I am also searching for a new DAC and have done some recent auditions which may hopefully help. On my home system I previously owned a VDAC2 which sounded okay but I never emotionally connected to it - never gave me goose bumps. I sold it and just used my Dragonfly as a fill in until I find the right DAC. In my home system I then auditioned the Moon 100 Dac vs the Parasound ZDAC. While both were a nice improvement over the VDAC2, to me the Parasound ZDAC was the clear winner (once both were fully broken in over the course of a month running 24/7). The ZDAC was more harmonically rich and the instruments had more substance (another reviewer called it better image density which I agree with). I however returned both because of employment uncertainty, plus, as much as I enjoyed the ZDAC, I suspected that I could get more detail if I raised my price point. I am now back in the hunt, and while on a business trip I auditioned the new Rotel against the Musical Fidelity M1. This was not on my system so it would be difficult for me to compare these two to the ZDAC or the Moon 100, but in the system I heard, the Rotel was a clear winner for my tastes. The Rotel was more open, amazing detail, instruments and voices were very real / palpable and image specificity / location was tightly focused like nothing I have heard before - almost laser like. The M1 in comparison was a slight bit warmer sounding but in comparison to the Rotel was dark, dynamically compressed, closed in and just less alive. I still have not made a decision but this experience has reminded me how important an audition is. Many reviews are saying DACs are starting to sound very much alike - I did not find this at all - to my ears the differences were very real and very dramatic - some I could be happy with and some I would not at all be happy with. Hope that helps!