+1 on the DAC, and +1 on the Maverick as well.
I notice you mention having several hundred albums ... put together a nice digital server, add an ADC, and rip your vinyl to digital. That'll certainly kill some time. Been there, done that, and I still spin the records, but it's nice to be able to just click a mouse when I'm feeling lazy. With a good DAC, you're really not losing any SQ if you're using quality digital rips.
Big fan of the Maverick TubeMagic here. I'm using their D1+ which also has analog in - something they dropped with the D2 - but I like to get some of that tooby magic on the turntable too. The D1+ acts as a tube buffer as well, allowing me to tailor the sound of the Latino. That opens up a lot of combinations that would be otherwise lacking something. Fer example ... current tube set in the ST120 is a Sylvania 12BH7 center, with Sylvania 5814's in the channels. These would be a bit too dark for my tastes, but swapping a Tesla 6CC42 into the DAC livens it right up ... a match made in heaven!
Good timing ... I'm currently putting together a late winter project to improve the DAC ...
- Install a Burson v5 discrete op amp, guaranteed to run rings around the current set.
- Swap in a Sparkos regulator to lower the noise floor
- Upgrade the primary couplers (Elna Silmic II)
- Install a dedicated USB channel (Paul Pang) in the HTPC to clean up the other end of the signal chain. That will be driven by an Acopian dedicated 5v power supply. The card itself is super low noise and tightly clocked, and the only equipment attached to that will be the DAC and ADC. This should completely eliminate any crosstalk or chatter from competing USB devices.
- Upgrade the USB interconnect (Pangea)
- Recap the power supply.
By the time this is done, I'll have doubled my original investment in the DAC, but still figure to be ahead of the game, as even stock, the Maverick outshines a lot of much more expensive options.
(I AM the KING of OCD!! )