Best DAC’S $5k to $15k

I have Chord Mscaler and TT2 and it’s very good. I’ve been considering the DAVE. Any recommendations? 


I have tried many DACs over the years at various price points and I always end up coming back to Lampizator. There is just something about Lampi DACs. You can get a Baltic 4 in your budget, which will be hard to beat unless you spend a lot more money, especially if you are willing to do a little tube rolling, which isn't to say you need to spend a fortune to get great sound. I've got some fairly modest tubes in mine and it sounds amazing. I'll be keeping it unless or until I can upgrade to the Horizon.

Good luck!

I agree with previous posts it largely depends on the rest of the system. 
I was very happy with my MSB Discrete. I have changed preamp and it became too bright and fatiguing. I prefer the Merason DAC1 mk1. Thinks may change when my new amp arrives. Lampi on my list. 

I have a Tambaqui and love it (also owned the Merason DA1 Mk1 which is fantastic at a lower price, but not as high performing as the Tambaqui as you’d expect).

I wanted to go to separates from my Diablo 300 integrated, but I didn’t want to add another box and more cables. So I went with the Mola Mola Makua preamp with a Tambaqui DAC module inside, which is 100% the same as a standalone Tambaqui.

For those who like the Tambaqui’s sound, you’ll love the Makua as a preamp’s sound.

For reference my amp is now a Gryphon Essence and the Makua/Tambaqui pairing with it I’m finding to be rather fantastic.

Based on my experience with the Merason DAC 1 mk1, if someone wanted to spend less than the say a Bartok or Tambaqui, I’d highly suggest looking into the Merason DAC 1 mk2. I’ve not heard it and I’m just basing this on my appreciation of the mk1 version. Who knows maybe it can compete with the heavy hitters. The DAC1 certainly has a sense of musicality that is very rare.

I’m very happy with a Denafrips Iris DDC and Pontus II combo sourced from a dedicated fanless mini PC Ethernet hardwired from fiber and separate swtchbox. PC and switchbox each have their own LPS and dedicated power outlets. 

With more $$ you could move up the Denafrips DDC and DAC lineup. 


I ultimately found the Mojo Audio DACs to sound more musical to me than others I have tried in my system, including the Tambaqui.  However, based on what I have read about the Merason DAC 1 mk2, that is one I would like to try if I had the chance.