Your experience with an inexpensive DAC?

I have a main system and a bedroom system for late night headphone listening.  I have not upgraded my digital end of the system, but do not want to spend/do too much at this point.  So my question, what have my friends here at AudiogoN had  success with in a DAC?

I have an Oppo and two of the better high-end, but older Pioneer Elite players.  So I am thinking that a good sounding DAC may be of use to me.  

I do have a prejudice I may have to set aside, as in me liking components with tubes or transistors but not op-amps/I.C. chips.  Perhaps I am a dinosaur?

For what it's worth (great song) I listen mainly to classic Jazz and lean towards acoustic instruments rather than electric and I listen to many female vocals, Ella, Dinah Washington, Diana Krall, Carmen, and even though he had a bit of a messy life and a limited vocal and instrument range, I do listen to much of early Chet Baker and Paul Desmond, Miles, Earl Garner, 

Thanks for your thoughts/experience, Jim



A relatively unknown Dac in the US.

But reasonably well thought of in the UK.

I have two of them, both modded with super caps and updated clocks.

Beresford Seg.

(Not well thought of by Audio Science Review, but I pay little mind to that in my purchases.)

Thanks Jerry, I will look into it....since I cannot afford to have Ms. Krall in my home and Elvis might not approve.  Jim

I also have an Oppo 105D and two Pioneer Elite BDP-09 Blu-ray players. My suggestion is not as esoteric as Jerry’s. I caught your request for an "inexpensive" DAC and I recommend a Benchmark DAC1. It’s an early model, and I have seen them as low as $300 (MSRP was $995). I bought one years ago and still use it with an older Denon 3520. I doubt it will beat a Berkeley Alpha DAC but it will make any of your current players sound noticeably more transparent, especially with headphones.

What is your budget? Based on your music preferences you should consider R2R dacs. A Denafrips Ares dac is a great musical choice. You can also consider buying used to get even better quality at a lower price.