When Will the DAC Singularity Be Reached?

A humorous title, but wondering if those more in the know have an opinion on either: i) examples today where inexpensive DACs (say under $2500) are comparable or superior to expensive (say over $10K) DACs or ii) can we anticipate that within a relatively few number of years that inexpensive DACs will basically achieve the sound quality of today's expensive DACs? Thanks. 


The relatively inexpensive sacs have gotten much better, as has streaming and the associated control software in the past five years. Sadly, dacs which render human voice naturally (and piano, violin etc), have jumped from $10k - 20k and up. That will never change. I’m happy enough using digital to find new music and for casual listening. 

I started with the Denafrips Ares II....great DAC.....then tried Schiit BiFrost II ...more detail but not as musical....Then jumped to Audio Mirror Toubadour SE IV....noticibly better than the previous 2. ( ALL ARE R2R DACS...)....Then got the Aavik $20K class D integrated U-150 with their own proprietary DAC chip....WOW. Spending more $ makes a big difference. DAC's are no different than Amps and pre amps and Speakers.....Better sound comes at a premium.

Thank you. SO Many Wanna be engineers here and most of them couldn't draw a simple transistor amplifier if their lives depended on it. Not to mention telling the folks that they should do things that could end up getting them charged wiht Code violations, or getting their houses burnt to the ground due to amateurish blathering.
It doesn't cost 100 time more to build a good DAC. and just because some engineer or company decides they don't have to gouge their customers for fancy wording in same editorial of product review...

I have two CD players (both decode HDCD), one Krell CD250/2 from around 2000 and an Emotiva ERC-3 from around 2015. Also have one SACD player, a Marantz SA KI Ruby from around 2018. I have 3 DACs, a Resolution Audio Quantum from the late 90’s, a PSA PerfectWave Mk II from the mid 2010’s, and a Black Ice Glass FX tube DAC from around 2020. I also have 2 transports, a Jay’s Audio CDT3 Mk III and a PS Audio PW Transport (now retired). All of them are hooked up to my Krell KRC-2 preamp. I’m running a Krell KSA 300S with Thiel CS6 speakers. I can compare these DACs and players very easily.

With my system and my ears all of these players and DACs sound remarkably similar. Sometimes I can hear subtle differences but nothing dramatic. In my experience good quality, well reviewed digital components have a narrow range of sound quality. In other words, they all sound good. I could live long term with any of these pieces but my audio nervosa keeps me buying new stuff. My next purchase is probably going to be an Audio Mirror Tubadour IV SE DAC to see what all the hoopla about NOS ladder DACS is all about. I’m really hoping that it sounds different.

Does anyone on this thread have a link to a documented blind test that shows that listeners can tell DACs apart if they don’t know which one they are listening to? I have never seen such a test and I suspect that I know why.

I recently listened to a $69k DAC is a Boulder system and everything sounded glorious!  But did the DAC sound $67k better than my Pontus ll?