DAC upgrade assistance needed

Hi all,

I've been out of audio about 4-5 years. The DAC I own is a PS Audio Digital Link III.

Now, I want to get into computer audio with my MAC desktop. I'm only seeking to play digital audio files via iTunes/Pure Music via my home system.

What's a cost effective more modern DAC to upgrade to from the Digital Link III? I was considering the W4S Dac-2 @ $1500. Is there any other product I should also consider before pulling the trigger on the W4S Dac-2?

Thanks to all in advance.
The main limitation with the DL III for computer audio is the USB input. I would consider buying a quality USB to SPDIF converter first. I use a Audiophilleo 2 which is very good for the $$$. Sometimes come up used here, which is how I purchased mine. With a converter one can buy a older used DAC as an upgrade later. I use mine with a Bryston BDA-1 which I also bought used.
Agree with Coltrane1... if using a USB on your computer, a good converter with your PS Audio will be better than a more expensive dac with a lesser USB converter built in.
You owe it to yourself a new USB DAC--either the PS Audio NuWave or the W4S DAC-2. I wouldn't spend money on an expensive USB/SPDIF converter considering the improvements made in USB DACs over the past 4-5 years. Even the Resonessence Concero ($600) is an option today if you don't plan on playing DSD files.
Without knowing about your existing system, let me expand on my 1st response. I play Redbook CDs as AIFF via MAC mini using Pure Music. I owned a DL III with the M2Tech Hiface. Felt it to offer great sound for the $700 I had invested. I upgraded to a Bryston BDA-1 because I wanted more digital inputs. I then upgraded to the Audiophilleo. Both together cost $1600 used.

I feel the Audiophilleo would have been a good upgrade used with the DL III. My total cost then would have been $1100.

Outside the USB interface I question whether the PS Nuwave is that much better DAC than the DL III. Though I have not heard it, based on reports by others here and elsewhere, I believe the W4S II to be a truer upgrade at a cost of ~$1150 given a used DL III now sells for ~$350.

I would suggest you look for a used music fidelity V-link (24/96) or M2tech Hiface (24/192) and try it with your DL III. Cost would be less than $100. The PS DL III has a robust power supply and great analog output stage for a DAC selling for $800 3 years ago.
The DAC-2 sounds a LOT better if you drive it with HDMI I2S using a USB converter like the Off-Ramp 5. The other inputs are not as good as I2S.

Customer feedbacks:

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks all for the feedback. I've had the M2tech Hiface mated to the PSA DLIII for some 4 years now. It's very decent sound, considering they're old technology. But I'm in an upgrade mood, especially if I can acquire a more modern used dac for a modest price.

Is the PSA PerfectWave DACII that much better than the PSA NuWave II?
If you prefer to re-enter the water cautiously, you should look at the Musical Fidelity M1A DAC. I recently took my first step into computer-based audio and bought the M1A. I was genuinely astonished at the quality of the sound, and I'm very glad I didn't spend more. The M1A certainly isn't the only reasonably priced DAC today, but it's a prime example of what's available for less than $1000.
See if you can find a PS Audio PWD MkII on clearance (check Underwood HiFi). You will not ever be disappointed.
Okay, I took the blind plunge and bought a new one from Underwood hi-fi. He had a decent buy. Thanks all for the assist. Now which USB cable to buy...it never ends does it! :)
For usb, Wireworld Starlight
Congrats on your purchase. A great upgrade. I use Wireworld Starlight 7s.