Help with DAC follow up

Well here goes......I got my nice dealer to lend me the Classe DAC-1 for an in-home audition, and I must say I'm quite perplexed. There was quite a difference in the sound, but inexplicably to the worse side!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I tried balanced, unbalanced, and several different cables, all to the same effect. First of all, the sound through the DAC was somewhat muted! In the manual, it specifically states that you'd get a +6 dB gain if you were playing an HDCD. Even on HDCD (I tried a bunch), the volume actually decreased by several dBs. The soundstage was wider w/o it, and vocals were suspended in air with greater ease. The other really noticeable difference was that the music seemed much more 2 dimensional (flat, for lack of better words). I know the Rega Planet is a good CD player, but I must say I was fairly shocked. If any one out there has any ideas, shoot them out there. I'm going to try a single disc Onkyo basic 199.99 player I have in a bedroom just for the heck of it to see what happens there. If it doesn't clean up or do anything positive for the sound there, maybe there's something wrong with the unit, but I couldn't imagine what.
Hello Audioguy,
I was pressed for time for time (as usual) and left out some info in my earlier reply.
I have tried the Rega Planet as a transport and I think it is a better cd player than a transport. It sounded to me like you describe above. I was using it with a jitter reduction device so if you are using it without one, your results are probably going to be worse than what I heard.
While the Classe may be defective and I have never heard one, I remember reading that it is a very revealing dac. It may be revealing some things about the Rega as a transport that you do not want to hear.
If you're going to get into digital separates and you really want to beat the Rega then I think you may need to try some other dacs, try a jitter reduction device and even a different transport.
I did listen to the Rega as a cd player (at home) and it is very nice for the price.
However, it is not in same league as a properly set up dac like a Bel Canto.
I have an $90 Aiwa cd changer that I play around with that is a better transport than the Rega, but you would have to use a good jitter reduction device like the AA DTI Pro or better to duplicate my results.
If you send the Aiwa CD changer to Stan Warren in Oregon, he will make it a great transport for about $200. Search old threads for his phone number, I don't have it handy.
It is my understanding, that a jitter reduction device (Monarchy DIP or =) is almost a must when you mix and match DAC and Tansport brands. While I have noticed subtle improvements with my Classe CDT-1 and DAC-1 wth the DIP, you may notice drastic improvements, I would guess. Also don't overlook the digital interconnect. Illuminatins D-60 or Orchid will work very well!
I also recommend a jitter reduction device. I know when I first used one, it made a bigger difference then I thought it would. Of course this also means another cable as well. The lower level could be defective or a lower output voltage than the Rega. To really compare them you should try to match output voltages. If you have a manual, it should tell you output voltages.
Some day I will connect with Stan Warren and get my Aiwa modified. He does not always seem to answer his phone and did not respond to a voicemail I left.
Hey Joe_b keep trying. If you do hook up with Stan he will talk to you for hours.