Giant Killer Doorway DAC?

If we're talking used prices - I picked up a Music Hall 25.3 dac and have since learned about tube rolling in it as well as op amps. Did "kinda" a shootout of 4 other dacs and this one came out on top. I picked up a used one for $275. Stuck in a different tube, bought 3 different op amps and now I have a dac that I can change the sound according to what I like best with which amp I am using. Tube amps - using more vivid sounding op amps. SS amps? Using the Classic sounding op amps. It may not be the best dac but it's damn sure helped me learn more.
Currently awaiting delivery of a SMSL Sanskrit 10th Ann. MKII. Despite the unnecessary length of its name, it's supposed to be a good DAC; at least it measures well. I'll see what my ears tell me.
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I'm not sure I'd call it a "giant killer", but the little Micromega MyDac was a pretty nice little inexpensive DAC. I still use mine between the Sonos Connect and the C34V. It replaced my Audio Alchemy DDE-1 several years ago. I also have an iFi nano that I use for DSD as the MyDac isn't capable.

The SMSL fought back a bit at first (the downloaded drivers were not jiving with me for a bit), but this things been singing to me all day while I work. This morning's listening was more of the evaluative let's make sure I didn't waste any money frame; this afternoon I'm just listenin' and vibin'.

What follows might sound anecdotal, but is indicative of what I'm hearing now: while listening to Big Thief's Capacity, I went back to Google where they'd recorded this and proceeded to look at the studio's gear list. Can I absolutely hear the difference? No, but I could tell that this recording was warmer than the last; this DAC doesn't do much for less euphonic recordings, but I'm not left out in the cold with them. Weird middle ground, I know.

At some point I'd be curious to see what an expensive DAC actually does; as it is, this thing is doing pretty well for me.
The SMSL joins the fold as part of the contemporary system, and it's doing quite well in its role. (It'll stay.)

The speakers are what I'm calling the HiFiHaven special: speaker cabinets from @ICTWoody, drivers from @Pat McGinty, with @Tsingtao_1903 lending his CNC router for the cuts. (I sent him a faulty file that resulted in the miscut on the left baffle. Amplification is ad-hoc while I get a feel for DSP: Topping TP-21 on tweeters and Altec 128B's driving the woofers; crossover is DSP, currently a 4th order L-R crossing over @ 2.2 khz. Will be passing along the Altec monoblocks before long and moving to a Hypex system for full, permanent DSP on this system.

Tubes will remain in the vintage system (based around RCA LC-1A's).



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I don't know if it kills any giants or not but I've been listening to a Topping E30 for about a day and a half now and so far I'm really liking what it's adding to my system. That's all I've got. Carry on, folks.
I have a Topping E30 in my bedroom system and really believe that it plays above its price point.