The Accustic Arts DAC 1 Mk 4 is significantly better than the Accustic Arts DAC 1 Mk 3 that you now have.
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IMO Audio Aero Capitole is a great player. I owned one for almost 2 years.
If you are looking for one used, look for Capitole II SE. IMO it represents the best value for money. The new Capitole Reference is not really better, and is much more expensive. The original Capitole (also reffered as mk I, with knobs) is nowhere near as good as mk II and mk III, and had many reliability problems, and as such is hard to recommend.
All Capitole players came with tubed output stage, analog volume controll and digital inputs fitted as a standard. Analog inputs were optional.
For many years the Audio Aero Capitole CDP was the center of my system. I ran Satellite through toslink, my DVD player through coax and I even ran my slim devices Transporter through the AES/EBU....with all thee of these sources using the Audio Aero's DAC.
It is only since I got my Anthem D2 that I switched over as the main DAC for all of ther other sources, allthough I still use the Capitole's DAC into the D2 via an analog cable.
I have heard both and I disagree that the Accustic Arts combo is "much better" than the Audio Aero. Both are very good, and the real choice and expressed preferences may boil down to personal tastes.
Many players like Accustic Arts have a reputation for being ultra-detailed and are a little tilted-up in the higher frequencies, but that can become fatiguing.
The Audio Aero offers great performance across the frequency range and while maybe not as ultra-detailed as the Accustic Arts, with their patented STARS system and tubed analogue output Audio Aero offers a more natural, musical presentation and are never fatiguing to listen-to.
I would have to disagree with Golden ears when he refers to the Accustic Arts Tube Dac suggesting it's fatiguing, must be something else going on.
I have had and compared different dacs in my set-up, most costing substantially more than the AA Tube Dac and in the end preferred the Tube Dac but not with their stock tubes, even AA has come out with their latest Reference Tube Dac and changing the tubes.
You can refer to Teajay's threads regarding this.
I have actually had some of these Audio Aero pieces spoken of here in my system and they are very nice but there was no comparison in my set-up when compared to the Tube Dac and Golden ears you can listen to my system 24/7 with no fatigue what so ever.
I'm curious what was the rest of set-up because something was causing these issues you were hearing.