The Ref CD8 and DAC 8 are very different units. First off the DAC 8 is solid state while the CD8 uses 6H30 tubes with a 6550 in the power supply. I own both a Ref CD7 and a DAC 8. I use the CD7 to play CDs and the DAC 8 for computer audio. I will say that I prefer the sound of a CD played on my CD7 then the ripped CD through the DAC 8. The CD7 is smoother sounding. One really nice thing is about the DAC8 is that because it is solid state I can leave it on all the time. The CD7 takes a couple of hours to sound its best. I got the DAC 8 to play high resolution downloads. I play CDs with the CD7 about half the time and vinyl the other half.