Arcam FMJ CD36 or Musical Fidelity A5?

These two CD players—which got great reviews when they first appeared—are suddenly in my price range. The Arcam CD36 now lists for $2000, and the MF A5 can be had for about the same. (The MF has recently been replaced with an A5.5, and presumably Arcam has a new FMJ CDP in the works.)

I have listened to the CD36, and I thought it would match well with the rest of my system. My Bryston B60R and Triangle Heliade ES’s can tend toward bright highs and light bass, so the smooth treble and strong bass of the Arcam player would make a nice match.

Problem solved, right? Not if you’re an audioholic. The MF A5 has been talked up so much (especially by the Absolute Sound) that I wonder if it wouldn’t be even better than the Arcam CD36. I’d go listen for myself, but my local MF dealer has already sold out.

I would appreciate the input of anyone who has had a chance to compare these two CDPs or to live with one or the other for an extended period.

Beyond sound quality, build quality is important. I can’t afford to change equipment very often, so I’d like something that will last a while.

Thanks for whatever input you might share.
I think you've zeroed in on a win/win choice between Arcam and MF. These are both excellent lines that provide excellent value.

Yet, I suspect these two players sound considerably different and the choice a matter of personal preference. Then again, what in audio isn't a matter of personal preference?

I would be interested also in hearing if someone out there has auditioned both the MF and Arcam players?

From what I've read (I've never heard either, mind you), I would expect the Musical Fidelity to have a somewhat softer edge than the Arcam.

My A3CR amp is very smooth, dynamic and detailed, but I am not so sure I'd describe the sound as tube-like.

I do have a pair of smaller (than the Heliades) Triangle Titus's that run off the MF A3CR is an exceptional pairing! I'm going to go out on a limb and say if it were me, I'd find most any MF piece paired with most any pair of Triangles to be very rewarding in general.

But if you are an nth degree of detail person, maybe the Arcam, but I might be a bit concerned that an Arcam paired with an ultra fast and detailed pair of Triangles might be too much of a good thing and have a bit more of an "edge" to it.
I have heard both players and in my opinion you cant touch the A5 at the price they are going for these days. My local Hi fi dealer sells both arcam and rega. After so many glowing reviews I decided to buy an apollo. my amp is an mf a5. It was nice but after a couple of months I decided to try the arcam and the saturn both. I have a really good relationship with that dealer so he let me take them both for a in home test drive. they were both better than the apollo, but then I realized that an A5 could be had here on audiogon with waranty for about 1700. I decided to give it a try (I figured I could sell it at a minimal loss if it didn't work out.) As it turns out it is leagues better than anything i've tried anywhere close to this price range. I thought it might be the synergy thing but it really isn't. I have tried it in a few of my friends systems and once in place none of them want to let the a5 go. I have never heard a better cd player. It really comes close to my turntable in terms of performance. (I thought I'd never say that) I am not sure what all the hype is all about with the new rega players but when you put the a5 against them they sound like mass market junk. (maybe the tubes) I hope this helps.
I would most likely go for the a5 or other MF CD player if I were to upgrade the CD in my system. I bought a second hand A3CR amp a while back and have been most pleased with the results. I know some are suspicious of MF because their equipment has received so many good reviews in certain audio mags, but I have to say I think the MF gear is the real McCoy in terms of sound quality from what I have observed and heard to-date with my first venture into the line.