Long time reader, first time poster here, needing a bitch of advice.
I am looking for a DAC recommendation, I've done tons of reading and research and can likely afford to audition two of these with the manufacturer's generous policies. A good DAC is important to me, and allowing some room for it to grow with the system is nice, though I dont see my system taking a quantum leap any time in the 5 year plan. I undersatnd the hype/snake oil and "science" angles and really I'm looking for a sound investment that is generously featured and will keep me happy and content.
-Optical IN -
Bonus: Gain/Volume Control
Brief system breakdown:
Airplay to Airport Express or AppleTV optical out into DAC -
- From here I would run it into one of two amps: A Sansui AU5900 that is sounding great, or an AU317 - which was just recapped and reconditioned, also sounds great with some room for improvement once it's done burning in. This feeds to a pair of Cambridge SX-50's - nothing too crazy.
Generally, I like the sound the Amps give me with my table, and I often use the Loudness curve since quiet ambient listening is what I use during the work day. When turned up I either prefer a flat curve, or a touch of EQ sometimes adding/removing bass or adding/removing treble.
On to the suspects:
In the sub-$200 region:
In the sub-$300 ranks:
In the sub $400 rank:
Cambridge DACMagic Plus - Available for about $420
Schiit Bifrost - $349 with Uber costing $419, but still in the same ballpark
NAD D 1050 - Can swing one for about $405
I understand that this last category is a bit more volatile, since the pricing is more attractive that their retail and makes them. They also may stand to be a considerable jump. Then again, the Emotiva retailed at $400 when it launched.
Anwyays, your advice will be greatly appreciated, as it's been tough really nailing this down. I am thinking of test driving a couple of them, and retunring the other. Would rather NOT spend the $400, but if its worth it for a long time, then I might as well. But if say the D1 is enough, then let's be honest.
Thanks in advance,