Audio Note DAC1.1 is just what you need.
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I know you said tubes, and I am in the market at this exact price point with an all tube system also. But take a look at the 47Labs site at their cheaper DAC and read the article on oversampling also. The Audio Research cd player info will confirm the same thought that analog sound can be had with, or without tubes. The more critical area is in the conversion technique itself.
Check out the Jolida JD-100 too. Great build quality and
sound at the price point ($900 list). You may be able to
audition this as well. I have one, it's breaking in, and
so far it's sounding great! I wasn't able to audition one,
and took a chance. I will be getting a loaner cary 308 soon
to compare against. (check out www.tnt-audio.com for a
Aside from the analog sound, I decided to go with tubes to
customize the sound via tube rolling. The rest of my system
is SS (I don't want to deal with a tube power amp - heat,
cost of retubing, etc.). Also, I find the Jolida has good
air, soundstage, etc., and is pretty neutral. The rest of
my system is rather neutral too, and I'm looking to add some
warmth. I'm hoping to do this through NOS tubes in the