One significant step up from the 12
The 26 sounds a lot like a Wadia 25 and given its lower price it seems very good value. However, it is darker, less airy and has a less expansive soundstage than its dearer brother. The 26 also does not have volume control, but that only matters if you want to use it without a preamp, and I’ve not had much success with that in my setups anyway. It sure does beat the Wadia 12 however in every respect, most obviously in the bass which is much more solid and meaty. The 26 only accepts signals up to 48khz so high res formats do not apply.