Typically what you get with more expensive DAC's in my experience is more details, better soundstage and texture, more natural vocals and timbre, less of a "flat presentation".
But there are still some really cheap DAC's around $200-300 that can have a great sense of pace, rhythm and involvement and they can definitively be fun to listen to.
I think the key factor when choosing an inexpensive DAC is to err or the forgiving and warm side. A $200 screecher makes no one happy.
Definitely. Personally myself I always buy used given the appropriate pricing to the condition its worth and never new unless its something exquisite and expensive and don't want it to break down without reliable warranty such as my 009's on order or my $8.5k ATC speakers coming in from overseas, given the hifi Dom is always at changing pace and new stuff coming out everyday, being early adopters of new gear sucks for 1 major reason and that is gear depreciation. Buy used for few hundred or thousand less and you'd have no problem making that money back when you off load it to its new owner.
I also second the rave and craze since the dawn of ESS Sabre IC based dac and even before, the industry has moved onto MOAR detail is better forgetting about music itself. I mean who here has gone to a concert or live performance and paid insane detail to the ambient surroundings from the performers such as breathing and whispering rather than enjoying the music performance itself from the live play?
Edited by DefQon - 3/16/14 at 6:23am