I can't specifically respond to this. The DL16 has the same preamps as the M32R. I can tell you that when I ran an M32 with a DL251, the sound was far superior to the on-board pre's. So I would assume the same for the DL153 vs the DL16.
They are said to have the same preamps. I'd look into the power supply thing though, which I think most people underestimate when you talk differences between the two:
"DL153, 151, 251" - 96k or 48k, Midas Pro Preamps, Redundant power supply WITH FILTERING, fan cooling with a little noise
"DL16, 32" - 48k, Midas Pro Preamps, Regular Power supply, no fan no noise
Even if a preamp is manufactured and engineered well, the power supply and its CMRR can make a noticable difference. The DIRTIER the 120/240V coming out of the wall, the bigger and more apparent the sound difference should be.
This is one of the reasons the big pros always go intensely for thorough filtering on the power supplies of their audio equipment.
There's an austrian engineer, who compared the "M32R" to the "DL153". To some, the quality difference is apparent, others just can't hear it. What I might also add to this, is that german and austrian in-house 240V power, if it isn't a 300-year-old house out in the countryside, will be alot cleaner than your typical american or british power. So the difference he is showing, certainly isn't the maximum effect:
There's obviously also the comparison video on YT between Behringer X preamps and Midas M preamps. I'd say the difference is extremely apparent, even on phone or laptop speakers. This difference is not just down to power supply differences:
2 things to think about. The DL153 can't be daisy chained to another unit. If you need 32 channels down the road you can't go into a DL153 for the first 16 then out to a second DL153 to get the next 16. You have to use AES50 -A- for one box, AES50 -B- for the other. With the Dl16 you can go into the first AES50 -A- and go out to the next for a single cable run. Also although you can only use 32 channels at a time you can connect 3 units at a time and have 48 channels available to patch into. The DL153 is very deep compared to the DL16. This may or may not be an issue depending on your requirements.