A.A. Capitole..unfortunately not yet..$$$$$$

A very generous friend allowed me to audition his AA Capitole in my system.What I heard ,at that moment,was just jaw-dropping wonderful.Never had music sounded that good coming from my system.Well all good things have to come to an end.When he left ,that night,so did his Capitole.
After that night my goal was to own one of those units however my financial situation will not allow that to happen for a couple more years.
Now I have a Sonic Frontier SFT-1 transport going to a Musical Fidelity A3 24 DAC.
Because of my location auditioning other transports,DAC or even all-in one units ,is out of the question.
Any suggestions on how to improve the digital side of my system,getting as close to the Capitole without breaking the bank, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Breaking the bank? That's, certainly, a relative term, but I think selling your MF DAC and using those $$ to put towards the Audio Aero Prima DAC is the way to go. A LOT less pricey than the Capitole and you've got the sound you heard when you borrowed your friend's Cap. peace, warren
Yes,Go with the Prima Dac. It is the same as in the Capitole and with the SFT-1 transport could give you equal or better results.I now own a Cap MKI , and did own and should have kept for a second system a PRIMA 24/192 player.
good luck,
Peter D.
If you plan on using a preamp in the system, I would suggest the Prima CD player. It's very close to as good as the Capitole Mk 2 (I own both) for 1/4th the price
Well, that's a good point Ejlif. I'd say the Prima is 90% of the Cap? I own one,(Prima) as well. Since you own both your impressions are gold. I love the Prima. Sounded better than players costing twice the price and equal to others, even pricier. One hellava player for a little over $2k. peace, warren
If the Prima is very close second to the Capitole ,where does the MK 1 stand?
Should one consider the MK 1?
I have seen some very attractive prices for the MK 1.
Capitol 2 bass is much improved over Capitol 1 so I would forget about Capitol 1 see this thread below for more info

A different line of reasoning (rather than telling you to simply change your components 'cuz changing components gets you into an infinite cycle!): before you buy, tweak!

Tell us, what is it about the Capitole Mk2 that you liked so much over your own system??
Does your digital front-end measure up at all in any way to the Capitole Mk2? If so, which attributes of your system do you like?

This should narrow down what you are trying to achieve + ensure that when you take the next step (tweak or buy) you will not destroy what you have but will build up.

The SFT-1 & MF A3-24 DAC are not the world's best system for sure (very few of us have that sort of gear) but I'm willing to wager that it can sound better in your system if you can tweak it & thereby squeeze out more performance from it.
Another reasonably priced DAC to consider is the Bel Canto DAC2. Good prices on used units here on Audiogon & very good sound - musical, tubey & extremely non-fatiguing. I've heard the DAC1.1 & am told that the DAC2 is more of everything that the DAC1.1 is.

Tell us a little more about power supply feeding these components, your rack, the type of floor, isolation of the digital front-end, any modifications done to the digital electronics & cables.

Sure, you can simply buy the Prima. Then tomorrow you'll hear the EMM Labs gear & want that. Then, you might hear the dCS or Goldmund gear & want that! So, where does this end?? Maybe YOU don't want it to end?
For $20, try a Herbie Grungebuster CD mat on your CDs. A small easy step in the right direction...Cheers, Spencer
I strongly second Bombay's advice.
Don't start second-guessing your whole system just yet. You heard the Capitole in your system and loved it, so you know it'll work. Tweaks come later, you need a major change.
So, take the earlier suggestions - dump the MuFi DAC, (forget the BelCanto) add the Prima DAC (the newest model is a preamp - two sets of rca inputs, and you can sell your present preamp to defray the cost) or keep your pre and buy the Prima 242/192 CD player.
Golden Ears..I think your advice is sound.Tweaks come later especially since I have identified a weakness with my current digital system and infact did improve it to a degree which I never thought possible if I had not heard it with my own ears.
The Capitole will be my eventually goal however my next step will be a Prima as I have a decent pre ( I think) the Blue Circle Galatea.
I thank everyone for their input .
Audiogon discussion forum has come through again for me...
I agree with Golen ears...go with the Prima, then tweak.