I am getting a new DAC soon.  I have to go on memory and my notes as I haven't heard any of the top DAC's that are on my list in ages or it's been their mk 1 not the mk 2 if you would.  I have spoken to a few dealers I'm close with as well as friends and a reviewer I'm close with.  The reviewer knows digital really well and we both know where our hearing differs from each other so I trust him.

My list (some used and some new with discounts):

Brinkmann Nyquist
Meitner MA3 (dealer sells Brinkmann and used to sell MSB and swears the new MA3 is better)
DCS Bartok (dealer carries Brinkmann and never brought it up in our initial conversation as he said Bartok for how it sounds and that they do the upgrades over the life of the product which I love)
MSB Discrete with built in 2nd power supply and the ProUSB dongle that does fiber optic isolation.

I have only heard the MSB Select and I loved it.  That was a few years ago.  I haven't heard the Discrete, but dealer swears that configured this way it's nearly what the Premier is at a much lower price point.

I know that Nyquist is loved by many of my 'analog' friends.  I have always loved Brinkmann tables and when I first heard the Nyquist original edition I was blown away and I heard it just weeks after I heard my buddy's DaVinci mk 2 as well as the top Lampinator.

I can audition the MA3 locally and if I like it best, I'll buy from that dealer (I try to never waste folks time)

I can probably find a DCS dealer near me (2 hour drive) if I want to go that route and I may.  

Just curious where this thread will go...  Begin:  ......  
I have never heard the Nyquist or Brinkmans and cannot comment.

The dCS and MSB I am quite familiar with and they are opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of sound.  I suspect your system will sound very different with either of those.  

What do you currently have?  What is in the balance of your system and what do you like or dislike about the current setup? What streaming service and what server are you using?  
Without that context it is impossible to offer a good suggestion.  
Two, thanks for sharing.  I'll check it out.  

Verd, The Brinkmann Nyquist is on the 'warm' side of things and still very detailed. They have dealt wiht the pre an post ringing that ruins digital for me with most units.  

I own Vandersteen Quatro CT's, Vandersteen M5-HPA mono's, Audioquest Niagara 3000 with Dragon power cord and Hurricane cords for everything else, including the speakers.  I have AQ Fire interconnects and will have their WEL balanced interconnects for the DAC.  My server is a bespoke The memory Player by Laufer Technique which is on the same level at the Taiko server that costs over 30k (my buddy owns a Memory Player like I do and just reviewed the Taiko for TAS).  I have a DAC that they built into is, b ut will be taking it out when I get my new one.

I hate to say I like warm or open or whatever.  I like music to sound like music.  I don't like the music to be in my face.  I need a large sound stage when its' recorded that way.  I want accuracy.  I do get fatigued listening to digital when it's not top notch.  I want something that will give me bass when it's there and pristine highs.  I played drums before the MS and know what a high hat sounds like or how a ride cymbal sounds.  I listen to music that has piano and want to hear the bite and strike of the strings.  I had Ayre and appreciated the speed and timing and micro and macro detail.  I guess I want it all.  

DCS to me has always been a spec 'cold' to my ears.  I thought the MSB that I heard (way out of the price range I'm looking at) was highly musical and still highly detailed with everything.  I just wish I could hear the Brinkmann and MSB units as I think in order it's:

MSB Discrete
DCS Bartok

I am open minded though.
Check out this: Khadas 2 Tone Pro Dac and headphone amp. $270.46 +$32.91 shipping from France by eBay seller "audiophonics_diy". Measures and sounds as good as any four-figure DAC! I have the first model - the KTB.
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Aesthetix, but i am biased, Nyquist II, Lampizator..then MSB

i guess I own two outa four Pete…

i do need to hear Bartok in one of my systems…..

Enjoy the journey


That is super helpful.  I will abstain from commenting on the brands I am unfamiliar with.  

MSB would be a very good choice.  It is a very natural sound and the discrete may not be the be all, end all in terms of detail, it is very, very good. 

Bricasti would be an A+ Choice.  I have spend time with the M3 and M1 SE.  I am getting an M21 next when I clear a little inventory.  If the jump from M1 SE to M21 is in-line with M3 to M1 SE, it belongs in your considered set at $16K.

One I have spent a lot of time with is the Rockna Wavedream Signature. It lists for $17K with XLRs.  It is incredibly detailed and the sound is difficult to describe because it doesn't stand out in any way.  I was expecting one to come in on trade but their is a risk that may not happen. I do not have a demo right now.

Finally, I would look at the Playback Designs Dream DAC.  Like dCS, this DAC upscales everything but unlike dCS, it is very natural sounding and is not bright.  This is definitely starting to drift up in price and lists for $22K though.  

As long as you don't need an analog preamp stage all of these are very good options.  
You should see if you can demo a Mojo Audio Evo dac.  Based on your comments it seems like a wonderful match for your preferences. Ben can build it out with every upgrade you want. Natural sounding with an “at ease” realism that is rare in digital. It  also has a meatiness or muscularity to it’s sound that helps set the stage for great listening sessions.  
Thanks all.  I have to purchase demo or used as I can't afford new for what I want.  The two that I'd LOVE to hear are the Playback Designs Dream based on a Vandy dealer I know who sells it along with Brinkmann and one other (forget which brand).  He's a total analog guy like Richard Vandersteen is, so I trust his judgement as we were very open about all the brands we have heard and not enjoyed, lol...;). 

I can't afford one though.  I am HIGHLY intrigued by the Rockna Wavedream Balanced.  I have spoken to a close friend who reviewed one and he said that it's an amazing DAC.  He told me to get the Brinkmann (I found two that are up to date and affordable) and enjoy it and then wait for a used PD or Rockna (assuming I can hear each).  He said you can't go wrong with the PD or Rockna (ironic both are called Dream).  
Granny, the mojo is a great sounding dac according to a buddy who did a review of it for TAS or Enjoy the Music. He mentioned it to me in the early part of my search. No discount as it’s direct and nothing used right now, plus there is no volume control. I need that as I wait for a new preamp to hit the market that I will be getting in the next few months. 
I have the Brinkmann Nyquist II streaming to a Decware 345 and cannot even describe the sound.  The Nyquist is detailed yet very warm-it matches so well with the tube amp.  If you are in around Orange County Cal, hit me up if you want to listen to it.
Thanks so much. I just got the Brinkmann.  Haven’t had a chance to set it up. I thought it had a volume control so I wouldn’t need a pre, but it doesn’t. I need to learn what he volume knob does in stereo mode not just headphone where it is a full pre amp.