Dac level to replace NAD C542

Replacing my NAD C542. Never owned a dac. I wish for a parallel or upgrade move as I do like the C542.
So my question is simple really. What is the minimal level of dac required to equal or surpass the performance of the C542? I will be hugely disappointed if I end up with a downgrade and of course would like an upgrade. My cost ceiling is about 1k, new or used. So far Im considering a new/refurbished Cambridge Azur 851 (either C, D, or preferably N) or a Emotiva Stealth DC 1. 
Looking for suggestions. Here is my current 2 channel system. I will use a Panasonic BDP for transport duty.

Nad C542 CDP

VTL 2.5 preamp

Sumo Andromida 3 Power amp

Paradigm Reference Studio 100 V3 Speakers

2 Paradigm Servo 15 V1 subs

Cheapish but well built AR interconnects

Since you love your NAD C542, which I love mine also, why not another NAD?  Maybe a C545BEE, C565BEE(with outboard DAC feature) or a C568BEE?  I also have a CA 840C which also has DAC feature.  The 851C is highly regarded.

Did your C542 take a dump?  Mine is going strong and sounds better than any player I have ever owned, which includes some very well received players.

My 542 has always had a small tracking/reading issues. Rarely refuses to play a disk but seems to be getting worse. Its kind of random.
Im interested in playing full resolution off my pc and phone as well so I figure my replacement should perhaps be a dac and preferably with streaming. I love the idea of the Bluetooth streamer available for the CA models. I already bluetooth stream phone to hi fi using a cheap analog Harmon Kardon bluetooth dongle. Id love to have lossless sound through bluetooth since my current setup is limited in bandwidth.
The one thing I dont want is to purchase something and say....oooops...the 542 sounded better. The 542 sounds great as you said so this is a mistake which could easily be made.
In this case I would look for a CDP that has access to it's internal DAC. Such as the NAD C565BEE or Cambridge 851C as recommended by willland.