So, if you had my system to work with and were thinking about adding a DAC...


This is my current set-up...
*Exposure 2010S Series V2 integrated amp
*Exposure 2010S Series V2 CD player
*Magnum Dynalab MD90 analog FM tuner
*Benchmark H-1 headphone amplifier
*Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital Apple dock
*Bluesound Node 2 connected wirelessly to my home router
*Bowers & Wilkins 705 two-way monitor/bookshelf speakers
*Bowers & Wilkins ASW700 subwoofer connected to PRE-OUT, generally set to volume 40% and low-pass freq. ≈ 70Hz to support where the 705s low end bass response falls off

I added the Bluesound Node 2 to stream Tidal HiFi lossless a few months ago and I am very pleased with it. I did a few A/B tests listening to familiar tracks (Dar Williams "The Beauty of the Rain", Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Stones in the Road," Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach Cello Suite No.1 in G Major,Dave Brubeck's "Take Five", Shadowfax "The Dreams of Children", Jane Monheit singing "Over the Rainbow", and more), and I cannot distinguish a difference between the Node 2 with its internal DAC and my CD player.

Recently, I stumbled upon a store demo Exposure 2010S2 DAC (original version, no the new version with the DSD upgrade) for sale for $550... the "street price" of a new one seems to be about $1,400... and that got me wondering whether playing both my CD player and the Node 2 through it would noticeably improvement given the capabilities of my system. 've read that DAC technology has advanced over the years. My CD player came on the market in 2004, and Exposure introduced that DAC in 2013. And, of course, as nice as it sounds the internal DAC in the Node 2 is part of a unit that retails for $499.

For that same $550, give or take, I could also get a CAMBRIDGE AUDIO DACMagic Plus, JOLIDA - GLASS FX TUBE DAC III, NAD D 1050, MARANTZ  NA8005 DSD, or a refurbished Benchmark DAC 1. 

Tidal is making a big deal of releasing MQA tracks...  none of these DACs could take full advantage format if it actually comes to something.

So, if you had my system to work with and were thinking about adding a DAC...  what would you do?



jcwct
I recently heard an Exposure amp and it's definitely underrated in my view.  In regards to MQA, quoting...Public Enemy - Don’t believe the hype! I’ve heard several MQA tracks and honestly, I don’t understand all the fuss. Tidal’s lossless FLAC streaming sounds great to me....and unless it’s high rez, I can’t tell the difference. In my opinion, the quality of the DAC makes a bigger difference in the SQ than the MQA format. I would go with the refurbished Benchmack DAC1. Also, at your price range, I would also look DACs made by TEAC or Schitt.
As important as tidal is for streaming, i use it almost all the time now and forget about bothering with buying cd's.

My search of a full MQA capable streamer and dac has lead me to conclude that the sonics of the dac is way more conclusive in SQ.

Do not get me wrong, i enjoy MQA half unfolded at 48/96K and the best option is to stay with my streamer capable of software unfolding.

There is just too wide a difference between sonics and presentation of different dacs.

FWIW, i find MQA exceeds tidal hi-fi stream.
@justubes2 ,  I agree with you on the most part. I'm still not completely sold on MQA :).  Btw, the Bluesound components are pretty good streamers that support MQA.  If you output the Bluesound to a decent DAC, you'll be good to go.  If Aurender adds Tidal MQA support to my N100H, I'll give MQA another listen, for now I'm fine listening to Tidal without MQA.     
At the price of the Exposure DAC why not 'buy and try'. It could be sold at little if any loss if it does not suit.