I don't know that I can hear a difference. I'd certainly like to try, blind, and also like to see if I could identify which I prefer. I have Boulder 1050 mono amps (bought used) and McIntosh Mc2301 (also bought used) tube amps. I was able to level match them, and then had my gf switch them out, with me blind, and I could easily pick out which was which. The ****** part (because I want to sell one or the other), is that I like both for different reasons. It was pretty easy to identify each. On certain music, I much prefer the solid state Boulders. To me, they sound crisp, clear, and defined. On other music, I much prefer the tubed Macs. Punchier, are the only way I can describe it. They are lower powered, 300 watts into 2, 4, or 8 ohms, where the Boulders are certainly more powerful, but different. I've never failed to identify which are playing when I come home and hear the music my gf is playing, without looking at the system. I doubt I could do so with a dac, but I don't know, I've never tried. I'd defer to those who have, but everyone's ears are different. Great point about the reviews. Yeah, the pricier one usually comes out on top, but you can also tell when the reviewer doesn't think so, because of all the caveats offered.
I don't know if the difference in sound, if there was one, matters to me. It might. Probably would. But it would just be my opinion on what I like. I've never had two dacs here to play with. Actually, I do! I just realized my Cambridge audio cxn-v2 has a built in dac! When I get over this f'ing cold that has my ears clogged, I'm going to give that a whirl, and A/B it blind. I might just order a topping d90se or Gustard and see if I can tell the difference from my Wavelight. If not, it might be bye bye Wavelight.
For me, I like to think I'm open to lots of points of views, and I'd like to give some of these great measuring dacs a try myself. Maybe even get a high priced dac on loan, and try to blind test it myself with my gf's help. Anyway, I appreciate the responses and the ideas. I will say I appreciate build quality, as this stuff does sit in my living room, but I'd happily save money on a dac if I can't hear a difference! The Gustard, Matrix, Topping, Benchmark certainly seem well built enough to not look out of place, and yeah, that matters to me in the living room. I wouldn't pay an extra 5 -10k for that though. I've been very happy with all aspects of the Wavelight thus far at the 3k I spent. I guess I'll see! Thanks again!