Out of the game for 5 years...looking for help?

I have been busy with life( kids!) for the last 5 years. When i got off the merry go round, i ended up with a mac mini using pure music thru a m2 tech hiface into a MHDT paradesia + dac. It sounds good to my ears but was wondering if i can get better sound for not alot of $$$. I was wondering if there have been a lot of improvements in digital playback(redbook) dacs? Any suggestions for under $1k?
Like you I was out of the game for 6 years. Sold all my over top, crazy expensive gear. Just got back in this year fully focused on just enjoying the music and keeping my system within a reasonable budget. The good news is for folks who are into computer audio there is a ton of good equipment at a lower price. To me I think there is has been less improvement in sound quality and more improvement in the ability to get SOTA sound at a lower price. Companies like Shiit, exaSound, etc are doing some cool stuff.
Not too much improvement IMHO.
Starting analogue is much more interesting.
Streetdaddy - since you are running a Mac mini - take a look at Audirvana- the best player/streamer I've use to date - you can download a free trial version from their web site

It can operate as a standalone player or integrates with iTunes, which I use because my droid remote software, called Retune, works so well with it

I'll second the Schiit - just got the Bifrost + Uber upgrade + USB - $520 - put on some serious power cables and interconnects and it will wow you.

Running the DAC via USB - tried the optical and s/pdif and could not tell the difference

One of the few dacs in this price range that allows 24/192 on all inputs.

Good luck
Oh Schiit!
My response was more H-O-L-Y S-C-H-I-I-T

For $520 - great value!