Well, LS50 Wireless does have a DAC inside it (its not fully class D digital), and the DAC is rather limited to max 192 khz sample rate and no DSD. But the real question is of course: does a KEF LS50 wireless sound better than the Dynaudio X14A with a good DAC?
I listened to the KEF LS50 passive and preferred the Dynaudio X14, but I know the wireless KEF sounds better than the passive one.
Sound preference is warranted. But your DAC comparison of the KEF LS50 Wireless is misplaced. The Dynaudio X14A does not do DSD nor >192 kHz sample rates, per se – because it subjects all inputs to an A/D conversion. Being concerned about DSD or >192 kHz sample rates upstream of the X14A is ill conceived, as the X14A ADC and DSP signal path likely is limited to 96 kHz.
AudioLab M-DAC+ is interesting, great reviews and seems to be fairly small.
About Gustard: if you don’t need the headphone amp (which I won’t), isnt the DAC-X20 Pro a better choice for the same money, or?
I might buy a new headphone, but for convenience I will buy a Bluetooth one so I won’t need the DAC for the headphone.
Btw, if I buy Bluetooth headphones, will I get better sound if I use the Bluetouth output from a DAC like the Matrix Mini-I Pro 2S than from computer? My digital brain thinks not, but I might be wrong here. Or is that Bluetooth on the Matrix for input? Seems wasteful if so.
Read this re: Bluetooth before settling on a device:
Glad (and envious) to read you’ve gone the Dynaudio route.
Teac DACs seem to have the features and reputation you’re looking for. They have great models for well under your budget range. Otherwise I’d be looking at the new Oppo Sonica DAC.
You might consider a DAC with a good headphone amp even though you don’t plan on using one right now. This would eliminate the Sonica DAC from consideration. Yours is a desktop setup and having a headphone plug available might be a future convenience - and could help the resale value when you upgrade down the road.
You are correct, and also most (all) high-end Bluetooth headphones comes with a cable for using it passively, to gain higher SQ and to be able to use it when batteries are down. So a DAC with headphone amp is a plus (I might get the Sennheiser 550 pcx later on, both for home use and when “on the road”).
And the Dynaudio x14a speakers sounds awesome, so quick and nimble it feels like they play everything so effortless. And the high-pass filter on them made connection to a sub easy and also enables them to focus on higher frequencies (they play surprisingly good bass though, i would not bother with a sub unless I already had one).
Teak DACs hasn’t got that good reviews (especially on WhatHiFi), but maybe I shouldn’t listen to much to reviews.
I regularly read Archimago’s blogs so I’m familiar with his opinions on the Teac DACs. (It’s one reason why I thought the OP should consider one.)
I think the Oppo Sonica is just about ready. Seems to me all DACs go through a number of firmware updates the first few years. I really like Oppo gear. It performs well at its price point and I think it holds its value.
Anyone listened to the iFi Audio Micro iDSD BL? It does not have all I want, but I am somewhat attracted to the NOS thingie, letting Roon upsample and then have the DAC play with as few conversions as possible.