the fmj series from arcam is among the best 'front end' values in digital audio. it may indeed go up against more pricey outboard dacs, and may better many as well.
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with digital improvements just dont pop out as they do with say a amp or pre amp.There is just not that big of noticeably improvements,of course people will say this is bs, but they are the ones just trying to sell you something.You're better off getting a different pre or power amp.Arcam makes good stuff.One of the few companies around that sell stuff at pretty good prices not to mention the well above average sound quality.
I agree with Coffeey. I own the CD36 as well and am very pleased with it. Although I have not done any great compare/showdowns with CD players... I too have found changing your pre-amp and/or amp will give you a better bang for your buck as far as sound improvement or just change for the sake of change.