Performance of $1000 DAC's

I have been researching DAC's lately and as with most things in audio it leaves one with frustration.

Recent comments I have read have me questioning if DAC's in the $1000 range are thin soundinging.

Has anyone compared $1000 DAC's to much more expensive DAC's and/or CDP's? I'd be curious of your results.

DAC's I have been reading about have mostly been, the Benchmark, Bel Canto DAC3 and the PS Audio Dig Link DAC III, with and without mods.

Any input on your DAC experiences would be most appreciated, BUT I would really prefer that posts include what you compared the DAC to, even if it is the DAC within your CDP that you are bypassing. Also, listing associated equipment would be greatly appreciated.
That is kind of a broad statement (all DAC around $1,000 are thin sounding).
My reaction to that would be to put those reviewers on permanent ignore.

There is a sure fire way to get a system you will be happy with.
Find what it is you like, and totally don't give a hoot what other people think.
Sorry Sugarbie, I don't follow your reply at all. As for not carrying what other people think, if we didn't want to solicit other peoples opinions there would be no reason for these forums.

My recent questioning/concern of $1000 DAC's sounding thin are based on comments within these forms, not print reviews.
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I once had a Bel Canto was well under $1K used, and it was most definitely not thin-sounding - in fact it was a joy to listen to, and one of the best value pieces I've owned.

I would presume that at the $1K pricepoint, there will be compromises made...if you want high detail, you'll give up a bit of body...if you want a liquid midrange, you'll give up a bit of detail, etc. It's all about system matching - you just don't wanna go too far in one direction.

Going up in price will yield units that will work with a wider variety of equipment (and obviously sound better for the most part, as long as you buy a well-respected unit), but I am of the belief that anybody's system should be able to accomodate a $1K DAC quite nicely. It's just a matter of which $1K DAC.
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Brianmgrarcom, I have been wracking my memory to see if I can be of any use and I come up with this. I am presently using an Esoteric P-10 transport with an Atlas Opus cable (1.5m) and a battery-powered Apogee Mini-DAC. This DAC with a battery PS would sell in the $1K range.

Now I think way back to the first time I heard a P-10. Thanks to a very generous pal, I was comparing four digital sources: an Ensemble Dirondo/Dichrono, the P-10 with an Apogee DA-2000, a TEAC T1 with an Apogee DA-1000E-20 and a Shanling CD-T100.

The order I've listed them in was the order in which I perceived their quality. The top two were very close (in the top 3 I'd heard up till then with the Linn CD12), and now I am trying to recall that experience so I can give a rough idea of how my present setup compares to those.

I would say that the Mini-DAC on a battery is very surprising. With a P-10 it would take the middle spot in the lineup above, and perhaps sit very close to the second. My impression is of a bit less liveliness and punch than the DA-1000E, but also less congestion on complex passages, and more openness and air.

For tone and body, all five of the sources did very well. I wouldn't call any of them thin-sounding.
Why would thin sounding be correlated with price?
I just acquired a Modwright Sony NS 999ES with the Platinum Truth Mods, Signal Cable umbilical cord and NOS Mullard rectifier and Tung Sol 5881s, and it is just simply a truly amazing player. That being said, I still have my Bel Canto DAC 2 and Benchmark 1 DAC that I have directly compared to the Modwright 999es and while not completely its equal both are phenomenal for their price points and definitely in no way thin. Until I got the Modwright the above two DACs were by far the best digital I have had in my system.
I have a Benchmark Dac 1 (no USB) with a Nordost digital cable, Shunyata Taipan Vx Helix Power Cable into Hydra 8 and Masterlink Alesis 9800 (on Walker Audio Valid Points, also Taipan Vx Helix PC, Tara Labs RSC One single ended interconnects from Benchmark to preamp) used as transport and compared to my Esoteric X03-SE (Tara Labs The One Balanced cable, Shunyata Python Vx Helix + Hydra 8 on Finite Elements Cera Pucs), the soundstage from the Esoteric is noticably deeper, richer, more transparent, better detail and dynamics~all in all obviously better sound. The masterlink really did came to life with the Benchmark, though I don't think it is a fair comparison as the complete CD Rig with cables is probably $10,000 vs probably $3k for the Alesis/Masterlink combo. The Benchmark is very musical and sounds wonderful, just not in the caliber of the Esoteric. I would like to try a more expensive DAC (maybe a Mark Levinson) but not going near there for a while. I'd love to hear other opinions.
I've had the Stello DA100 Signature in my system the past couple months -- it does not sound thin and the soundstage is remarkable. In fact, it makes my EVS Millennium DAC 1 sound flat and 2D by comparison. The best way I can describe it is that the DA100 not only presents a layered soundstage, it does so in such a natural and realistic fashion that you don't just see/hear the layers -- you can actually sense them as well. Had the same experience with a Stello DP200 a while back, so it seems to be a family trait.

I found this review comparing the Stello DA220 with the Benchmark if you haven't seen it:

I think both units have been upgraded since this review, but the core strengths probably remain. They both seem to come very close to the best available, so it's hard to see going wrong with either sonically speaking. So, to answer your original question it seems there are DACs in the $1000 range that are not thin sounding and do soundstage like champs. Hope this helps.