OK. If you feel that the distortion is no more pronounced listening directly to the drive than it would be on any other CD player, it’s probably not the drive. Is the interface between the drive and the computer USB? If so, USB 1.1 or 2.0? If the interface is USB I would try switching ports on the computer assuming there’s one available. The motherboard in a computer is rife with EM, hence the reason why dedicated sound cards sound better than integrated audio. If there’s no change, try a different USB cable. Although rare, cables do fail. I would suggest encoding to a different format than ALAC but you said you can hear the distortion in the WAV before conversion so the problem has to exist somewhere in the extraction of the bitstream. If neither of these alleviate the problem, check the EAC configuration wiki at http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=EAC_Drive_Options for suggestions as to how best configure EAC.