Looking for a great DAC for my Airport Express....

Hello all,
I'm looking for a DAC around $1000 to link my Apple Airport Express to my Unison Research S2K integrated amp. Right now I'm using an Audience Conductor mini plug to rca interconnect straight from the Airport Express, but I know I can do better. The Airport Express has a Toslink, Mini headphone plug, or USB outputs.
Right now I've been thinking about a Bel Canto Dac 2 using it's Toslink input, or perhaps a PS Audio Digital Link III using it's USB input. Other's that I've thought about are the Wavelength Brick, and Musical Fidelity XDacV3.
I'd like something small and unobtrusive as I live in a NYC apartment. And I'd prefer something with multiple inputs (ruling out the Wavelength), so I can try connecting my Meridian 596 DVD and see if I can improve the sound there also.
Any ideas would be appreciated. I'd prefer not to spend over $1000, but we all know how that goes.
hey glen
try either a 47 labs shigaraki or ack! 2.0 ..both are small and look and sound great, ack has more hook up options...but the shigaraki has a better edge on the sound.
my 2 cents worth
I'm not sure what you're asking...you want to connect a dac directly to an airport express?

You could just buy an airport extreme which connects wirelessly to your computer and plug into it an external hard drive if you need one. Then the music streams wirelessly to your computer which then can have a USB dac connected to it which in turn connects to your integrated.

You can get a USB Benchmark dac-1 (small footprint and nice headphone jacks) for your price new (I think if you look around) or certainly used.
I'm using a Benchmark Media DAC-1 connected to an Airport Express with a glass Toslink cable. The Benchmark goes into a Simaudio I-5 integrated.

I also connect a Denon 2910 universal player to the Benchmark with a Stereovox digital coax cable. There's also an XLR input on the Benchmark and a front panel toggle that lets you switch among the three inputs.

I'm extremely happy with the setup and the performance of the Benchmark. It's very small, well-built and within your price range, as well.
Consider the Lavry DA-10. It has multiple inputs (AES or SPDIF digital audio on XLR, RCA and optical link), volume control, front panel polarity switch and several clock modes. It has been highly praised by users and in the press, is small (half-rack size) and is under $1,000 new. I've had mine since the start of 2007 and am extremely pleased.
I have recently purchased the new TADAC from Bizzybee Audio and I really like this piece. I have owned Channel Island, Musical Fidelity, Citypulse, etc and this blows them away.....
From my research prior to trying the Airport Express (AE) experiment, the consensus was that the USB port on the AE is designed only for a printer. It is not suitable for audio. Your only option with the AE for digital out is the mini toslink. I tried the AE and a Lite DAC-AH that sounded pretty good for the money, have since switched to a Scott Nixon USB DAC connected directly to an IMac - pretty satisfied with it. Anyone, please correct me if I'm wrong, I never tried the AE USB for audio as I didn't have a USB DAC at the time, just went with what I had read.
Rmiwa, you're right, the USB port on the Airport Express does not provide digital out for the audio stream, it's only for connecting a printer to the wireless network.
Wow, I did not know that. I always thought a USB port was a USB port? Isn't it just transferring digital data, whether it be for a printer, or for a dac?
And nobody has mentioned the Bel Canto Dac 2 yet. This Dac has had such rave reviews, even beating out the 47 Labs Shigaraki in the 6moons review.
G_goodwin, you're right, a USB port is a USB port but the USB specifications are about the mechanical and electrical properties of the connection, not the kind of data that is sent through the port.
I tried both the Scott Nixon and the Bel Canto DAC 2 from my Mac via toslink. The difference was night and day with the DAC 2 coming out way ahead. I put the DAC 2 up against my Resolution Audio Opus 21 and the Opus (at 3x the price) was noticeably better.