With those requirements, out there is an AMR CD-77 that has your name on it!
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Hi, I have the CD-77 in my system since July 2007 and have never looked back.
As I have been raving a few times about this machine, perhaps Ill put one or the other thing in perspective first. I believe there is no absolute best cdp or any other gear for that matter since 1) any particular periphery of amps, cables, isolation etc. will influence its performance and may, alas, just constitute the catastrophic mismatch, and 2) we all have our musical tastes, sonic preferences and expectations (luckily). So, whatever I say, dont believe me before you heard it in your own system.
Having said that, I can now start raving again :^o
This is the best cdp I had the pleasure of hearing within the confines of my four walls. I had been auditioning a number of machines in a price range of up to EUR 10-12k. Comparable to you, I wasnt very much concerned with SACD or DVD-A, after the CD-77 even less. I tried to capture my impressions in the following thread, among others:
On top, with regard to build quality, this machine is without much serious competitors.
When I read your wish for USB input, then, I thought this is just the little thing that will set it apart from other very good machines.
I chose Direct Master II as default setting, pretty soon actually, it appeared just that decisive bit firmer than Master I that most of my auditioning was done with (probably also a question of overall system character). Depending on the kind of music and - even more imo - the quality of the recording, the filter modes are an interesting field for experiment, but I rarely use the other options these days. Looks like the Direct options play an important role in achieving the "analog" character that is so dear to many CD-77 users, but then again, sometimes it's fun to inject some "crispiness" with the upsampling mode. These other modes are by no means a digital travesty, but with your taste for Zanden, I suspect your default would likely be one of the Direct Masters as well.