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 1 response by yeti42

I was looking for a DAC to stand in for a couple of years to go with a Naim Core via SPDif while I waited for their new streamers (which were obviously coming once the Atom etc were launched). I tried a Rega DAC-r and a Chord 2qute, initially with Chord shawline and fairway cables but found the Rega a bit boring and the impressive but too clinical. I wasn't going to pay £200 for a digital cable if I could help it so I'd ordered a Belden 4794R from Blue Jeans for a fraction of the price and along with a BNC to RCA converter, this arrived while i had these two DACs on home demo and it livened up the Rega very nicely, enough that I stopped looking any further. It was particularly rich sounding with filter 3 and conveyed emotion very nicely though it was obviously less detailed than the Chord. I never tried the USB input but it's sopposed to haver been improved over the original Rega DAC.
It's probably best to try to get to hear one, in your setup if you can and try a few different cables of whichever format you use, there seems to be some sensitivity to cable choice so don't assume they're all the same (as I did originally) or that the more you pay the better the cable will perform for your system.