which DAC to buy ?

If refinement is the first priority, which DAC would be your choice:

Dodson D-263
Kora Hermes (last version)
Audiomeca Enkianthus
Audio Aero Prima
I have heard the first three and I would buy the Hermes. I think it is the most refined and musical DAC I have heard.
Personaly I think either the DCS Delius or Elgar surpass any of those you have listed.
I have an Hermes 24/192 and an Electrocompaniet ECM I use as a DAC. Hard to beat.
I just auditioned the audiomeca in my home last week and bought it. I has a top Dodson. I hear less harsh edges, a more quiet background. I also added a CD transformer. It made soundstage bigger and made instruments seem more destinct with both dacs. I really suggest you listen to one if you've got some extra cash.
I just purchased a Kora...it is fantastic.The one you did not mention which is also great is the bel canto!
Add the audiologic 2400 to your short list...with the right NOS tubes it can compete with the best.
I assume you are talking about the EMC-1, as I am unaware of a DAC made by Electrocompaniet. I owned the 24/96 version of the EMC-1, the Audiomeca Enkianthus, auditioned the Dodson (latest version), and currently own a modified 24/192 Hermes. I agree with Eadese as far as the Dodson V Enkianthus. The Dodson is very digital sounding and harsh. I also bought the Audiomeca after comparing the two. The EMC-1 is very good, but the 24/96 version isn't in the same league as the 24/192 DACS you mention. Compared to them, the 24/96 EMC-1 is dark sounding and lacking in detail. I haven't heard the latest version, but I'm sure it's also very good. I don't think the Audio Aero Prima is in the same class as the other products you're considering. The Audio Aero Capitole would be. It uses the same Anagram Technologies re-sampler that is used in the Enkianthus.

My choice is obviously the Kora, since that is what I now own. The latest version already has some of the modifications that I made to mine (caps, wire). There is so much room inside this thing that the upgrade potential is huge (see my thread on hotrodding the Hermes). Without modification, the Hermes has a much more lively tonal balance and immediacy than the Enkianthus, and still produces the wonderful soundstage and inner detail that makes the Enkianthus a great DAC. The unmodified Kora also has much better bass than the Enkianthus. I'm sure that the power supplies used in these two DACS have something to do with it. The Audimeca's is very small compared to the two toroidal transformers used in the Kora. After the mods to the Kora, it's not even close.

As far as the Delius, a friend of mine sold his after hearing my Enkianthus, and then bought an Enkianthus. That same friend recently sold his Enkianthus and bought the Hermes, and has now modified it as I did.
As one can see everyone has a favorite.The Kora does not upsample and therefore is not the latest technology.I perfer the sound of the upsampling dacs.I've owned the dodson 217 latest, the kora, and the Audiomeca and find the upsamplers to provide improved focus ,resolution and dynamics.Keep in mind some systems may not allow for the differences to be as notable as the extremes may be inherently missing.Total noise in a system may also cause a lack of inner detail which is the hallmark of higher resolution.
I meant to say that I use the ECM as a transport for the Hermes.
Be certain to listen and make your own decision it is not likely a 16bit dac ,the Kora, can compete with a true upsampling dac with floating point 32/192 resolution.We would invite anyone to bring one to our offices and do a blind test on our reference system with the audiomeca.
Piega c-40
Audio tekne preamp
Tenor amps
Audio tekne line and cd treatment, copulare stands
mephisto transport
8 30 amp breakers
Piega speaker cable
As a matter of fact we invite someone at our expense,plane ticket, room, and 3 meals to bring the latest Kora with them and do a blind test.Customers only no dealers.Will you accept this challange?Call 15407211076
I would like to add that you may bring your owm music and we would also offer some of our discs we know to show the sonic traits we find important.
Whomever accepts this invatation may also help design the evaluation process.Our dac would be completly factory production and whatever modifications you want to do to your dac are acceptable.Let's listen to some tunes.
The Kora Hermes must be giving the Audiomeca product a run for it's money or I doubt you would have seen such a challenge from a product that costs over twice as much. look at the preferences from above threads. Part of the story is in the power supply. The Kora uses two Toroidal transformers. Look inside the Audiomeca.
Well, I tried the Kora in my system and I have to say that my Audiomeca Keops sounded better by itself. I believe that the DAC in the Keops is identical with the Ambrosia DAC which is a step below Enkianthus. I haven't heard the Enkianthus, but if is as good as the DAC in my Keops player, then I'd say go for it!
Was that the 24/192 Hermes or the older 18 bit? We have had many customers compare to the Enkinanthus and prefer the Kora. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
I know what ever I say it will be deemed as colabration with
Iasi but as far as I know we have never talked.Sounds like the Kora is not all it's cracked up to be by the importer and a few users if it can't out perform a under 2000.00 cd player.
The Keops just dropped in price. Was sold for $2800 just a couple of months ago. When you sold the 18 bit (older) Kora it sold for more than $1000 over the current price. Mr. Iasi has still not responded to whether or not it was an older Kora or one of the newer models. I would say that is pretty significant as many of the owners of the older series have upgraded and bought the newr ones. All having said that it was a huge improvement. The newest with Auricaps etc. even a bigger improvement. As I originally stated must be tough to have to issue a challenge to a unit which costs more than half the price of the Audiomeca. Customer could buy a nice transport, Power cable and digital cable for the difference.
i believe it was the older version, but i'm not too sure...and everybody is right...people have different tastes regarding audio...for some people Kora might be the way to go, for me? i'll stick with my Keops...