Opinions of the EMM DCC2 SE

I am seriously considering changing my analog linestage with built in phono amp to a digital linestage with built in DAC. The EMM DCC2 SE seems like a worthy successor to my HP 200 MC. Any thoughts or caveats would be appreciated.
I've been using my DCC2 SE for the past month while my Jadis JP 200 is in for repairs and refurbishing. It is a very, very good line stage, transparent and detailed, with excellent dynamics and soundstaging. It is not, however, a tubed preamp, and it definitely lacks the bloom and last bit of dimensionality you get from a tubed preamp (this was made absolutely clear to me when I borrowed a Shindo preamp for a week), particularly your Hovland, which I recall seemed to lean to the romantic side of neutral when I heard it. As a DAC, the DCC2 is tough to beat--I'd rank it in the top tier of DACs available today, and its synergy with the CDSD transport due to the optical connections is remarkable. I can get used to the lack of bloom, but I don't think it's ultimately as seductive to me as my Jadis, which I miss. Great back-up to have, though. The other thing to remember about the DCC2 is that it has only one analog input, so it's not as versatile as other line stages. I have to choose between my turntable and my tuner as my analog source, and I find that to be a drawback.
the DCC2SE has TWO ANALOG INPUTS- one rca and the other xlr.
i bought a pair of cardas xlr-male to rca female ($65) so i could use both. the preamp is crystal clear but it lacks the last bit of musicality- my terms in this case would be "body" or "palpability", arguably stupid descriptions for something i can't quite describe. but something is bleached out of the mix, and i don't use tubes. a rowland consummate preamp (an ancient piece of junk, right?- not!) provided a more pleasing sound- although slightly less detailed, and a touch more grain.
i am biased towards the rowland sound though. i haven't heard the hovland, but i think from the reviews on it, that it is ultimately way-noisier than the DCC2-SE, unlike the newer tube-designs that have a much-improved noise-floor.
EMM should make a stand-alone 2-channel dac just like they finally came out with a stand-alone cd player. but you could always spring for a dac-6e (the non-se would be pretty good also, and inexpensive these days), and just use the 1st two outputs.

What problems with the sound are you experiencing with your Hovland?
I found the emmlabs dcc2 se was an impressive line stage that was almost as good as the audio research ref 3 when paired with my dartzeel amplifier. I sold it only because I wanted the dartzeel preamplifier which has a special synergy with the dartzeel amplifier which in combination outshines the emmlabs preamp handily.

I have to agree with Radioheadokplayer. I too own the DCC 2SE but wondered if I could do better pre-amp wise so I bought a Ref. 3 to try out. Real close. Ref. 3 a hair better but sold it as it wasn't THAT much better. The Ref.3 is very neutral for a tubed unit. It all depends on what you want and of course what the rest of your system consists of.
The pre-amp section in the DCC 2 is basically the same as the EMM Switchman which is used in many recording studios. I also owned the switchman 3 and is one of the best SOLID STATE pre-amps. You can beat it but will have to spend alot of $$ to do so.

Thanks for your responses, all most helpful.

Goatwuss, your question regarding "problems" with the sound of my Hovland is most salient. It is a great preamp falling sonically somewhere between a Jadis JP 80 MC and an ARC Ref 3. As French_fries has noted, its noise-floor has currently become an issue since I began using YG speakers whose accuracy, neutrality and transparency I now find the benchmark to which I want my other components to adhere.

For me it has become the reverse Ivor Tiefenbrun syndrome. To my surprise I have found that the extraordinary accuracy of YG speakers is best complemented by equally accurate components rather than "compensatory" romantic alternatives.

Not that I mind "euphonics", but think I'm moving beyond that.
But I do intend to add more digital sources to my system.

The Boulder 1012 preamp with integral phono stage and DAC also interests me and I would be appreciative of opinions of that unit as well.

For the record, I am now running YG Anat Reference II Studios which have surely ignited this not unwelcome dilemma.