Audio Aero 24/192 comparision questions

Answer any question(s) you feel like:

1) Does anything compare to the Audio Aero 24/192 below $3000 ? (My priorities are soundstage then mid to bass detail). Does the Ayre CX7e or Resolution Audio compare?

2) Does the MK II version simply add pre-amp inputs and a digital output?

3) Is it worth getting a high-end universal instead of the MK II? (Lexicon, Esoteric, Wadia)
I own the 24/192 (Audio Aero Capitole) and I really don't think that a high end universal can compare, for the money. The AA's ability to play redbook CDs is really good and it is good enough to compare to SACDs, etc., especially when you have the huge number of standard CDs available and not so many SACDs. A high-end universal will prompt you to duplicate the purchase of many recordings whereas just owning the Capitole will spare you the expense.

The MK II has volumn control; but you can't adjust bass, etc. One of the great features of the AA is that it allows you to listen to the recording as the engineer wanted you; this being a mixed blessing as the AA is unforgiving to a poorly mixed/engineered recording. You will find yourself paying more attention to the label (Rhino, Chesky, etc.) when buying a CD. The latest AA has an analog passthru, allowing you to run your tuner through it. I use it for Satellite(toslink), DVD(coax) and I will soon be using the AES/BTU digital on my Sims transporter for the best streaming internet audio. I also bi-amp my AA with RCA to my living room and balanced to my office. You can't run vinyl through it without a pre.

So, with all of the above, think of all of the money saved on components.
1) I have not heard the Ayre or RA.
$3,000 gives you a lot to work with,however.
The MKI is a great player and it is also a great preamp with handy inputs and my setup is similar to Unclejeff.As far as outputs I use the XLR to the amp and RCA to the subs. really usefull.
2) Not all MKII's have the Analogue Inputs like mine does not.It can be added,which may be my next upgrade.
3) The other players mentioned could be okay, but the full functioning preamp saves major $$ also in pc's,ic's,isolation etc.

The MKI is a beautiful sounding rig,has great looks,and takes you to the heart of the music and really that is what matters most.