What DAC to buy?

Under $1000.

I’ve been out of the DAC buying mode for 5 years. My Project Pre Box S2 sounded good enough. It seems to be dying...something in the output stage is scratchy and distorted sounding. Time to move on. I can buy something of equal or better sound quality, but I don’t have an audiophile system, so I doubt I’d get the full value out of a high end DAC.

Make a suggestion...lets keep it under $1000.

Here’s some specifics. I don’t need a combination DAC + Preamp. My Adcom GFP 750 pre got a refresh with Nicholson capacitors a couple years ago, its fine for me, even if its old school. I stream in CD quality...I gave Tidal a try, MQA sounded good to me, but plenty of CD recordings in the last 30 years are also pretty good, so, I don’t need to do MQA moving forward. So I stream via Amazon music for the most part, occasionally movies, and occasionally use my old CDs. That’s it. I don’t need upsampling, I don’t need any features really, no headphone option needed..just accurate sound, a USB port and a digital audio port. Maybe a Schitt Modi Plus?

I also have an Adcom 565 GMA amp that I refreshed with new capacitors and Tyler Acoustic speakers. Let me know your thoughts. I stream through a PC, not MAC. Don't even need bluetooth functionality in the DAC.  Many thanks.


++++1 I would buy the Denafrips Ares 12th anniversary over the Denafrips Ares II/Enyo, a few reasons:

(1) The Ares 12th has a full milled aluminum chassis versus a steel chassis for the Ares II/Enyo

(2) OCC copper power plug in the Ares 12th, vs standard copper in the Ares II/Enyo, also the fuse has been moved inward in case you want to upgrade it....versus in the power socket

(3) The Ares 12th has I2S input, which the Ares II/Enyo does not

The Schiit Bifrost 2/64 (which my Bifrost 2 was upgraded to) is a really great sounding and well designed upgradeable DAC. I like Schiit Audio and have a Freya, a couple of headphone amps and a couple of Loki EQs. All are superbly designed and sound great, are USA made, and generally less expensive than the competition although for some items there really is no competition.

I second the recomendation of Black Ice Audio Tube FX Glass DAC from Kota1.  I bought one about two months ago and am happy with it.  

Geshelli Labs J2

Their customer service is second to none. I have experience with Ayre, Conrad Johnson, VAC, Audio Research, and more. For $260 you get an excellent DAC. If you want USB connection, it's $300. Go to this review, https://youtu.be/USbDI8OQP7s

Pair it with the WiiM mini or WiiM pro ($80, $150 respectively). See cheapaudioman YouTube review of them. Out performs the Mode.

I can't say you'll hear a difference from your setup, but this is as good as it gets within your budget. The Denafrips Ares II is a better DAC but it costs 3x more. That said, I'm not sure your overall system warrants the extra cost. Best of luck to you.