Looking for DAC suggestions

Hi All,

I'd like to update the quality of my digital side. I want to use the digital output from my NAD 502 and run it to a DAC, but am not sure what a good match for my system would be.
Pre: Sonic Frontiers SFL-2
Amp: Bryston 3BST (I sometimes use up my old Sonic Frontiers SFS-80 (no bi-amping))
Speakers: B&W 805 Nautilus

Any suggestions for $2000-$2500?

DO a search on Agon this topic has been recently covered and in the past.

Happy Listening.
IMO you should spend a bit less on the dac itself, and buy a real transport instead of the NAD CD player you intend using. It would make a far bigger difference. Theta Data Basic II is an excelent "starter", you can pick up a mint example for 600$.
From my personal experience, I think Elberoth2 has a point worth checking out. I paired a MF Tri Vista 21 DAC with my existing Arcam FMJ 23 CD player. With the amp I had at the time, I thought it was a great all around improvement. However,when I upgraded the amp to something with greater power and detail, I found a lot of high treble glare. At first, I thought it was the amp, or poor synergy with new speakers. Taking some advice,(quite counter-intuitive, might I add), I took the DAC out of the system; problem solved.

On the other hand, running the DAC with an old Theta Data Basic transport sounded great. The knowledgable retailer who advised me sells both separates and single box CD players, but is very leery of combining a DAC with a single box player.
Start here http://www.ack-industries.com/

Take the free home trial and your not out if you don't like it. This little Dac gets great user opinions and the price is right.

Benchmark DAC-1 at $975 and 30 day money back.But since your 502 is about 10yrs old(mine is)how about a Creek CD50-MKII.
Save some $ and get what I think is the best thing going right now:

the RAKK dac from Kevin Carter at K and K audio. K and K audio site

I had a Trivista 21 on hand to compare with, and the RAKK is better. (I have the passive version of RAKK with Tent Labs clock module.) It's not much more than the dAck unit (maybe less, depending on options), and easily far more capable in terms of performance and various options.

Filterless and minimalist dacs like dAck and shigaraki just don't have the quality of sound. Sure, they are simple but the price is paid in resolution and top end extension. It's just not there. (there is no free lunch. Yes, I have had some of these units in my own system for auditioning).

the RAKk on the otherhand is well thought out, comprehensive in its abilities, has many good options (tent labs clock module, active tube output stage, passive transformer-coupled output option, tube-regulated power supply option, etc.) and can also handle upsample/resampling and different frequencies/sampling rates.

anyone thinking about a DAC should look into the RAKK, IMHO. I have yet to compare it to my SCD1 but will do so soon.

I just re-auditioned a Benchmark and still liked it. I will be buying one in the near future. They are hard to beat for the money. jallen
Thanks for all the responses. It sounds like perhapse my initial idea of using my NAD as a transport is not the best idea. So would it be better to go the dac/transport route or new cd player route? Sorry for all the questions, I'm really more of a phono guy...

try finding a used Audio Note DAC; you will not be disappointed. Preferably a 2.1 or better.
You won't know your dac until you have a decent transport. I have a Scott Nixon TubeDac. Even though non-oversampling dacs are less susceptible to jitter, transport quality makes a very large difference. My system sounded very smooth and musical when I was using my Cary 303 as a transport, but somewhat brittle, unbalanced and boomy using a Tosh dvd player as a transport.
I amusing a Dodson DAC-263 with my Arcam FMJ-23T as a transport and an i2Digital digital cable. The Dodson DAC is wonderful. It is very detailed an has expanded and deepened the soundstage. It is also very musical and not overly etched if you know what I mean