Budt, I came to the CDSA-SE after having owned NAIM, ARC CD3mkII and most recently the Accustic Arts Transport and DACIV. What the CDSA-SE does best is provide incrediblly good microdynamics that allows me to better hear the vocal or intrumental inflections of a performance, this makes the singers intent (lyrics and emotion) more intelligible and and instrumentalists performance clearer. These aren't really audiophile terms, but can best be expressed by saying the CDSA let's me understand what the musician is trying to say - which is a little different than focusing on timbral balance, soundstaging, speed, etc. I tend not to focus on that when I listen to equipment, but rather how close do I feel I am getting to the musical message - judged this way, it is the best digital performance I have heard -- this on Redbook CD, as I only own to SACDs (Analogue Productions Blue Train and Moanin). Unfortunately SACD is even better, but not likely that format will survive for long. I've not heard the Alpha DAC, and based on "reviews" it sounds like a unit well worth auditioning, but I just wasn't interested in two-box (PC/DAC or Transport/DAC) combo at this point.