Beyond jitter, Signal to Noise ratios, THD, IMD, etc, how well any particular brand and or modle therein pulls off the ensemble manipulating everything into anlog is the trick. if there is indeed a trick to be had.
spec sheets are not a road map just a general or rule of thumb guide.
in other words, several dA converters can tout (by their own in house determined stats) or claims their specs are beyond reproach yet the analog aspect is as key as is the digital side of the conversion.
is it an up sampling, over sampling, or non over sampling DA?
how well put together is the whole thing? what about the power supplies?
then too, dA’s come in various topologies.
does it excell at converting High Res files but is only so so with red Book?
ultimately, it wil all come down to its presentation. is it liquid? Dry? Dark? overly warm? critically resolving? bright? soft on the bass? transparent to a fault? does it do justice IYO to the entire bandwidth? bottom, middle and upper ranges?
lastly, how synergistic is it in your arrangement once it has landed on your rack?
there is no true concensus for which dA will work out best in every outfit.
albeit, popularity around herre tends to explode on those units in the more attainable, less can’taffordium modles. usually those below $5K. often far less and around $2K to 3K.
the D/A waters as I’ve seen them get really murky about the 5K level, if not a tad below it. meaning, at this point these are all competent capable converters. which one’s voice suits the prospective buyer is the real question.
specs are nice things to consider. always. but each and everytime the proof is really in the ‘pudding’..
I’ve heard D/As costing enormous sums I’d not own even if I had the dough to throw at it/them.
for free? of course I would take what ever.
do consider more than just numbers on a sheet of paper. then do everything possible to get which ever unit into your own hands and listen for yourself, that measurement is the only one that matters in the end.
good luck. enjoy.