Current DAC is the built-in ES9028 USB card of my Schiit Lyr 3. It does a great job, but my brain is seeking "more". I recently had the opportunity to demo a Chord Mojo 2 for a week, and that was about as eye-opening an experience as I could have. That experience showed me the potential of what a more capable DAC can offer both my Lyr 3 and my LCD-Xs. To say I was spoiled that week is an understatement. Given some home improvements under way, my budget for an upgraded DAC simply won't reach the level of say, a Bifrost 2 or Mojo 2. Around $300 really would be the max I'd be able to squeeze an agreement with out of the better half. Based on that budget, here are some key areas I'm seeking "more" in (from listening to the Mojo 2 vs. the ES9028 card), and key considerations in my hearing preferences(**): Tighter, more impactful, more detailed bass (ES9028 muddles and softens bass by and large) Generally more resolving mids, improved timbre if possible More articulate and detailed treble (ES9028 treble is splashy and 1-dimensional) Deeper black/background, if possible, allowing greater sound staging capability **Bass impact and texture is more important to me than depth/slam **Neutral but tonally accurate mids are preferred to overly warm or clinical **I'm most sensitive to treble, digital glare, and unnatural tone/timbre. Even the Mojo 2 still sounded artificial to me. I realize I"m probably asking A LOT for a $300 DAC, so I'm in no way expecting to get Mojo 2 performance. However, I feel like I should be able to get some of these key improvements most of the way there, but keeping my expectations realistic. In the recent past, I've also listened to DACs like the Cambridge Audio DacMagic 200M (did not like the digital glare and tone in the treble) and the ifi Audio Neo iDSD (very much liked the sound of this DAC on the whole). Clearly, both of those DACs exceed my budget. Given that, I see the following as my best options: Schiit Modius (admittedly nervous about the lower-performing unbalanced outputs and AKM velvet sound) Geshelli Labs J2 (another ESS implementation, would that garner digital/glary treble?) ifi Audio Zen Dac Signature V2 (if this is similar to the Neo, might be a great fit) JDS Labs EL Dac II+ (auditioned the Element II in the past, did not like it, so unsure how much the internal DAC played into that experience) I'm not much interested in any of the Chi-Fi options, personally, based on all that I've read. Thanks for the input and consideration!