could replace your CP player and preamp with the Audio Aero Capitol Mark 2 which has excellent remote controlled volume output. Your weakest link is your CD player currently.
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Each one of these units has its supporters; they're all excellent (in my experience with the Audio Logic and Audio Meca), or reputed to be excellent, performers. The advantage to a DAC like the Audio Logic vs. a one box player will be its no-compromise power supplies, which would help in reproduction of complex passages, but then you still have to deal with the added signal path between the transport and the DAC, where the one-box players have an advantage. I will note that each of the units you mention is a "musical" rather than "analytical" unit; I think you're on the right path going that way. FWIW, I find the Audio Logic to be a better performer in all areas than the Audio Mecas I've heard, but not by a huge margin; also, a friend of mine recently modded an Audio Meca CDP (one of the pricier ones) and found it very good in its stock form, but excellent when he replaced some relatively cheap op-amps he found inside.
I agree with Mejames that the Cary, as good a CDP as it is, is likely the cause of your unrest, and that the units you mention will result in a sonic improvement. Each is sufficiently different from the other, though, that it would be worthwhile for you to hear some of them before making a choice, if you possibly can. Good luck!
I am encouraged to hear that my short list is a good place to start. I wish I had the opportunity to hear some of them. Unfortunately, in Chicago, none of them is available. I have spoken with a few out of state dealers. However, none of them is familiar with more than two of the units in question. So, your help is very important. Thank you.
By the way, any thoughts as to a good ratio of ones budget to spend on the DAC v. the transport? For example, would a $7,000 DAC w/ my $500 Sony 5 disk DVD player be preferable to a $4,000 DAC with a $3,000 transport? Given my history of upgrading something every several months, I think that would probably be more cost effective in the long run.
I posted earlier on another version of this thread. To answer your later question I again echo Mejames on the Audio Aero as a great one-box solution at it already has a great transport and DAC and it is a Cd player. When you asked about a $7,000.00 CAD with a $500.00 CD player, I want to confess that I sometimes use the toslink connection from my Yamaha 5-disc player into my Audio Aero when I don't want to bother changing CDs. The sound is still great.
Congratulations, you made a fine choice, although really you could not go wrong with any of your choices. Just remember to give the Audio Logic some break-in time, as the caps it uses take a very long time to sound their best, and the unit needs to be on for a while as well to sound its best (I leave mine on continuously). Tube rolling can wait for a while; there's another recent thread that has my recommendations, although the MX version only uses the two 6922/6DJ8s, I believe.
Rcprince, thanks for the notice to be patient. My initial expections will be low because I will be using an 6 year old Sony 5 disk DVD changer for a transport while I research a better one. I read your suggestions on Forsell and CEC. Service for both seems difficult. Have you encountered anything transports that you would recomend that can be serviced in the US?