This is considered by many to be the finest pairing for actual cd playback currently available. We are selling it for a client but have it in-house to audition. The belt drive transport of CEC, long an industry standard, has been taken to new heights with their Superlink Connection where cables are separate for signal and clock. It is the finest cd playback we've experienced. The DAC is a study in natural flow while having bass that is phenomenally present.
High Fidelity put it thusly, after giving CEC a Gold Fingerprint Award, their highest award.
"I probably have not satisfied the Readers of "High Fidelity", who look for an easy and clear answers. I'm sorry, but I could not describe it otherwise as we are talking about a digital system that needs to be discussed in a different way. It does not really matter whether there is treble or there isn't one, and if there is, how much of it one can hear, because it's nonsense (in this particular case, these are important elements of the test, but in the lower price ranges). We are talking about the hardware that plays so reliably, so believably that we have to consider more fundamental issues, ie. how the particular album affects me, what exactly does it move in my soul and heart, what's my attitude towards this particular presentation of this particular music, how does it compare to the other top sources (digital or not).
In this respect CEC's performance is close to the one of an analog master tape. It does not form such distinct phantom images as the Ancient Audio system and does not show sound in such an incredibly smooth manner as dCS, it can not differentiated treble quite so well as totaldac. However, there is something that the others (except perhaps Ancient Audio) do not have – this source presents the world in a way as if we were in it. This is the world that has been created from start to finish, but in such a way that one never even begins to thinking about arguing this particular concept of presentation. Because there is nothing to argue about. GOLD Fingerprint."
There is no playback system that plays back a cd at this level...thus far in our experience. More information is available here.