Arcam FMJ CD33 vs Cary 306/200

Does anyone have an opinion of the sound of the Arcam FMJ CD33 vs Cary 306/200? My system is ever-evolving, much like many of yours, so going through the list of my current equipment may not be relevant.
However, my taste in music and preference for type of sound I look for does not change. I am a Jazz and Rock aficionado. I tend to value equipment that excels in imaging and soundstaging, while retaining the ability to deliver seemingly endless dynamics and tons of slam.
Given a budget of approximately $2,000, I am also not limiting myself to the two players in question. Perhaps a CD player with an exceptional volume control, negating the need for a preamp, may also be considered - an alternative most appealing. All opinions are welcome and will be respected, of course.
I'd say your feelings about using the Sony as a transport are right on. I wasn't blown away by the Sony on CD playback. SACD was pretty good however. I've heard good things about both the Benchmark and Bel Canot DACs, but haven't heard them in person. Good luck.
I compared Bel Canto and Benchmark at home in my system.
Liked the Bel Canto much better - much more involving, smoother, deeper soundstage, much more relaxed sounding throughout the entire spectrum, deeper bass. Benchmark kind of upset me a little, because I liked the features and the overall look of it better than Bel Canto, however, I care more about the sound, which in my system it was clear - Bel Canto came out as a winner. Both dacs were used with same transport, same digital cable. Differences between these 2 are very obvious in my system.
Benchmark sounded very much like what it is, a professional tool for recording studios. It did not have that kind of involvement Bel Canto offers. As far as comparing either of these dacs to Cary player, I can't say anything about that, sorry had never a chance to compare, but my assumption would be that if you like the way Cary sounds, chances are you won't like Benchmark DAC-1. Just my opinion. See the advantage with either of the dacs is that you can try 'em out if you order from audio advisor. Cary is the opposite, most likely it will not be possible to have a home audition of the player. It's all subjective as far as what you are looking for in sound. Just putting my $.02 in....

Hope this helps...
As far as I know, the Ayre is supposed to be smooth, yet a little bass-shy. If that is the case, it wouldn't do it for me. I have never heard it, though. Someone offline had also recommended the Consonance 2.2 (I believe it's Chinese made). I have never heard their stuff, so don't know the sound. Anyone on the Consonance 2.2?
The last think I'd call the Ayre is bass-shy. That is 1 of the things that impressed me the most with the Ayre is how well it fills the room with bass. In fact, I don't even run my Maggie 1.6s with a sub right now, I'm so happy with the Ayre for bass and dynamics.

If bass and slam are what your looking for, I suggest you look at a Krell player. I've never cared for their sound myself. But, their products consistently have the most bass I've ever heard. Not the best on imaging, soundstage and overrall quality of sound, IMO. But plenty of bass.