there is a pro basic2;my guess is it will go for 250/275---killer-for the price.
i JUST REPLACED A $5200 DAC with the ack! dACK! at $525 with a 21 day home trail, it is incredible. Give it a try and I think you'll be very happy. Mark Deal
Why not a theta? I've had theta, CAL, Audio Alchemy, MF and more. The MF was wayyyyyy to dark for me. CAL & AA were both clean and open. Theta's are great, just a tad on the warm side. You can get most for less than $600
just finished auditioning both of these, and the punchline is, the Benchmark went back for a refund and the ACK! is staying!
The Benchmark is a great DAC, no doubt - I can see where it garners rave reviews. It is highly detailed, very transparent, very exciting listening. But after awhile, its relentlessly detailed presentation gives you the proverbial digital headache. I started listening less & less. It would be great for studio use though.
The ACK! on the other hand reminds me more of my trusty VPI turntable and records - everything's there, and everything just sounds right, just like music should. No glare, sweet but not sugary, nicely balanced, dead quiet. And, you can listen for hours on end - you have to drag yourself out of the listening room because it's time to go to work. Bonus - it's half the price! Worth the wait.
In my modest system - Quicksilver monos, B&W CDM NTs, McCormack passive pre - it was no contest at all. Good luck & good listening!
p.s. If you love good female vocals, check out Christine Kane's latest CD at www.christinekane.com Fantastic!
I've improved my Ack! significantly by replacing the 3.3 mF AuraCaps with Dynamicaps, a pair of 5 mF and a .01 bypass per channel. It really opened up and the bass improved big time. I use it with an EAD T1000 with a Mapleshade/Insound Zepher dig link. Extremely open yet smooth, dead silent with wonderfull dynamics; the best I've heard.
for Rock, you need dynamics, not warm, soft sound. Try the Birdland Odeon-lite. Great right out of the box. One of the few DAC's that sounds good even without mods. The others like this are too expensive for your budget: Electrocompaniet ECD-1 and Meridian 566.
audioengr, the dAck! is very dynamic and CLEAN, not warm and soft. The guy I auditioned it with at first is an excitement addict when it comes to stereo and very into rock. He loved it. A good rock guitar tube amp, just as an example, has tons of subtle texture that benefits greatly from finesse in the playback. Also, alot of rock mixes are obnoxiously aggressive and bright and could do with a bit of warmth. The Each to his own though, eh?