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So today I decided to put the Marantz NA6005 through the ringer and see how it actually performs up against a great affordable DAC, the fully loaded Schiit Bifrost. The Bifrost has the upgraded USB board as well as the upgraded "Uber" analog output board. The Bifrost has many thousands of hours on it. It's been powered up ever since the first day I bought it over 2 years ago. The NA6005 has been up and running non-stop for the past two and a half weeks, so roughly 400 hours on it. The Schiit is being fed via a Wireworld Ultraviolet 2 meter USB cable with JRiver off of a stripped down Compaq laptop, then out through Wireworld Oasis 7 1 meter interconnects to the preamp. The Marantz is being fed via a Belkin CAT5 2 meter cable, through an old Netgear 10/100/1000 switch, streaming directly from the NAS and another Belkin CAT5 cable, then out through an old pair of Cardas Crosslink interconnects to the preamp. Both units getting fed quality 24/96 FLAC files straight from the NAS. Now comes the fun part, the comparison... The tests were done with the same tracks playing, with the Marantz playing roughly one second ahead of the other, so when switching back and forth I could hear and remember exactly how one sounded with not only instruments, but also by word of the songs. I also tried running the Toslink out of the Marantz into the Bifrost, then switching back and forth that way, which ultimately ended in the same exact results as mentioned below. Both the Schiit Bifrost DAC and the Marantz NA6005 sound almost identical. Same amount of bass and attack, same silky smooth top end, same dynamics, same inner detail, same sound stage width and depth. The ONLY difference between the two is that the Bifrost has just a touch more fullness and warmth in the midrange, especially with vocals. This gives vocals just a bit more heft and scale, which is a good thing. I then wondered if that touch of extra fullness and warmth in the midrange was due to the different interconnects being used on both units, so I swapped them. The Wireworld cables now on the Marantz, the Cardas cables on the Schiit. Sure enough, that fullness and warmth left the Bifrost and went to the NA6005! Also, with said cable swap, the bass on the Marantz seems to be a little more detailed and tighter as well as the sound stage depth being just a little deeper with the Wireworld cables. Everything else seems to have remained the same. This is also a pleasant finding. So all in all, both the Schiit DAC and the DAC in the Marantz sound virtually identical, with the Marantz getting the slight edge in a bit more bass detail and stage depth. That says quite a bit about the NA6005's capabilities considering for all practical purposes it just beat the fully upgraded and praised Schiit Bifrost, which is an extremely good DAC as well. I guess this means I can free up some $$$ by selling off the Bifrost and USB cable.