In 2019, it's about the same between DS and R2R in terms of low level information retrieval, with one cavaet: discrete R2R is all over the place, with Far East stuff generally being craptastic when it comes to plankton. Also, when it comes to entry level stuff, DS > R2R still. The ESS 9038 stuff can potentially be good. A little too square for my tastes, but it's good. Everything else below or before from ESS sucks balls. If you go Soekris, go for their higher-end stuff. The cost differential isn't huge. Nothing beats Yggdrasil A2 or even Gungnir A2 when it comes to plankton. If it does, then you are referring to gross detail or your system isn't good enough. ESS 9038 and the latest AKMs get close enough though. Audio-GD will never be able to make a great DAC until they redo their output stages and maybe their power supply. Don't let their weight, the unnecessarily complex power filtering, mention of their use of Never caps (never heard of those), and their x3 R-core transformers fool you. The designs are incredibly unoriginal. All their low priced stuff is shit. Their high priced stuff is now near unaffordable. It's incredibly telling when A-GD fan boys tell us we are wrong, and then suddenly 8 months later, they don't have A-GD gear anymore. Hmmmmm, I think to myself. In terms of soundstage, the best are from brands that write their own custom digital filters, Crane Song, Schiit, etc. ESS 9038 and new AKM chip are also good here.