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?
4425 The Aurender that would be up to this level of system would be the W20 or the Se version.

Pipedreams the Aqua is indeed excellent we sell it, however, the Aqua with the Innous Statement vs the T+A SDV 3100 with the Statement is not comparing apples to apples. 

The T+A SDV is a totally unique product that has a built in streamer, Fm tuner, headphone amp, Blue Tooth receiver, it is a true multi source product that alows access to any kind of digital source, along with a state of the art dac that can handle the highest sampling rates in the world .

The dac use  a propreitary DSD engine and separate PCM engine. The Dac can also come with a world class preamplifier stage as well. In addition there are four tuneable filters and two modes of reading the data from the DSD enginer which allows a degree of customization, add to that OTA firmware upgrades. 

Quite frankly there is nothing on the market quite like what the SDV 3100 offers. It is a truly all singing all dancing master of all things digital. 

The Aqua dac is a very well designed and implimented ladder dac that does sound extremely good for its price point. We agree with you that the Aqua is a fantastic dac and does offer a very cool modular approach. 

The difference is in subtitlties there is a great sense of palpability and a greater sense of realisim with the T+A that justifys its higher price point.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ T+A, Aqua, Innous

No doubt the T&A is a wonderful jack of all trades and priced accordingly. We were chosen to sell the Aqua line  as well. Our reasoning was price point and  upgrade ability. For Preamp service we carry Lamm and Audio Hungary. We stream Radio through iPeng.
Different choices for different budgets and systems.

charlesrollo audio consulting
No Charles it is not a matter of being a jack of all trades, the T+A offers a level of sound quality that is ahead of the Aqua and it should be considering the difference in price.

Also if you consider the extra cost of a set of interconnects and a power cord not to mention the space of a great analog preamp, the concept of an intergrated state of the art preamplifier along with the dac makes a very tempting all in one package.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ T+A, Aqua, and Innous dealers
ufguy73...just curious but when you started this thread were you looking for 35k type products?
for a ‘retail’ price of $18000 you could put an aurender acs10 with a bartok dac and have a digital front end that burns and streams with great operating software. as a side benefit both units exude quality and would be a joy to use. another important aspect is that the two units have outstanding resale value but i don’t think you’d be selling them anytime soon. you can squeeze perhaps another 5-10% in sq by spending a lot more but only if you have an uber overall system. i also feel that very good digital is no longer hard to find and 13-15k(dcs) isn’t necessary for 95% of audiophiles. at $4500, unless it’s gone up, the acs10 is a true high end bargain. IMO
i left out dacs. there are many out there that i don’t know about but when i had a mytek manhattan 2 i thought it superior to the bricasti m1 which i also owned. the mytek was by no means a budget product in terms of performance and build quality. there are many other new and used dacs available for under10k. the law of diminishing returns certainly appears in digital.