To the above poster, you my friend have no idea (In my honest opinion). You want to hear whats NICE or what is REAL? By the sound of your post you would rather listen to any random artist with auto tune than a real artist stamping their voice on a recording. Nice and honesty are two different things, and a DAC should be honest not nice. You can EQ to make things suit your needs, but a DAC should translate data to analogue sound not add to it or alter it from my point of view. Every part of the analogue chain can add to the sound in a positive or negative way, but prior to and including the the conversion is should be 100% neutral from an idealist point of view or your $10k amp, $2k headphones or $15k speakers are just a waste of money. You translate digital to analogue as neutral as you can then use other gear to highlight your preferred presentation.
With regards to the comments on RME devices, DonaldRumsfeld is entirely correct in his position, neutral in AD and DA and custom created drivers. Highly respected in the industry and makes your "audiophile" gear look like artificial flavorings in orange juice, pointless.
While this post could be considered confrontational, people really need to do some reading on the web and think for themselves. If you doubt the web do some testing, either at home or in a demo situation. Don't listen to the staff listen to the sound, while a MDAC or Xonar STX may sound good can it replicate a live instrument accurately, then question do you like reality or fiction :D I like to take this back to the situation of listening to an artist live, at a gig compared to live in a studio. A studio will sound better as it has better acoustic treatment, but a live performance in front of a crowd has character and emotion related to that unique performance, you cant measure which is best as they are unique and personal preference is part of that. People should not worry about what others think, of their taste, their equipment or their opinions but should aim to satisfy themselves in a completely selfish manner. I am not asking anyone to come and listen on my setup, and if i did and they dont like it then fine, I spent my hard earned cash to achieve what I enjoy.
Forums are great for advice, opinion and information but sites like this should NEVER encourage anyone to internet shop or buy blind based entirely on recommendation. Support your local retailers, in fact pay a premium to keep them alive, as listening in person is the ONLY way to satisfy what you want and need. Amazon may be $20-50 cheaper but do they let you listen without buying, do they offer you tech support locally with specialist knowledge? Build a relationship with you local supplier, they need you as much as you need them. Just through being honest I may have spent $50-100 more in the last 3 years by shopping locally but the advice and help I have got back has been worth EVERY penny. I even got a loan set of monitors from my supplier when one of my amps blew, they then sold them to me as seconds at 75% retail on what was a brand new set of speakers.
Yes amazon is great, but do they care?
The number of audio equipment specialists are falling all the time, whether home audio or pro recording. A bargain in the short term is not always good for the consumer long term. Small companies like schit audio or hi-fi man need our support as they challenge the big suppliers like Sennheiser Beyerdynamic Naim or Denon.
Back to the previous poster, RME are not "overhyped" as you put it, they are industry standard. This is wikipedia's definition of an audiophile, this is exactly what RME tries to achieve "A key goal of audiophiles is to capture the experience of a live musical performance in a room with good acoustics, and reproduce it at home. It is widely agreed that this is very difficult and that even the best-regarded recording and playback systems rarely, if ever, achieve it."