Is there anything other than a Benchmark DAC?


I own the Benchmark DAC3 and love it.  I am looking for another DAC due to the addition of a  second system. It will either go with a Boulder/Audio Research/(B&W or Vandersteen) system or a McIntosh/Bryston/(B&W or Vandersteen) system. I am looking to try to get something under 3k (maybe 4k) used. I've been looking for a month or so and have seen Bryston (DAC3 wanna be), Primaluna (too much distortion) and a bunch of really old stuff.  I have yet to justify any purchase when a DAC3 is sitting there new around 2k with those untouchable distortion numbers. I would love to try a tube DAC tho another solid state DAC would be fine. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Given my DAC3 bias I would love to hear from  those whose bias differs from mine.

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Why not just wait and save a few $ grand and buy the excellent 

T+A200 dac- preamp look it up Tons of great reviews my brother has one in one of his systems ,it itis on my radar it’s a dac that can compete with anything 

2x it’s cost ,and if you buy a demo get a solid $1k off.

Try a Denafrips or Chord in your price range. Soundstage and smoothness increase over the DAC3. I love the DAC3 too but I see it as a neutral science instrument and not a flavor enhancer. 

Sometimes when I eat, I want MSG and not a test tube.. 😁

You might find your new secondary system DAC will eventually become your primary system DAC after you try many of these mentioned. 

Had the Benchmark DAC3 for 7 years. Ultimately found it analytical and too bright in the lower treble for me. I could not unhear a demo of a MSB Discrete DAC and bought one. Added an Aurender N20 and I look forward to listening to this system every day. Of course I ended up spending way more than I intended but those demos really did the trick. I believe the DAC is the most important component and if I was able to justify the expense I’d even move up to the MSB Premier DAC. 

A tube DAC with distortion as low as a Benchmark? That's going to be quite rare if not impossible.

I've owned a DAC3 B and a DAC3 HGC for about two years now. Extremely good DACs and hard to beat. Paired with an HPA4 / AHB2 / Revel Ultima Studios. Easily the most fatigue free system I've ever listened to with an extremely quiet noise floor.

I recently got some time with an Okto DAC8 Stereo through headphones via a Benchmark HPA4 and was impressed - had a silky quality about it.

If you're going with Vandersteen speakers, I suggest trying something from Ayre. I had an Ayre / Vandersteen system for a number of years and the combination sounded quite good.