Most organic / real / analogue sounding DAC (ideally with Volume Control) for $1500??????

I’d say I’m completely jaded with digital Hifi.   All sounds so thin & clinical.

I people raving about Benchmark DACs & Chord Mojos etc. They sound like hell to me.   Nothing at all like real live voices & instruments.

I’ve been reading about R2R Ladders & NOS.   The descriptions match what I’m looking for.   I want natural sound that makes me forget about Hifi & just listen to the music.
like Reel to Reel without the faff.

Lifelike is my aim, but I certainly prefer a warm, dark sound over clinical.

Don't need a load of inputs.  Only need 2 or 3.
I don’t have any analog sources, so prefer the DAC to have Volume Control to eliminate the need for a Pre Amp.   However, if the best sounding DACs don’t have Volume Control & there are clear sonic benefits to having a Preamp, then I could be persuaded.

I’m in UK btw, so need brands that ship to UK.

Suggestions please?



I formerly owned the Metrum Octave and I agree with you, it is a very very good dac. In fact, my octave dethroned my former much more expensive MSB Power Dac ($4k) which used MSB’s custom made ladder dacs and was battery or grid powered. It was no contest, the Octave slapped it down and I sold the MSB. Then came the AMR DP 777 (the SE was not yet in existence). To my dismay the AMR, simply made the Octave sound mechanical. I say dismay, because that meant I had to come out of pocket :) I’ve now owned the DP since like 2011. 
For new dacs, Metrum is hard to beat for the dollar spent. 
Metrum makes their own DAC chips
They may make their own discrete R2R resistor boards, like MSB Holo Denafrips ect, but I doubt they have their own R2R chip IC’s manufacturing processes.

Cheers George
I think you are on the right track with R2R. As others say a lot depends on the other components and source materials but I find they are more "analog sounding". I had chip-based dacs, went with at TT and LPs to get that analog sound, then switched to an R2R day and wish I'd done that first as I wouldn't have gone with analog sources. Sounds amazing. Tough to fit in your budget though but have a look at Kitsune' / Holo Audio. Maybe the low-end Spring 2...
I own a McIntosh D150 and I'm very pleased.  I find it warm and impressionable especially with higher resolution files.
I guess its too late but if you have a chance to listen to an Audio Note Dac 0.1x it's in your price range and might be just what you're looking for.