Price: AU$25,500

Website: www.aplhifi.com

Tom said: The DSD-SR’s overall balance seemed on the lighter side of what I’m used to. This in turn meant the reduced mid-bass weight allowed small mid-range details to become more apparent.

Read the SoundStage! Australia review.

The gist: Not-quite-neutral DAC.

Price: AU$18,800

Website: www.aquahifi.com

Peter said: For me, for the time being, and especially when you factor in the xHD’s value for often bleeding-edge performance, I’d call it a “bargain and the best I ever had.”

Read the SoundStage! Australia review.

The gist: Modularity adds value to this DAC.

Price: $5999

Website: us.auralic.com

Jeff said: You can insert an Auralic Vega G2 in your audio system and be confident that you’re hearing everything on your recordings -- as long as the rest of your system is up to the task. It’s not this DAC that will be the limiting factor, I can assure you.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: Amazingly transparent DAC at a great price.

Price: $1199

Website: www.bluesound.com

Gordon said: In short, while new features like support of AirPlay 2, Siri voice control, and two-way Bluetooth add to the Vault 2i’s appeal, what’s most impressive about the product is its unique functionality, and the overall excellence of the BluOS software platform.

Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

The gist: The BluOS software is really the thing here.

Price: AU$7500

Website: www.chordelectronics.co.uk

Edgar said: While it may require a minor readjustment to accept yet another device into the signal chain, there’s no denying the performance payoff more than justifies it.

Read the SoundStage! Australia review.

The gist: Add this to your Chord stack for even more performance.

Price: $5999

Website: www.cocktailaudio.com

Aron said: If you’re in the market for an all-in-one music player with exemplary build quality and an industry-leading résumé of features, Cocktail Audio’s X45Pro deserves to be on your shortlist.

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: A little cool sounding but hard to fault otherwise.

Price: AU$13,995 as reviewed

Website: www.linn.co.uk

Barry said: For music lovers who are over (or never got into) constant tweaking it offers a level of performance that is frighteningly close to far more expensive (and space consuming) equipment, something I find very appealing.

Read the SoundStage! Australia review.

The gist: Linn’s take on a great digital front end.

Price: $4500

Website: www.luminmusic.com

Gordon said: Given the rapid changes occurring in digital audio playback, it’s risky to characterize any digital source as a potential endgame purchase. But that’s how I feel about the Lumin T2. I think it will be a long, long time before anyone buying a T2 experiences upgrade fever.

Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

The gist: Nice when more money buys you a truly better product.

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