Originally Posted by 7ryder
The Benchmark DAC2 HGC sounds pretty good with my new to me GS-X mk2 (thanks Greed!); great form factor for a desktop system too. $2K for this version of the DAC2 and a 30 day return policy for a no risk home trial. If you don't need analog inputs, the DAC2 D is about $200 cheaper.
I agree that the PWD MK II is nice if used only as a DAC and you can always find them used on Audiogon or plenty of B stock on their website; PS Audio has a 30 day return policy too. Just don't buy it with the Bridge expecting to stream gapless via ethernet -- the Bridge doesn't do gapless, never has and never will, at least via hardware alone. I got fed up with this years ago and sold my PWD, so I've stopped following the subject, but I think you can now use their proprietary eLyric software to get gapless via the Bridge if you want to go that route, check out the PS Audio forums for more info.
The Benchmark is nice because of all the features you get but I can't speak on the sonics as I haven't heard the DAC2 only the DAC1. The PWD MK II is the the best I've heard in that price range. Also, you are welcome!
Originally Posted by fishbone
It can be found at 1800usd as far as I can see, which is around 2000.
The HD25 is around 2500.
They readily go used for 1200-1500. That is about the most I would pay. Anymore, I would increase my budget and go for something in the 2-3K range.
To follow up: In the higher end of your price range I would look at:
Phasure, Invicta, Used Cantata or a Weiss - The AMR of course is a great DAC if you can find it for a good price and should be considered. All of these should be demoed of course if possible.
Edited by Greed - 12/21/13 at 9:00am