What DAC should I buy?

I am in the process of turning my home theater into a dedicated 2 channel system. I am selling my Lexicon DC1 and negotiating on a Sonic Frontiers Line 1 preamp. I want an external DA converter I can use with my Monarchy Jitter box, and would like the DA converter to decode HDCD signals. I want to spend less than $1K (Used). Please recommend some DACs.

The MSB Nelson (and above)DAC's accept the balanced input that your Monarchy DIP provides. Stereophile loves this combo. The MSB DACs actually use a SEPERATE lower quality DAC for HDCD, and HDCD cannot be used with upsampling. I prefer upsampling to 24/132 to HDCD. If you want comparable quality in your HDCD, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Birdland models - the Lite - the Odeon, etc.....
Theta DSPro Basic IIIa with HDCD option installed is generally available used in your price range. I have the regular version of same w/o HDCD (paid $700 used) and run it with the Monarchy DIP 24/96 to good effect, but I have not tried the newer "upsampling" converters such as the MSB in my system (nor, of course, do I own any HDCD's). The Theta is a well-known, well-made, and highly-rated current-production model from a leading digital manufacturer that lists for around $2,800 new, but that seems to have fallen from favor price-wise on the used market because it lacks the latest buzzwords and has been around for a while, making it something of a deal. I have wondered how my unit would stack up against some of the newer models available for around $1,000 used (MSB, Bel Canto, Musical Fidelity, Perpetual Tech, etc.) but haven't been at all displeased with the sound I'm getting (with a Theta Pearl transport), so I've lacked motivation to check this question out for myself. Good luck with the search.
I second the Theta Pro Basic IIIa. Thats what i use!
I am curious about Music Fidelity's new DAC also. Seems to have everything I want and then some, but its too new to get any end user feedback...if some one owns one, please let us know what ya think.
I'm floored, pleased , elated, happy...
I've a MSB Gold Link III being feed by a AH! Noej Toebs 4000.
I just added a Perpetual Technologies P*1A Digital Correction Engine. The purchase of the Correction Engine is by far and away the best money I've ever spent to improve the sound of my digital system.
I'd love to wax all kinds of poetic mumble jumbo and expound on the units virtues but it really is something you'll need to personally hear to believe.
With the addition of the P*1A this might be as undigital sounding solid state setup as I've heard.
(No preamp just a Channel Island volume control. SS amp)
disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form affliated with the company or anyone who even sells them.
Just some guy with a stereo in his living room.
The best DAC in the price/performance parameter that I have heard is the Bel Canto DAC2. It is really amazing sonically. It is also quite inexpensive and comes in a very small package.

I personally use the Audio Aero Capitole 24/192 MkI and love it. If I bought a second system, I would probably use the Bel Canto DAC2.

Hope this helps
This thread got way under my skin, I guess, because I just broke down and purchased (here on the 'Gon, natch) an MSB Gold Link III DAC w/P1000 Power Base, which is the dual-chip per channel, top-line model of the Link with standard 24/96 upsampling installed. Heaven help me, I've gotta know whether or not this "upsampling" business is gonna make a difference in my system vs. my above-mentioned Theta DSPro Basic IIIa DAC reference. I'm afraid I might be getting a little ridiculous here, since my collection is still over 90% analog vinyl, but I want a DAC that will stay abreast of technology through an upgrade path if at all possible, so when this new unit gets here, if it even sounds merely indistinguishable from my reference, I may end up swapping and selling anyway. I'll post again when I've determined anything (other than my neuroses, that is). Pray for me...
Zaikesman, my beloved Theta IIIa was sadly bettered by a Bel Canto DAC2, and I didn't want to face it, either. Everything is system dependent, of course, but the Bel Canto was cleaner, clearer, more detailed and more musical. I'll be curious what you think when you get the MSB Gold.

I'd put in my recommendation for the Bel Canto DAC2, but at $1,300, it is above the price point. I've only seen one used one at $950, and that's it.
Good luck Zaik...

Let me know your results, as I will not be able to buy anything for a couple moths...who knows, I may buy your MSB:)
Alright, already...the post goes up today, if they approve it! Look for the title Upsampling Put To The Test...and bring a comfortable chair, it's a long one... :-)