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?
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 
I have test driven roughly 13 DACs, TBH I always seem to come back the (dare I say it) Jolida (black ice audio) the tune stage is nice and full especially with bugle boy nos I run in it, I drive it with a few different amps from pair of usher R1.5s , to a pair of McIntosh MC7300s. I love it sounds good with anything I play or speakers I pair it with. 
audiotroy... unless i’ve missed something i’m pretty sure that the op is not looking for uber gear but rather that which he can afford. i haven’t read all of the thread but was he planning to sell his mac gear? without knowing what he has does he have the pre/amp/speakers/cable to
warrant an extremely large digital purchase. maybe ya’ll have been considering moderately priced gear. i don’t think it wise to spend 30k+on any unit unless you keep it a VERY long time and can absolutely afford it and understand that you’ll get hammered upon resale. 
@asiufy @audiotroy 

I would be curious what 'level' of DAC would you say is commensurate with my general Mcintosh system of c1100/611 and B&W 800 d3 speakers?

is the MSB line/T+A 3100 overkill?  is it the next step up that would be lost in my current system, above?


originally, I was sort of looking at the Esoteric K1 transport and had started learning more about DCS and the reputation of their DACs and so my original question was really in relation to those two, which generally had a price point around 20-35k, I guess.

But I was not as familiar with other brands like T+A, MSB, etc - or necessarily well versed on various price vs return equations etc...so, its all good I guess! lol

I believe a Premier with 2 Discrete Power supplies will be suitable for your system. Add an MSB Reference Transport, if you're that inclined to play discs, or a Innuos Zenith mk3 if you prefer to stream.
If you still have any budget left, I'd add the $5000 Femto 93 clock upgrade for the MSB. 

Alma Music and Audio