DEQ as a DAC. Had not thought about that. Although I would not call either of my Behringer crossovers high end, they do a great job for the pittance we pay for them. Audio gd. Another one to look at. Thanks.
While I briefly had a Cambridge 640, it was clearly smoother and more musical than any of my CD or DVD players. Not even close. Difference between a $250 DVD and a "decent" DAC, should be significant, but I totally agree there is a point of diminishing returns. Say the Cambridge at under $500. What else can be done better for 10 times as much. (or more). I totally agree, speakers are by far the most important, followed by room treatments. But in my investigation of why amps sound different, I noticed even between all my players, slight edginess in certain CD's. Usually, the newer the deck, the better it sounds which would suggest the chips are getting better. If the DAC is where it is at, then no reason th change my older perfectly good working decks. I like my old CD players that power up and open the tray NOW. DVD and even worse BD players take forever. Darn JAVA. I sold my Panasonic A110 DVD player even though it sounded better than the Denon Alpha it replaced just because I hated the wait.
I would have to say I don't understand the need for tubes in a DAC. Tubes are best used as voltage gain stages; phono preamp, Mic preamp, or gain stage in a power amp. If I read my specs correctly, a DAC chip has the voltage gain internal and only requires buffering which is current gain, on the output.
I disagree a tube circuit necessary distorts the sound. Many do as do many solid state ones. Bad design is bad design.
What do I want? Perfection for nothing, just like everyone else.
Two systems right now. My office is an old NAD receiver and CD driving some Kef Q1's, soon to be replaced by my own Usher/HDS speakers I am working on. I occasional use my good old Yamahamer headphones. They are very sensitive to mid-range coloration. Someday I really should pick up some Grado's. My living-room is for a bit more "realistic level" serious listening. My own subs with modified Studio 20 mains for now. All Rotel amps. Old Denon CD player and a Pioneer BD. I let my Rotel 1055 be the dac for the CD. It is better than the internal. I listen to everything except C&W or Hip-Hop.