Contact Steve to see if any upgrades are available.
Hey there, OP.
My typical advice for these sorts of questions is to listen to CD's and high resolution music.
If your DAC has a big discrepancy between the two, it is time to upgrade, because the latest generations are much much better with Redbook.
If on the other hand they sound about the same, then the only reason to change is for flavor.
You could check out the link below and then call Steve or Patrick at SMc.
Even with the upgrades, there are considerations related to the age of the DAC such as whether to switch to an R2R ladder type DAC, or other different technologies that are now available. However, from the standpoint of power supply and parts improvements, I suspect SMc upgrades would make the DAC sound as good as it possibly can using the technology it is based on.
DAC technology keeps moving in leaps and bounds.
I, too, love Steve's work, but I think the DAC stuff isn't as much his specialty.
One of the best DAC's for the money, IMHO, is the Ayre Codex, which you can find used for around $1K.
The other would be the Schiit Gungnir or Yggy. A bit harder to find used (with current upgrades), but worth the money.
Like Ayre, Schiit provides upgrades to their equipment when they find it makes a significant difference.
Thank you one and all for your advice..I have other "Steve" gear and am very happy.
I hear a lot about R2R ladder type DAC's etc.
I think there may not be enough "there, there" in the DAC 1 to upgrade, but I will give them a call.
I will look for the Ayre in the meantime.
I would like a unit that I can grow with.
Originally the DAC was just for Redbook but the times they are a changing....
Upscale audio has a used VAC 22.2 DAC for $600 any thoughts?
Thank you all again for your time and thoughts.
I will keep you posted.
I own an SMc Audio VRE-1, which was originally Steve’s personal pre-amp that he kindly brought over to my home to demo many years ago. I bought it! LOL.
He does exceptional work, so contacting him about the DAC-1 is a reasonable first step.
That said, I concur with the Schiit Audio Yggy suggestion. It’s a tremendous DAC at the price point, and has been mentioned, it can be upgraded as Schiit releases improvements.
The McCormack is ( to my ears) deep and open. My issue is the future. I have tried to keep the PC out of my HIFI but reception became a problem for me and I ended up replacing my Magnum Dynalab tuner with a internet tuner, which I love.
I am listening to a "station" from the Arctic Circle as I write this (77 degrees latitude!)
The McCormack couldn't read the tuners output signal and it has opened up this new can of worms.
I have a good SACD player but that format is going the way of the Dodo so I need something that can handle all the different formats and rates out there with the nice big open sound I have gotten from my DAC-1 for the last (gasp) 25 years!
Oh yes used I'd like to keep the price at around a grand used. Am I asking too much??
Schiit offers a wide range of DAC's at various price points, but the Gungnir and Yggy are second and highest priced models and perform beyond their price point.
My choice is the Ayre Codex, which you can find used near $1K, sometimes below. And, customer service-as with Schiit, is very good.
You might want to check out the Bluesound Node. You don't need the latest model, so buying used is available. I was just looking at the offerings and it has Tune In- which has radio stations around the world.
You can either use the built in DAC in the Bluesound or output to a separate DAC, like the Codex, and get high quality sound along with a wide range of music services.