I have had the EMM Labs XDS1 (not the v2 which added USB) and the Playback Designs MPS-5 (SACD transport with USB-X interface) for a while now - they were being used in my main and study room systems respectively. I think the XDS1 was superior to the MPS-5 in absolute detail retrieval - but the MPS-5 had a richer more involving sound that I really enjoyed.
I initially got the DirectStream DAC for its USB interface so I could get computer audio on the main system (with the XDS1 used for SACD playback) and IMHO the first few gens of the firmware updates for the DirectStream DAC were good and close to the XDS1 but I preferred the XDS1.
This all changed after I updated the DS DAC to 1.2.1 I think - when I realised the XDS1 was lagging behind - I was hearing more into the music, more layers, more complexity being discerned and resolved on the DS DAC. I was now using the XDS1 as a transport to the DS DAC - and was able to switch between the two for CD playback.
My friend with the TSD-X/DAC2X combo said it took him till Yale for the DirectStream to beat the two box EMM in his system.
I still had the XDS1 till a couple of months ago when I finally got the DS Transport. The XDS1 has been unplugged and sitting in a corner for the last two months.
I think EMM may now have a new flagship DAC which I have not personally experienced. But for my money, with Ted’s amazing work in refining his code and optimising the DS DAC, I would rather keep the money aside for when Ted eventually creates a DirectStream DAC Mk 2, as unlikely as it may be for now.