From hearing it at Axpona this year, not to mention the positive feedback I read about them here ..... look into a Denafrips Ares.
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I think the HiFi-Skÿn (and a few other products using the 4490 off-shelf chip) have taken the D/S sound as far as it can go, at reasonable cost. That is, in my opinion, I don’t think there is much further sound quality to be gained from off-shelf products until you spend $2000 or more. The HiFi-Skÿn is the sweet spot. The HiFi-Skÿn is quite good, and quite worth its cost by that relative comparison.
see: Mobdro Vidmate
Contact Tommy at the Digital Amplifier Company and ask about his DAC DAC in the High Spec (HS) version. He just released the Gen 2 and is taking trade ins on the Gen 1 towards the Gen 2, and selling off the trade in Gen 1’s at a deep discount. Every traded in Dac goes on his bench and is put through a multitude of tests and brought up to spec if needed. I have a Gen 1 and have no need to move to the Gen 2 since I use tube gear. The DAC DAC is extremely musical with loads of detail. I believe each DAC DAC comes with a 30 day no hassle return policy.
Check them out and don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity!
Contact Tommy at the Digital Amplifier Company and get some information about his DAC in the High Spec (HS) variant. He just discharged the Gen 2 and is taking exchange ins on the Gen 1 towards the Gen 2, and auctioning off the exchange Gen 1's at a profound markdown. Each exchanged Dac goes on his seat and is put through a large number of tests and raised to spec if necessary. I have a Gen 1 and have no compelling reason to move to the Gen 2 since I utilize tube outfit. The DAC is to a great degree melodic with heaps of detail. I trust each DAC accompanies a multi day no issue merchandise exchange.
This may sound controversial but the answer to your question may depend on how you’re planning to use the DAC. Supposedly, if it’s intended to “enhance“ your Redbook CD playback, the Multibit options, even the cheaper Schiit Modi Multibit @ $250 could be a good option. If you’re planning to use it for streaming purposes, a non-Multibit/R2R DAC may be a better option. Same for SACD playback. That said, I doubt if the audible differences between the two DAC chip technologies in this price range will be significant.
The Marantz HD-DAC1 is a nice full-featured DAC that you might be able to find used in your price range. I'm not sure why it doesn't get more attention than it does - I actually found it to perform slightly better than the SA-14s1 as a stand-alone DAC, and it's a third of the cost of the Reference SACD player.
Contact Tommy at the Digital Amplifier Company and get some data about his DAC in the High Spec (HS) variation. He simply released the Gen 2 and is taking trade ins on the Gen 1 towards the Gen 2, . I have a Gen 1 and have no convincing motivation to move to the Gen 2 since I use tube furnish. The DAC is to an extraordinary degree melodic with stacks of detail. I trust each DAC goes with a multi day no issue stock trade.
I stand by my SMSL recommendation, but would add the March Audio DAC1.
Assuming it’s the same DAC as the $1100 Amp1, it’s worse than $100 DACs.
Seeing as how their $750+shipping NFB-28.28, performs like a $60 DAC, and assuming it’s the same quality as the standalone 11.28, hard pass. Now, even good $60 DACs sound good, but the issue that it’s way overpriced for its performance.
Measurements, pretty good for the price. I just don’t like them literally scratching off the name of the DAC chip they use (although it’s very obvious which chip it is).