Need good to - great Dac for cheap......

Hi all , Thank you for responses so far, I just started looking to upgrade my Bufflalo II dac , and I am looking for as close to state of the art as I can get - I'm in the poor house with medical bills lately -- ( i know I'm asking for the moon, :) ) , but seems like there isn't much out there anymore that is going for much under - $1,000.00 , there used to be some options that were diy based .... but I am not finding much anymore , so thought someone out there might have some ideas........
----- a couple of things ,

--- I would like to be able to have the option of maybe adding a tube output to try down the road -
--- and I am currently needing to use a dac with S/PDIF, (so might need a converter) --- (I have plans , but not ready for USB input yet)
-
 
Hi Johnny, yes I may be a little biased , but I think she is beautiful too, My whole life I was always a dog person growing up , but she found us ........
We were coming home one year on Dec. 15th from some friends house , it was 2:30 AM , it was about 22 degrees out , I got out of the car and headed for the door and found this 4 or 5 month old young cat wrapped around my legs - it was cold out and she looked hungry - so we open the door and asked her in to give her some food and water - and she never left --- she has found a way into our heart and lives . Now I can't imagine her not being a part of our life .
------ it turned out some "neighbors" across the street and a few of houses down left her and her sister outside to die when they move away, the kittens managed to survive for a couple of months on their own, before she found us. (sometimes i think some people should not be allowed to have children or pets without a license) -----
 
Check out Audio Science Review for the best objective measurements around. There are a couple of DACs that are #2 and #3 on the top of their list that are under $500. The #1 is the Matrix X-Sabre Pro at $2K. All three are using the 9038Pro DAC. I'd trust them before any of the Golden Ears reviewers, considering how poorly some of the most highly touted (and pricey) DACs measure..
 
Hi, -- sorry I forgot some stuff - :) - max budget is ...... well was hoping to keep it between $200- 400 but I may have to spend more ..... definitely under - $1000, for right now - down the road more , but need to try and sell some stuff - And medical bills are a Real problem right now.
- skill level is - i guess med. - experience level with digital is low --- I built a Buffalo Dac II kit - :D - Hoping for the moon -
 
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In response to MrSlim (my old ES9038Q2M dac friend) and in regard to ASR:

Reviewers are not entirely reliable for a number of reasons, IMHO.
On the other hand, measurements are not entirely reliable (for predicting sound quality) for a number of reasons, also IMHO.

The issue with measurements is simply that we don't hear exactly the same way we measure. In other words, there is less than complete correlation between the two.

IMHO, the best audio designers tend to use both measurements and listening tests to design audio equipment.

An example of a piece of audio gear designed primarily by listening was the Pass HPA-1 headphone amp. Audeze LCD-X headphones were using for most of the listening during the design process. An AP was used only at the end to check a few things. Of course, the designer, Jam Somasundram, has one of the best pairs of ears in the business according to Nelson Pass and John Curl. A review of the HPA can be found at: Pass Labs HPA-1 headphone amplifier | Stereophile.com

EDIT: I would not disagree with MrSlim that some very expensive audio products are not the best sounding. However, some are. Chord DAVE with Prescaler is one of the very best sounding dacs at any price (for PCM), about $25,000 for the set.
 
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Hi, -- sorry I forgot some stuff - :) - max budget is ...... well was hoping to keep it between $200- 400 but I may have to spend more ..... definitely under - $1000, for right now - down the road more , but need to try and sell some stuff - And medical bills are a Real problem right now.
- skill level is - i guess med. - experience level with digital is low --- I built a Buffalo Dac II kit - :D - Hoping for the moon -
Find out if level matched blind listening test reveals audible difference between under $100 DAC and over $100 DAC. If not audibly different (many cases have been documented online), why pay more?

measurements are not entirely reliable (for predicting sound quality) for a number of reasons, also IMHO.
Is your humble opinion based on actual cases of such event for DACs? If so, please share the results of it and how it was set up.
 
well was hoping to keep it between $200- 400 but I may have to spend more ..... definitely under - $1000, for right now
Speaking of $1000 DAC, here is a comparison of $1000 DAC with real cheap DAC (came with a DVD player as built-in). No audible difference when levels are matched and listeners not seeing which one is in use. Something for you think about if audible sound quality matters to you and want to be frugal with your money.

As shown in the quote below, Markw4 doesn't like it when I spread the truth about DAC sound probably because of his upcoming boutique DAC business.
For any other members that use the forum's ignore list feature, Evenharmonics might prove a worthy candidate for inclusion.