The raves are justified
A few months ago, I bought an inexpensive USB DAC for my new Windows 10 desktop, and was impressed at the improvement in sound over the onboard sound card. I was sufficiently inspired to try a further upgrade, to this Massdrop Grace SDAC, especially after reading its stellar reviews. My entire experience has been exemplary. The transaction went perfectly smoothly and the item was delivered weeks ahead of schedule, superbly packed. It was truly plug-and-play. The sound...oh my, the sound! No longer is the DAC a weak link in my computer audio system, which I use for serious listening and critical assessment of online and recorded classical performances and artists. Especially on headphones, but also on my active speakers, I could hear dramatic differences between MP3 320 vs CD-quality tracks and, more impressively, could discern the improvement of 24-bit FLAC files over 16-bit FLAC, even before the SDAC had any burn-in time. I immediately began seeking out sources to download more 24-bit FLAC files to enjoy, and spent many hours enjoying the new setup. I actually think this SDAC is superior to the DAC in my much more expensive main system, and have begun to rip my CDs to the computer just to hear them through the SDAC. The sound is completely natural, relaxed, open, resolving and detailed without being hyped or etched, and without any tizziness, grain, bloat, or other objectionable defects. Despite the high resolution, it is not unkind to marginal-quality source material. I am a classical musician with a highly trained ear, as well as a long-time audiophile, and my sonic "ideal" is exactly what I'm hearing through this SDAC. The raves were right; very highly recommended, and a super bargain.
Would recommend to a friend.