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?
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. 
correction: the acs 10 starts at $5600
Actually 4435 we could not disagree more. There is no law of dimenishing returns in digital until you hit the higher end dacs once you cross $25-35k for a dac and a $15k for a server then you hit that wall where you have to spend a ton more money before you can really get better.

We have a ton of great digital from the Aqua Hifi Lascala, the Bricasti M3,the Lumin T2, the Lumin X1, the Naim NDX2, the T+A Dac 8 DSD, all of these represent the more value oriented mid tier dacs.

We also sell the $2k dac, Ifi, Lumin D2 the Myteks.

We also sell the higher end reference dacs the Aqua Formula, the T+A SDV 3100 and the Light Harmonic Davinci. These dacs are from $16k to $35k.

The take away is the Lumin X1 and the Formula both sound fantastic for their price points, their is an elusuive quality of palpality that the more expensive dacs do that once you hear it you know you are in a level of realism that mirros the best in vinyl. 

So in our shop you can go from each price level and unfortunately the more expensive gear really does sound better, the question always is are they worth the coin? 

The same question can be answered in Steaks, you can get a pretty good steak for $25.00 howerver, once you go to a world class steak house and experience a $60 steak that difference in quality is totally obvious. 

In life there is good, there is good for the money, and there is the best at any price. The higher end DCS, MSB, T+A gear all fall into that best at any price, you are paying for technology and the execution of that technology. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ