Relaxed, musical DAC around 2k used?

I tend to differ from many audiophiles in that I am very sensitive to treble and what is commonly referred to as detail retrieval. I want something musical that is forgiving to poor recordings rather than reminding me that I’m not listening an audiophile mastered album, something laid back that gives the sense of ease and relaxation I get from vinyl.

I’ve previously tried DACs like the Chord Mojo, ifi xDSD, and Sabre 9018 based McIntosh D150 and found all to suffer from weak bass and overly emphasized treble (sparkle, air, detail) which is not to my liking. I’ve heard through reviews that something like the PS Audio Directstream DAC might be more of what I’m looking for but at the moment it is out of my budget. 

I also see things like the Mytek Brooklyn and Benchmark recommended at this price range but I fear they will have the same emphasis as the above and won’t be what I’m looking for. 

Im very open to used gear as it gives greater value. Is there anything out there for me?
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Showing 3 responses by big_greg

A used Auralic Vega fits in your budget.  It's my favorite of all the DACs I've owned and is the one I use in my main system.  Here's a quote from a review by The Absolute Sound:

"Finally, I was struck on multiple occasions by the Vega’s unfailing musicality, which I sometimes—tongue-in-cheek— called the “Neve factor.” Neve recording consoles are known for pulling off a difficult but highly rewarding tightrope act of sorts; on the one hand, they deliver exceedingly high levels of transparency, clarity, and timbral purity, while on the other hand they preserve a naturally warm, organic, and lifelike sound."

That description fits my experience with it.
Every MQA DAC rolls off the highs for PCM music, so something from Mytek for instance would have less upper treble than a Benchmark DAC3B or Chord Qutest (these have neutral sound).
I have a Mytek Liberty, and it's a toss up as to whether it or my Wyred 4 Sound are the most "digital" and "brightest" DACs I've owned.  I would not recommend a Mytek product to someone with the OP's stated wants, unless the Brooklyn is vastly different from the Liberty, which according to comments I've read, it is not.  I'm not saying Mytek (or my Liberty) DACs are "bad", but they are not what I would recommend to someone looking for something "relaxed".
For those interested in r2r DACs take a look at MHDT Labs. I picked up an Orchid recently for a 2nd system and really like it. They have a couple of balanced models, no MQA.