DAC to replace Sony 5400

I recently sold my Sony 5400 to finance a Mac Mini/Ipad Mini. I'm currently running a Radio Shack toslink cable between the computer and the DAC in my Behringer DEQ2496, but I would like to step up. I really liked the sound of the 5400, so I guess that is the bar I'm looking to stay above.

I have been a bit overwhelmed by the number of DACs out there, many of which are well-liked and well-reviewed. I want to keep the budget as low as is possible, although I also don't really want to settle for a "great sound, considering the price" piece (although I guess that's what I did with the Sony).

Rest of the system is a Parasound A21 amp, ARC SP-16 preamp driving Thiel 3.6s. Thanks in advance for your input. -Jon
Just got the Micromega MyDac and it does sound excellent. Yes,considering it's price, it's a remarkable sounding piece. Digital performance has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, so once you've decided on the features you want in a DAC you really have many choices and price points to choose from. Good luck.
I had the Sony SCD XA-5400ES for about a year and then sold it because I was moving. While I'm not sure anything can touch the Sony's Super Audio CD playback, I now own the Mytek Stereo 192 dac and its better with PCM/CD audio. The Mytek also plays DSD audio (SACD) which sounds incredible also. The mytek is going for about $1595 new.
Computer Audio forum requests your participation now. DSD downloads are rather slim in these early days and your XA5400ES could play a huge library of SACD discs (especially if you love classical), and with the VSE or Modwright upgrades could really light it up on both Redbook and SACD, but understand the irresistible desire not to be left behind as computer audio surges forward and those space hogging jewel cases can be boxed, stored and/or sold. My thoughts are there will be piles of early days music servers, dacs, etc. collecting dust soon enough till the next latest and greatest must have grabs attention. Anyway off my soapbox and enjoy the adventure of consumerism and love of music however you play it.
You might consider an Oppo 105. It has HDMI and asynchronous USB ports, and plays a wide variety of discs. I still have my XA5400ES in the setup, but I think the Oppo 105 sounds at least as good as the 5400ES with CDs and SACDs, maybe better.

The Oppo looks interesting but does not do AIFF if (I'm not mistaken.) All of my files so far have been ripped to AIFF files.
I try the Oppo 105 and the Sony XA5400ES and I found the Sony have a more balance tone on all kind of musics, from piano classical jazz and latin music on
Red book and SACD and H/D cds.
I use the Cardas Clear Light on the speakers,s cable and interconnect.

If you are looking for a good DAC, I highly recommend
the ARCAM I have one and love the way it sound.Good luck.