Higher End DACs

I am looking for a DAC (potentially streamer&DAC) to be paired in a mcintosh system (c1100/611). Its my first foray into digital streaming and I have no need for a CD player.

I see a lot of love for Esoteric, however, most seems to be around their transports? Are they not as renowned for pure digital streaming and/or standalone DACs? I see DCS (for instance) often referenced for standalone DACs - how does Esoteric compare?

I normally advise people on the appropriate MSB product based on their system. I think it's silly to recommend top of the line stuff if there are components in the person's system that will hold performance back, and thus not give 100% of what the MSB can do. 
I believe @mikelavigne described a few posts back the difference between the models. It's not transparency per se that changes, but just how "continuous" and "realistic" (again, "analog") the DAC sounds. The power supplies help a lot in that aspect, as they add the required weight for some of the music to be truly realistic. The clock upgrades are also quite significant, in that they help with that sense of "flow".
If your system is already "up there", I'd recommend starting with a Reference DAC with clock upgrade. Then, instead of adding the two supplies for the Ref, trade up to a Select. 
This is *my opinion* and *my suggestion*, it might not match other folks' or even MSB's :) That's just how I hear it and how I think the price x performance equation works.
Either way, even a Premier will sound more realistic and natural than most of the DACs out there, in my opinion. For the Premier, you do want the two small power supplies, though.
HTH :)
Alma Music and Audio

I have pulled up a chair and am popping some popcorn, this show is about to get very interesting!
all positive and constructive, though...

I've learned a lot about digital just on this thread, alone!  Really appreciate the viewpoints and knowledge being shared.

this was my inaugural posting, here! lol
@asiufy makes total sense and thanks for the additional input!

if I could pick your brain some more, since I particularly liked your suggestion (including upgrade path)...

if I also wanted the ability to spin discs - would you suggest adding a Reference Transport to either the Premier or Reference DAC?  A Select transport, leaving one open for the matching DAC if deciding to update at a latter date?

I had also been thinking about the Esoteric K1x, primarily for the transport, and then using its DAC with outboard streamer...and later on deciding if I wanted to a standalone DAC, though I guess I would be overpaying for a DAC in the K1x that (at best) was only used for spinning if I later on had an MSB DAC...

how would you say the MSB transports (and something like Premier/Reference DAC) would compare to the K1x?

If you do want to spin discs, you can go with either MSB transports. The ProISL interface is really fantastic. MSB themselves always display at the shows with the Transports, and the show reports are usually something like "you don't need hi-res for amazing digital". 
The beauty of the MSB transports is that they can also be hooked up to a network, and work as a streamer, again via the galvanically isolated ProISL interface. Kill two birds with one stone and all that.
As the current Transports will work with all the MSB DACs, you can pick whichever one, and you'll be able to use it (and the matching ProISL module) across the entire line of DACs. So, upgrade the DAC, but keep the transport.
And I'm sorry, but even though I've heard and know well the Esoteric sound, I'd rather not comment it here.