This is my first Taylor, and my only regret is waiting so long to own one. First, the guitar is beautiful. Fit and finish are typical Taylor excellence. Not a flaw to be found. Now about the sound: Unplugged, it's fantastic. Deep bass, crystal highs, and that signature Taylor string balance. But the real magic for me is the ES2 pickup system. Every time I plug this thing in, I'm blown away. I've owned probably 15 electro-acoustic guitars of varying prices over the years, most with piezo systems, and a couple with add-on pickups such as the LR Baggs M1A - none of them can touch the tone of the ES2. I play the 214 through a Bose L1 Model II with the T1 ToneMatch mixer, and the sound is just amazing. I actually prefer the ToneMatch preset for the Taylor T5. The ES2 sounds so natural, I almost didn't like it at first! I was so used to "quacky" piezo systems that the tone from the Taylor was a bit foreign to me. But once I found the T5 preset, I was hooked. Even without the ToneMatch, the 214 sounds incredible - particularly the bass strings. They ring like a bell with an almost piano-like quality. I also do quite a bit of live-looping, and use a technique of "thumping" the bridge with my hand to create a kick-drum sound. The Taylor actually sounds like a kick drum - I kid you not. Taylor quality, with an ES2 pickup system, gloss finish, beautiful details (such as the small diamond fretboard inlays), and a Taylor hard case at this price point is just a no-brainer. Don't be swayed by the layered sides/back or the fact that it's made in Mexico; this thing is a true Taylor guitar. My first Taylor will definitely not be my last, and I can't wait to pick up another.