Audio Note 3.1 Balanced ($6k). Incredible detail retrieval/pass through and super low noise floor with amazing bass- will mate well with the smooth sonic signature of the CEC. I have been using the AN 3.1 with a Spectral 3000 transport with stunning results- I imagine that the CEC would also be a great front end for the AN dac.
I used to own this transport....Awesome!
I always felt that it would be best paired with a solid state DAC which had more control and impact. The downsides to this transport are that it can sound slow and somewhat limited dynalically. With that, I always felt the best fit would have been the Pass Labs D1. Very rare and expensive, but alledgedly quite good. (If I had more $$ I would have gone that route just to see)
I also heard Audio Logic 2400 was an amazing fit! Other than that it will be trial and error and you will need to determine what it is you are looking for. Meaning, what would you like to improve upon or accentuate from the TL2x then find a DAC that will complement to fit your needs.
Audio Logic DACs work very well with the CEC transports. The current transformer-coupled version beats anything I've heard at any price (although I haven't heard the transformer-coupled Audio Notes, which from their description seem to have a similar sonic signature), and at the $3200+ price being offered on the A-goN new is a virtual steal. One of the few DACs around that can give you the details and the music as well, if you know what I'm saying.
one more vote for the audio logic 2400.i have owned the cec TL2 & still own the audio logic, they make a very relaxed,almost analog sound together
Find an Entec Number Cruncher and get it modded by Bob Crump. Designed by Demian Martin and built by Jerry Crosby, they show up on the used market once in a while. Built like a tank and beats just about everything else out there.
Current dac is an Alpha 16/44 & a pair of NOS tubes, like the sound, but wondering about more openess, naturalness, slam and laid-back qualities. Analytical, more detail, upfront presentations are not wanted here. Sutts, Rcprince, Sean, you other guys, I know you're out there, any after thoughts ? Are those other dacs worth considering or just more $$$ ?
Not sure what the Alpha sounds like, but the Audio Logic does fit your criteria in terms of naturalness, openness and, particularly with the transformer upgrade, slam and bass extension. It is not completely laid-back, I suppose, unless that trait is on the recording, but it certainly is not an upfront, in your face presentation (some of its character, particularly if you don't get a transformer-coupled version, will depend on the tubes you use). It just sounds more "alive" and real to me than most DACS, and does a great balancing act between retrieval of detail and sounding "musical"; from the comments I've heard, the higher level Audio Notes appear to have the same qualities. I'd choose it over the Thor and Jadis, simply because Jerry Ozment designed those units as well and I think he saved some of his best work for his own unit, and at a substantially lower price. Can't comment on the rest of them, although you've certainly identified the DACs that, from the reports I've heard, probably have sound qualities that you're looking for. If you're near enough to my area (northern NJ), you're welcome to come and give a listen to the AL.
Rcprince, can I still get a non-transformer-coupled version from Jerry ? I remembered he had something to do with the Jadis dacs, but had no clue about the Thor dacs.
I posted another thread on the DCC2 from Meitner a couple weeks back, but I guess it's a little too early in the game to get a handle on it, or that Zanden 5000 from Japan.
BTW, thanks for the invite, I live in (northern OH.), not too far away.
You could give him a call and ask (203-966-1732), although I'd suggest instead picking up a used 2400 or later Model 34 for cheap. I strongly endorse the transformer upgrade, though--it keeps the same character of the tubed unit but is quieter and improves dynamics, bass, neutrality and detail retrieval. The Meitner unit is reputed to be something special (check AA SACD threads, people are just now receiving their units), if you have the scratch it would be worthwhile looking into, especially for its SACD capability, but then you'll want a new transport.... I once had a Meitner CD3, a beautiful unit which I should have kept but sold when Musetex was having problems. Ed's past work has had a distinctive sonic signature, but I prefer Ozment's work on CD, and since I have his analog stage on my Sony SACD I'm not really lusting for the Meitner gear as much as I might. If they do come up with a universal interface for DSD digital data (and with SACD transports apparently being offered now by Sony, it looks like that is going to be a reality), and if SACD does in fact succeed, then the Audio Logic is a good deal because it can decode DSD digital signals internally and Jerry probably would be able to install a DSD digital input.
Northern Ohio, eh? Probably only a couple of hours to my place in the car that you use for your moniker!
I am now demoing a modded Melior Bitstream (mods by John Wright, who used to work with Ed Meitner). Very impressive- it's not beating my AN 3.1x Balanced yet, but still very, very good...
Rcprince and Sutts, you guys are great, always helpful, insightful and fun to read !! Thankyou, and the other three Goners, Essentialaudio, Hi5harry and Platsolos.
Rx8man- no sweat- hey- does that moniker relate to your vehicle of choice? How IS that new Rx8? I have heard some good things about it- the specs on paper seem to indicate good hp/litre, but perhaps a bit lighter in torque for my liking (I drive a modified Toyota MR2 turbo).
Hi Sutts, actually my moniker was "thought about" before I had any idea Mazda was even going to bring their "own" into existance. Really when I saw the first ad for one, I was shocked, to say the least, a couple other people asked me your same question, so I guess I can call mine a "non-factory" prototype. My 91 started life as a clean, humble, hi-revving, no low torque automatic, 45K on the odometer.
Little by little, the rotary motor began to rear it's ulgy head. It began to be ever increasingly hard to start, like a "flooded condition." I ignored it as a somewhat "typical nature of the beast" and decided to drive it to my buddies muffler shop for some new tailpipes.
Well, that's where it died, on their rack, no-start ever again. So I hiked the motor and tranny out, went to Granny's Speed Shop web and got real excited. Talked to Grant, got the imfo I needed and bought a Chevy 350 V8 and an overdrive auto trans from a Monte Carlo SS. I didn't install the swap kit yet, I have a couple other finances pending, "hospital bills" yeah. Sorry to take this post way off track, but hell it's my thread !!
he-he- nice! I would be curious re: the swap. Up here in these parts, all the young guys swap Japanese motors for other Japanese motors, but not Chevy's into Mazda's!! Good luck with the project and sorry about the hospital bills- we're kidna fortunate here in Canada with some pretty good coverage in that area. Later.
I HAVE TRIED THIS CEC WITH SF D2MKII WITH GREAT RESULT.
YOU CAN FIND THIS DA ON AUDIOGON.