Originally Posted by Killercrush
I'm sorry but it's not true, all their DACs are 1xOversampling. Their entry level DAC is around $800 non-assembled, wich means like 1 or 1.1 K.
Actually, 1x Oversampling is just a fluffy feel-good 'in house' name for non-oversampling. Have spoken to Brian of AN on many occasions. And there are several AN DACs which come in well under 2k USD. They charge about 200USD for construction of most of their kits.
I've had a Level B DAC2.1 and it was promptly returned due to terrible background hiss despite hours and hours of debugging and testing on mine, Brian's and an experienced electronics engineer's part. None of the other components in my system makes the sound and I've had many other DACs which didn't have it. Removed the DAC, and quoila, silence. Upon having shipped the parts back to Brian, they weren't able to determine any obvious cause. Before shipping it back to them though, I took it to an electronics engineer friend of mine whose been in the military signals and home radio crowd for decades: he said the design of the thing was very poor. Transformers positioned and oriented badly, common grounds not actually working they way they should, power lines being shared when they shouldn't, the transformers output being all over the place. On the AUDIO side of things, I wouldn't touch them again with a ten foot pole. Great service and very patient with customers, though I could have done without getting up at 4am many mornings in a row to debug with him over the phone (it was a kit).
I've got a Tube Research Labs modded DAC-AH all but done, it should arrive shortly. Paul, one of (if not THE) main man at TRL says the DAC-AH with all their current mods is one of, if not the, best DACs current obtainable. He's heard and modded EMM labs stuff, Theta, many many other expensive units. The cost of the DAC is ~175USD and all their mods cost about 1000USD, so that's getting close to your 'minimum' cost :P I don't know what frequencies you need support for, but I know it does 44.1khz and that's all I need.
I'm also waiting on a DAC from Storm Audio within the next month, to replace a faulty unit. I was trying desperately to recreate it's sound when I bought the AN DAC as I thought the NOS part was the key. The reason I threw 1000USD at the 'lowly' DAC-AH was for the same reason - to try to recreate the sound of the D02. Anyone whose heard it will know what I mean. According to a few friends of mine, the 47 Labs Progression DAC is beaten pretty easily by a number of other NOS DACs. One thing I do know, if you want a kicka5s NOS DAC, there are a lot less choices on the market than if you're after a US/OS one. Which astounds me after hearing the difference, I thought it would be the other way.