I've never heard anyone complain that CEC was bright or detailed to the point of harshness, so I'd suspect that "awful room" or your speakers. Maybe a little more info about what problems your room has would help elicit informed opinions.
If you were happy before you switched out units and now your not,I would say you could switch out transports again.Otherwise you talking about turning your system upside down to get back to where you were.Thats called,well,you get the idea.....
I would try three things:
A powerline conditioner for the CD player and DAC only.
Even a cheaper used one could do. $100. or so.
Second, maybe a different connector. The cord between the CD and DAC may be wrong for the combo. If you are using a RCA wire, try one that is longer. any RCA 2 meter, give it a try. Or, if it is a toslink connection, try a different one. (also less than $100.)
Third, some ferrite 'claps' around the DAC output RCAs. Cheap from Radio Shack etc, ($25.)
Here is what happened to you:
You lowered the digital jitter so that the detail and HF extension is in focus as opposed to out of focus. This removed the masking effect of the jitter than you had before. The result is that the new clarity is allowing you to hear the sibilance of another component such as a DAC, preamp, amp or even cables. Maybe even your speakers. You need to swap other components in and identify the offending piece(s). Most likely your DAC is at fault.
Agree with Photon46--all reports are that the CEC transport has a softer presentation than most, which is why I bought it. That attribute is apparently being overcome by something else, perhaps the jitter scenario described by Audioengr, which is my suspicion. Frankly, the sound resembles the overly bright and etched all-Tact system I heard at CES two-years ago (which resembles, in my opinion, the all-Meridian systems that I have heard). I assumed my tube amp would compensate for the overly digital all-Tact system sound. However, it appears the old transport, perhaps because of design or age, was resposible for the softening effect, not the tube amp. While I dislike the sharpness of the Tact 2.2XP, it does amazingly fix the room problem which was several significant 5 to 12 db humps in the sub-200 hz region that created a dull, diffuse and chesty quality in the sound. Everything immediately comes into focus when the correction is enabled. My speakers may also be partially contributing to this--they use Scanspeak Revelator tweaters which can be somewhat strident in the wrong system, which perhaps I have.
I agree with Steve. I've experienced similar issues. A good pre-amp/amp will, no other word to say it, ruthlessly expose weakness in the DAC. IME, you can either upgrade the DAC (and I haven't done sucessfully done that yet because so many DACs sound similar) or go back to masking the sound. Masking the sound isn't such a bad thing IMO if it gives one a break from the merry go round. :}
So get this--I just put my old Placette passive volume control back in (instead of using digital volume control on Tact 2.2XP) and it took enough of the edge off to make things enjoyable again. Still incredibly detailed and transparent. Would still like things a little warmer, but it's at least a temporary fix.
There is no such thing as too much detail. That's like saying there's too much darkness in the night.
Since you did not list most of your system inventory you are probably experiencing the results of a system exhibiting more detail but not utilizing proper line conditioning and especially not utilizing proper vibration management.
For if you had these two elements properly addressed you most likely would have known their foundational significance and would have listed them in your original post to let the reader know those areas are probably not a potential issue. Or perhaps you would not have posted at all.
You may well also be describing the affects of much time-smear in your ics and scs and/or perhaps inferior speakers/tweeters.
Moreover, if your system is generally weak in the lower frequencies, then such an unbalanced presentation can give the perception that there is too much detail or the highs are too bright. Combine that with the other potential weaknesses listed above.
But based on what little you provided I would guess it's potentially a combination of your entire system minus the amp.
That should help narrow things down a bit. :)
But the fact that you claim there could be 'too much' detail tells me that at least you're on the right track because the real magic is buried in the detail. Now you just need to clean it up.
So rather than squash that potentially newfound detail (even though it may be fatiguing at the moment), start experimenting with some high-end line conditioners (stay away from the most popular brand), try some different ics and scs (stay away from silver at least for now), and see if you can turn that potentially overly bright detail into something really musical.
Is it a psycho-acoustics thing that a revealing system SHOULD be edgy sounding? I think it should be both revealing AND warm/organic sounding like in real life. This combination could only be had by using some "musical" sounding electronics, mainly power amp. But as I mentioned earlier those power amps are very very expensive (FM Acoustics/Soulution/Boulder/LAMM/Ayre).
You know Stenho, your advice about cleaning up detail through vibration control might be a factor. I remember how I experienced a similar situation to Lavoy after I upgraded preamps. I thought the new preamp was too detailed and my system was causing me listening fatique. I started experimenting with new footers and supports and found that after I installled DH Labs Golden Sound footers under my power amp, the systems sound got even more detailed. However, the edge and glare were gone and the fatique factor disappeared.
If you think the Tact might be to blame, consider the Behringer 24/96 equalizer. It's less than $300, and very transparent
It's important to realize that almost all stock gear has some sibilance and harshness, some more than others. Particularly bad on solid-state gear. Tube gear can be more forgiving because its simpler, but you can sacrifice HF extension and end-up with flabby bass if you are not picky there.
Dazzdx, you are correct as to how it should sound. But as I'm sure you know there are a handful of bottlenecks present in every last system ie dirty AC from the street, uncontrolled vibrations, tweeters that flatten out or break up under stress, having enough juice for the amps, ics and scs loaded with time time-smear, etc., etc.. And that does not even include inferior components, component synergy, room acoustics, etc..
So if some potential detail rears its ugly head out of sequence or too prematurely in the evolutionary process, then the first thing we want to do is call it evil and squash it rather than nurture it.
Audioengr, I have to disagree with your statement that all stock gear have some sibilance and harshness.
On the other hand, if one were to say all electronic components are susceptible to and affected by dirty AC and uncontrolled resonance energy and just a couple of the effects include negative sibilance and harshness then I think that would be much more accurate.
I don't think this is splitting hairs. Rather, I think it has everything to do with determining the root cause and if we don't know what the root cause is then the chances are pretty good that we'll never properly address it and move forward.
What frequency response curve are you using with your Tact?
Try programming a different curve to soften the top end and see what you think.