Oct 4, 2018606 views

The best DAC under $1000?

I has been using Marantz HD-DAC1 for 3 years. I bought it to pair with my HD700 headphone. the HD-DAC1 was one of the best DAC around $800 with native DSD and analog in support at that time.
Since than, there has been more and more DSD capable DAC in the market, many of them even under $150.
The DAC part of HD-DAC1 seems not as good as other newer DACs such as Chord Mojo which I have been using for my speaker setup. Also, as I added the STAX to my headphone collection, a better DAC with balanced out is something I am intrested to try. I am thinking of getting a better desktop DAC. While I am now having a PS audio Sprout as pre-amp and integreated headphone amp, analog-in-DAC is not one of my consideration anymore. Could anyone help to suggest the best DAC under $1000?
Some criterias I am looking for:
  • Native DSD support (not DoP, DSD 64 is good enough for me)
  • full balanced design and balanced out (optional)
  • Good analog line out
  • For dasktop use, mobility is not a concern

I just got a Denafrips Ares; to try the audio world from the R-2R "viewpoint". I could have spent a lot more, and less as well, but wanted a true, valid and fair experience. Well... as it goes in this damn rabbit hole... it just got deeper and better... too soon for any full report, but hearing things with new depth and enjoying it. DSD > Audivarna > Ares > Cary CAD-300SEI w/PB300 > Focal-MD Elex's. The Ares is up-sampling BTW, you have to move up if you want NOS, but it is not DoP for DSD and fits your budget: https://www.denafrips.com/ares
Had to peek...
R2R always like another "STAX experience" to me but I have never tried. I have joined the Massdrop x Airist Audio R-2R DAC drop too and will replace my Mojo if it is better.
There are always some magic in areas like electrostatic and R2R. They may not be the best but always somthing that cause you want more of them...
I wanted the MD/Airist R-2R,,, but no native DSD, self-made rule for me to have it, so a no-go...