Neutral Dac?

I’m curious to see people’s opinions on what they believe is the most uncolored dac? Every dac I’ve tried seems to be a flavor that deviates from neutrality in some way (smooths things over, too bright, too soft on transients, lacks bass etc...). Is there a dac that people believe gets all the fundamentals correct with leaving very little sonic footprint? What is the cost threshold needed to achieve it? I’m surprised at my own findings recently but really curious if anyone else has been searching for a fundamentally uncolored dac and what they’ve found.

   I realize the most obvious answer is "the dac with impeccable measurements" but I have also found some of them to sound unnatural (dry/bright).


In the past year there have been several extremely positive reviews on the Topping D90 SE/LE and Gustard X26 PRO DACS. All reviewers stated emphatically either of these two DACs were as neutral an anything they have ever heard. Granted around here neither of them are expensive enough to be considered for anything other than a paper weight, but you might be surprised based upon what I’ve read.

FWIW, I've owned R2R Ladder DAC's and at least the ones I've had were anything but neutral. I grew tired of their presentation quickly because quite a bit of detail and imaging were left on the table. Its not a road I would want travel down again. 

I hope you like the Schiit dac! It sounds like a reasonable choice. I heard the top Yiggy model that was out some 3-4 years ago and while it was neutral, the way it did neutrality left me a tad cold. It was a bit mechanical sounding. Just my experience and subjective to be sure. I am sure others find it magical as this passion of ours is subjective.

Here is something to think about. My experience with the Tron dac has educated me in ways I was previously ignorant about. It elevated my whole system and my enjoyment of it tremendously. I did not think a dac alone could do this. It has saved my wife and I money, time and effort in the end. Wish I would have purchased it a few years ago.

It’s not about slaying some never ending dragon, but rather deeper enjoyment and contentment in what you already have as a system. More money does not always, or even often, equal more fun and enjoyment of music and system. However, a special front end source can indeed elevate everything. Sometimes more money does pay off in the end and can be a wonderful value. As I get older I tire of buying and selling gear. I want to keep what I have and enjoy. Happy to say my Tron dac makes this possible for me.

Other less expensive dacs, compared to Tron, that I know to be quite good include:

Mojo Audio Mystique X ($7-$10k) A very special dac that can elevate an entire system nicely. Still rather expensive. 

Merason Dac 1 ($5-$6k) Even handed and so very engaging. 

Upgraded MHDT Orchid dac ( upgrade 10 key parts) $1500 or so. Upgrades make it more neutral and articulate.   



@mofojo Holo Spring. Tried for 2 or 3 years to like the sound from this thing, but never did. Used every input available just didn't sound good. Have a friend who had the same experience with two of the Holo DAC's, and also one Denafrips. Each to their own I suppose but I'm done with R2R based upon those experiences.