Consider the Benchmark DAC-1 -- has both balanced and single-ended outputs. Many great reviews. Works well even with plain old CD players as a transport.
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You are going to have to spend a bundle to really beat the denon. If you like its multi-purpose playing, consider keeping it for dvd/a & sacd but get a nice 2 channel DAC.
Another thing you may consider is getting it modded? Partsconnexion or Underwood both can take it to many new levels. You could even get tubes put in it?
My Denon is great and actually sounds better without some external DAC's that should improve the sound. However, my modded music hall wins.
Thanks for all the responses.
Jhold and Bob_reynolds (the president of my company is Bob Reynolds!!!). . .I considered the Benchmark but the modded DLIII seems like it provides better performance (albeit at a higher price).
Elevick. . .I agree that the stock Denon sounds pretty good.
Danlib1. . .the Havana certainly looks nice for the money. What have you compared it to? There isn't a lot of information out on the web. . .
Audphile1. . .I really like Bel Canto products, particularly their look. I was considering the CD2 and/or the DAC3 but the CD2 doesn't do HDCD and it seems like the DAC3 can be bettered by other less expensive units.
Samhar. . .the Raysonic 168 doesn't do HDCD so I would go with the 128 if I went Raysonic. Raysonics look great and seem to be built like a tank.
Anyone have any experience with the Original 2008 MK2? A fully modded unit is only slightly more than the Raysonic 128. . .
Here is one that does HDCD
128 is a nice player too.
Might need some tube rolling (as some suggested elsewhere)
and it is a good candidate for mods in the future , if budget permits.
But I would rather invest in quality DAC.
It is your money & final decision.
Do some research. Read comments, reviews etc.
if you can audition some of the recommendations - great. Do that before financially committing to anything.