The Eastern Electric Minimax plus would be my first choice (I have one). 2nd choice the Niko dac. Both within your budget, and both several notches up.
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The Rega DAC is a very big step up IMO. I had the DACmagic in my system for a bit. Wasn't close. Others have disagreed. Can't really see why, but who am I to say they're wrong?
The other DACs mentioned should also be a good improvement. I like the Rega DAC the most, hence why I bought it. System synergy will make or break any component, including DACs.
Can anyone describe in what ways all these DACs sound different? When I compare DACs, I also compare to my somewhat expensive MC cartridge/arm/turntable/step-up/preamp, and every DAC I've tried just doesn't come close to me. Actually, my very old Theta Gen-5 sounds fine. They all sound compressed and they lack realism. I am thinking a DacMagic will be only a tiny bit different than an "upgrade" from there, for $500 to $2000 less. But I would like to know what others think about this. What are the specific sonic benefits of upgrading DAC that you all get excited about?
Yeah, don't bother with the 100D. You'd be wasting your money on a sideways upgrade. I've tried both of these moon DACs as well as the DacMagic. The 300D would be a significant upgrade; it'd easily be worth your time for an audition.
For what it's worth: despite the marked differences provided by the Moon 300D, I got more out of my digital source from a LessLoss DFPC Signature (power cord @ $1149) than I did from the $1800 Moon 300D. But, since your DacMagic doesn't have a standard IEC power cord inlet, and since you're not talking about satisfying your analogue or digital cd-player 'needs', perhaps that isn't relevant.
Anyway, I had a look at your system: everything looks very nice. Such a tranquil and relaxing-looking space.