Yet another DAC recommendation request

I'm as pleased with my system as an audio obsessor can be...but thinking about going to the next level with my DAC.

Right now I'm running a modded PS Audio D Link 3 (magnificent piece, I'm pretty convinced that (for my tastes) not much can touch it below $1000 used. However, I think I can get a bit more of what I like about it... if invest a little more.

I'm wondering, for more (say between $1250 and $2500 used) maybe I can take it to the next level? From Tejay's DAC classification thread...I'm into the so called #2 category of DACs:

"... These DACS "flavors" revolve around a "musical/organic" sense, natural timbres,and an easy flowing liquidity..."

Other Factors: My PC/iMAC is the (lossless) source... I have an spdif converter so it can be usb, Opt, or Coax input, I DON'T care about hi-rez (maybe give me some legacy DAC options?)--Only Redbook; I don't want clumsy software drivers or to have to regularly fiddle with the computer to use it; it doesn't need to also be a p/a; I don't need multiple inputs/outputs. Has to have single-ended outputs (my integrated does not have balanced).

I got some other recommendations from Tejay's and other threads...but they all seem to be $3000 and higher. From what I've read, the Levinson DACs seem to possess the characteristics I'm looking for ...but again...those are up there in price and reportedly that equipment is not easily/economically serviceable?

I had an ARC DAC7 and really liked it (though not quite as full bodied as I was a great DAC...). Before I just snag another one of those...What are your recommendations (Based on actual experience please! ; )

Rest of system: Modded MF A5 integrated, Maggie 1.6's I HATE forward sounding systems and I have no desire to be able to isolate the third chair french horn. It would be nice to have a bit of accuracy without the edge!
I'm using the Calyx dac. About as good as it gets, as far as I'm concerned.
Hi M18764ag,

I just helped my brother in law, who also has 1.6's, go through an auditioning process to get a DAC that would give the sonic traits you are looking for on redbook CD. The clear winner was the Lector tube based DAC which he drives with a PC front end. It retails for around $3000.00, if you are interested E-mail because I can put you in touch with a dear friend to setup an audition for you and he will give you a great price if it turns out to be what you are looking for.
Have you considered a Bel Canto Dac3? For the prices that they are currently selling, you could probably even get one and send it in to BC to do the 3.5 upgrade and still be in your price range.

(Yes, I am a BC dealer but do not have any used DAC3's)

A used Van Alstine will come in well under $1k nowadays and that's just a ridiculous bargain. The tube version is the classic choice. Definitely a NOS DAC, no hi-rez options there, so if you do not need that then you're set...
Just upgrade your USB converter. This will make a bigger difference than a new DAC in that price range, and it will be cheaper. The Master Clock is actually more important than the DAC when you get above about $1.5K.

Read the last 3 DAC reviews in TAS by Steven Stone. He came to the same conclusion.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks so far to all of you...couple things I've learned...

1) There's many many DAC choices out there for us and that's a good thing.

2) It's really hard to find dealers for some of this stuff (some of the imported brands website are deplorable...broken links, etc. Found the website of what I was informed was THE US distributor for a certain brand...When I clicked on the not found.

3) So far no callbacks/emails from my inquiries. Although some of these smaller operations have unique products...may not be worth the risk.

Anyway...thank you and keep them coming.
If you decide to get a better converter look into the WaveLink HS 24/192 USB to SPDIF converter. It's a VERY good referance class converter. Infact that's what I have in my dedicated 2CH system. The outboard DAC I use is the Bel Canto e.One DAC3.5VB with Outboard VBS1 Power Supply and the REF VB Cable.
Rampage - did you read the recent review of the BC3.5 in TAS?

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Audioengr, I sure did. I have a subscription with TAS. The DAC3.5VB is just an incredible DAC. With that DAC, converter and music server, togather they out performed the stand alone $10K Esoteric SACD/CD player I owned. Infact at this point I think one would have to spend at least 20K to play on PAR with my current digital setup. I love when a plan comes togather!
The "Off-Ramp USB Converter" is another excellent converter according to reviews.