For the money the VALAB DAC is quite good. I preferred the SPDIF input to the
USB input. It definitely sounds like other NOS DAC's I have heard and compares
favorably to them. Very clear, tight, whole sound. Completely non-fatiguing in
every way. Good tonal balance across the spectrum -- well balanced sound. I
would say that for systems that are very forward, extremely revealing, or
aggressive, this DAC could balance things out nicely (NOS DAC's in general can
do this). If your system is more laid back, it might not synergize as well.
It will not, however, take the place of my AVA Insight DAC in my main rig. Keep
in mind that the Insight DAC currently retails for 5X what the VALAB DAC costs.
I genuinely believe that for some people and in some systems, the VALAB DAC
may be all you need. If I had a second system I could see it working great in it. I
will be listing it for sale if anyone is interested as I do not need two DAC's right