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To Jeff Fritz,

After basking in Gryphon’s pleasures -- I recently upgraded to Mephisto Solo amplifiers -- I have come to believe my system needs an upgrade in another area to bring out the best from these amps. So next in line is the DAC. Presently I have the Burmester 113, a small DAC.

Since I trust your views, what would be the most detailed DAC that you have auditioned with extreme transparency, extreme detail retrieval, and with extended frequency extremes?

Warm regards and happy holidays,
United States

You have plenty of options, of course. The natural choices for a system with the pedigree of yours are the top models from companies like MSB and dCS. These will cost you in the neighborhood of a hundred grand. Lots of folks would choose one of these, just to make sure the DAC matched the other components in terms of price.

Personally, even if I could afford to spend that kind of money on a single component, I would not sink six figures into a digital device. The state of digital moves too fast. So I’ve got a couple of other options that might give you the performance you are looking for, for much less money.

The first candidate would, of course, be the Gryphon Kalliope, which costs €19,800. Sonically, it would match the amplifiers that you’ve purchased and would of course be a perfect cosmetic match to your system. This Sabre-based DAC looks quire appealing, particularly for a Gryphon-based system.

For much less money, though, you can get a DAC that you can read about on December 15 on SoundStage! Hi-Fi. The Hegel HD30 retails for only $4800, but is without question an assault on the state of the art. Read Doug Schneider’s description of the sound in a few days, and examine the noise specs of this unit, and see if it doesn’t offer just what you're looking for.

Lastly, I’d personally take a look at the Merging Technologies NADAC ($10,500). I’ve heard nothing but great things about this Swiss Ethernet-capable DAC. I expect one in for review anytime now. I hope one of these suggestions will work for you. Please do let me know what you choose. . . . Jeff Fritz