Ive got one if you'd like I will send it to you for a listen
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I have the SE. It is smooth, smooth with good detail. The treble performance is exceptional, one of the few that replicates the decay of cymbals, chimes, triangles properly like a good analogue system. It is NOS design so it tends to sound more natural and meaty in the midrange. More tube like than most tube DACs with oversampling delta sigma DACs I know of. It won't have the hyper detail of most newer DACs out there. So if you have a dark sounding system to begin with, it may not be to your liking. If you have a relatively neutral or bright system, the SE can be a godsend. The major difference between SE and regular Tranquility is a larger power supply so bass, dynamics and to a lesser extent imaging/soundstaging and detail is improved. I have a four box tube DAC that costs over $6000 and is more neutral (depending on tube selection) than the SE. Actually my tube DAC beats the SE in almost all audiophile criteria, except for the treble performance. However, sometimes I miss the liquidity of the SE's midrange. If you listen to a lot of vocals, I think you will be very pleased.
There is a new affordable upgrade to the output section that is suppose to significantly increase the sound quality of the SE. I will be sending it off to dB Audiolabs soon. Go to Audiocircle.com and look at my review of a AQVOX USB power supply I use with my Tranquility. It was a night and day improvement for about $170. You can get the free home trial and see if you like the SE. I think you will like it better than Ayre. I know of a guy here on Audiogon who replaced his Ayre DAC with the Tranq SE.
I too am a fan of the Tranquility and the Tranquility SE, but some time ago I listened to an UltraFi DAC-41 and was literally swept away, sold the Tranquilities, and bought the DAC-41s for three systems I enjoy. Not long ago, I added the TwinREG powersupply modification to the DAC-41s and was astonished at the improvement in an already astonishing DAC. Larry Moore, as I understand it, is no long manufacturing or involved in the Tranquility series of DACs. I highly recommend taking a listen to the TwinREG modified DAC-41s... I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. One thing I'd like to note about them is that they get better and better the more they are used.
Abruce, I haven't tried the EE DAC. So many things about audio are system dependent, but IMHO the DAC-41 is remarkable in that I have three very different systems, and the DAC-41 has transformed each one to an extraordinary degree. I'd recommend giving it a try.
Sometime, maybe this summer, I want to put a DAC-41 under my arm and take it to a DCS dealer and see if they will allow a comparison listen. I'm sure that at many, many times the price, the DCS should best the DAC-41. I say should, but I am really wondering to what extent. Just curious more than anything else because I've found the DAC-41, especially the TwinREG modified version, to be exceptional in so many respects regardless of the kind of music being played.