Please get your facts and history correct before you act like you know what you are talking about, Tk_109. The review of the first ever CD player by Stereophile (the Sony CDP-101) appeared in January, 1983(!) and I think first DAC's didn't come out until the late 1980's. If you had bothered to open the manual that came with the DAC-1, you would have noticed the it was printed in 1992. Okay, granted, that's still a pretty old design (I bet their current remaining stock has been sitting in the warehouse for years), but the sound is not really that bad, assuming you have a decent transport and digital cable. Granted, it's not state of the art, and won't be challenging the dCS Elgar or Wadia 270ix anytime soon, but for the price it's going at, it's not a bad deal. Personally, I use it to upgrade the sound of my PC soundcard to play some downloaded MP3's, and I could actually get through a whole MP3 file now without having to plug my ears. It's not my reference source for CD playback, for sure. However, apart from being a lacking in transparency and detail, and being a bit dull in the mids, it's not all that bad. The sound is actually pretty smooth and bearable. Remember, we are talking about 150 clams here. Whadda ya expect? I think the MSB would probably be better, though I haven't heard it, since the technology is at least 5 years newer and costs twice as much. Get the MSB if you can afford it, but remember to audition it first (always the first rule of audiophile acquistion)!