From CAL Alpha to ARC DAC3:an upgrade?

I currently use CAL Alpha with Audio Research CD2 (as a transport only).Recently i noticed a number of used Audio Research DAC 3 on the market for a very decent price (from $1200 to $1500).Should i take an upgrade plunge or it is not worth the money?Do they have similar sound?How big is the improvement in sound?I appreciate all your responses.thanx.
I can't answer your question but I am surprised to see you're using the Alpha in place of the DAC in the CD2. I would presume you prefer it to the internal DAC (or is there a technical problem with the internal DAC?). Is there a signficant improvement using the Alpha? I have considered "upgrading" my Tercet to the CD2 but this could change my mind!
The CD2 d/a converter is terrible:no midbass.screaming thin midrange and VERY laid back presentation.With Alpha in the chain everything just sounds so much better.I know of at least two more people who ended up using it as a transport only.(which is way better than ARC CD1 own transport)

I had a DAC3 MK II for a few years that mated well with my Pioneer PD65. This was at a time when my system was all ARC: PH2, LS5III, DAC3II, VT130. Cardas Golden Cross cables worked well here. But overtime, the forward ARC sound was just too much for me so I gradually changed each piece for something else. But I'd say the PH2 was the real sleeper of the about an incredible phono stage for the dollar!

Of all the ARC pieces in my system, the DAC3 was the most forward. It was quite nice but it did not have the 3-dimensionality of other DACs that I have since tried out. I wanted more body in vocals and harmonic richness like I have since discovered in the awesome Manley DAC from the late 90s. The VTL Ref tube DAC from the same time is also absolutely incredible in bringing on a full musical presentation without any fatigue. The DAC3 could cause fatigue over time.....thank heavens for LPs at such times!

For sheer value, I like the Electrocompaniet ECD1. This product has incredible musicality as well as an even tonal balance. For such a solid state unit, at it's under $2k price new, to have such qualities is simply amazing. I suggest you listen to the Electro Dac before you jump on a DAC3. Hope I have helped a little bit here.

Some say too layback, the other too forward.
I have a DAC5. They use BNC input but no RCA. A big differece I find to get rid of forwardness is to use digital cable with BNC (can buy from ebay CANARE and specify BNC on one end or both). A BNC/RCA converter is no good. BNC is real industry standard for 75 ohm and it is best using BNC directly. Since then, I sold the upsampled DAC and stay with this one waiting for good SACD player.
Jafox is right-on in his descriptives of VTL & Manley tube DACS. Audio Advisor used to sell these, I still have the original catalogues. I own a modded Alpha now and I'm going to venture into the Audio Logic and Audio Aero tube DACS to do some comparisons with my CEC transport.