It is that time of year when the upgradeitis kicks in, and I need your input! Next up: DAC/Amp combo. I have narrowed it down to either the M-DAC or the Essence One. I might consider the Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus or the Benchmark DAC1 as well. Here are my needs:
-One box solution: I know separate components for power supply, amp, dac, etc. can yield better bang for the buck, but the convenience and space-saving of a single box are ideal for me.
-Good DAC, good pre-amp, good headamp. This unit will be fed with USB or SPDIF from my desktop (Foobar in Wasapi). It will be used as a pre-amp for active studio monitors as well as the main amp for my headphones (Denon D5k's). In other words, I want a versatile unit, but I don't want a "weak point." e.g. "This is a DAC first with a headphone amp thrown in." It has to excel at all its functions. I do not plan to add a separate headamp at a later time.
-Less than $1000 budget.
-Transparency and functionality are the goals. Op-amp rolling is neat, but I will not be playing around with this. I am not looking to color the sound at all.
-Something that can drive my Denon's decently is all I need for now, but it's a bonus if the amp can also power something like LCD 2.0's for later cases of upgradeitis.
Please keep the showdown/recommendations to the units I have listed. Thanks head-fi!
Edited by seekadds - 11/12/12 at 10:51am