Upgrade transport and lose Genesis Lens?

I currently have a Meridian 500 transport/Audioquest Hawk Balanced Digital Cable/Genesis Digital Lens/MIT Oracle Digital Cable/PS Audio Ultralink DAC. I noticed that when I took out the MIT Oracle cable from the Lens and connected it straight to the transport I got a huge boost in clarity. The sound was so much more cleaner and the pace was a lot faster. I was thinking is that because the Audioquest isn't up to par with the Oracle, should I just get another Oracle to get back that detail or would it be better to sell the Meridian/Audioquest/Genesis and get a new transport. I would probably have about 2,000 to spend on a used transport.
Why don't you take your setup to a dealer and play around with it? You're guessing the transport, but what would happen if you ditched the AQ and Digital Lens, and then tried the Meridian and MIT with a newer DAC? How about ditching it all and trying a new CD Player? You owe it to yourself to try different combos and see what sounds best to you.
I had an interesting trial when I eliminated the Genesis Digital Lens temporarily, because I had finally found digital IC which sounded spectacular while adding no jitter to the output from a modded CDP used as a transport (Auricle Audio Design Encore Signature Digital IC).
It turned out that the Lens does something more for the music than merely eliminate jitter as the signal travels on to the DAC in this test system, because the rich and three dimensional quality of full range sound suddenly became flatter. Simply re-installing the Digital Lens with another Auricle Audio digital IC re-established the best sound.
Each part of this complex chain has been inserted to audibly improve the sound, yet it still surprised me, all over again, that simplifying can sometimes diminish sound quality.
If a Genesis Digital Lens does not enhance your system then perhaps there may be a malfunction of the unit.
Also, simply buying a great all-in-one CDP might actually better any patched together set of components. As Krell man suggests, you have to try a few variations until you hit on what sounds most pleasing.
My experience exactly matches that of Listener57. But Krell_man brings up a valid point that all of us with separate transports, DACs, the Genesis, the two digital cables, multiple power cables, etc., should seriously consider.

I have tried many transports and DACs and over and over, the DAC has far more influence on the sound quality. Perhaps this is because the Genesis does a good job to "clean up" the transport's signal. Before you spend any money on cables, you should seriously try out any number of DACs.

And if you decide to consider digital cables, do not lock yourself into only the MIT. The Marigo 5.7 is an outstanding cable that far exceeded the lower cost MIT digital cable I had been using before. And many people report great success with other cables such as the Purist Dominus, Virtual Dynamics, Audience, etc.

A friend has my Eagle Eye in his HT which he syays betters his Hawkeye by far.
really good question.....digital is in a really unique place right now....all in one units sound great, dacs with usb/firewire input, transports are challenged by computer hard drive based music server... i would speculate there has been a overall major improvement with jitter reduction the last couple years across the board..

have a couple questions....

1. have you tried the dac & transport with the aq hawk ?
2. what power cords are you using on the lens, dac, and transport ?

i would have to agree with everyone above.. you have a couple diferent options..try a different dac and maybe transport or a all in one(etc..ayre), different cable.

btw, the electrocompinet dac is a absolute steal for $1700 new and $1100 used, it is really a breakthrough digital product, it took a audio aero prima dac II (3x the cost) to better it..

the genesis lens is a fascinating device... i was really tempted to try one but to do so runs about $1200-$1500 (used lens, extra digital cable, power cable, and isolation). though i havent tried one, i would think you would have to use a identical digital cable.. i think (speculation again) the genesis is better with older 16 bit transports (it adds 2 extra bits extending it to 18 bits).. i would be interesting to hear the genesis with a current transport (and compare againest dcs purcell or gw labs upsampler)

in looking at it, you could experiment with what sounds best either a different dac and/or transport, cable, player... it just comes down to finding out what is local (auditioning dacs, transports, and digital cables is really hard if not impossible, you pretty much have to buy blind and try....all in one players are much easier to audition...

are there any other local audiphiles or shops who can help out ?
To answer MikeSingers questions, I can't use the Audioquest Hawk with the PS Audio Ultralink because it doesn't have balanced digital inputs. For power cords I use the Zu Bok on all units, and a Monster Stage 2 power conditioner. I am in New York City so I'm sure there are tons of dealers but I don't know any right now. I didn't know you could take a setup to a dealer for AB testing. If you know of any leads that would be great as also. I was thinking that maybe the Audioquest Hawk was flattening out the signal before it got to the Lens so maybe I should just buy another Oracle. I haven't heard Nordost Valhalla, but I've heard that the Oracle outperforms it by far and is one of the best out there. As for dacs, I'm pretty sure a better DAC would improve the sound also, but there is such a big difference in overall quality with the DAC I have when the Oracle runs straight to the transport. If I get a new DAC, surely it would still exhibit the same degree of clarity change that I see from the Oracle/Lens/Hawk/Meridian combo to the Oracle/Meridian combo. The Lens does have the added 3 dimensionality and warmth that I like but currently at the cost of more clarity and detail.
Kleonard, Two simple ideas:
Join one of the NYC metropolitan area audio clubs to have access to personalized assistance, minus any NYC retail sales pressure. A club member might even make a "housecall" to work with you.
If you like to attend audio events, check out the announcement for the VTV Audio and Music Expo May 6-7 in neighboring New Jersey.
Either way, you'll hear some fine equipment to which you may be attracted, if you don't hear all you want with your present multi-unit approach. I am satisfied with my systems, but would not hesitate to start over with a great all-in-one if I felt at all bewildered by what to change to get the desired sound.
what terminations are you using with amp/pre (rca/xlr) ?
Thanks I'll check out that club.
re:what terminations are you using with amp/pre (rca/xlr) ?
I use rca terminations on my preamp, which is a Headroom Max headphone amp.
just to confirm... going from transport (rca out) to lens(rca in and xlr out) to pre (xlr in to rca out to amp) ??
Going from transport to lens is xlr, from Lens to Dac is RCA and from DAC to pre is RCA
have you tried going all rca ? i would suspect there might be some degradation going between the different circut topologies...