CD: 100+ Threads, no answers

I'm still trying to buy a sub-$1000 CD player to fill the interval between now and whenever the formats and technologies shake out. I'd rather buy one box but wouldn't exclude a transport/dac combination. Ideally, within the price, the player would handle current formats and sound good. From what I have learned here and elsewhere, thousands of current cd releases have HDCD encoding and I have some that sound enhanced on my current, non-HDCD player. So I have made the assumption that the HDCD chip is desireable. But then I also see that HDCD is a "fading" technology and higher sampling rates than 44.1 MHz is the future. I have posted in other threads that I tried the MSB Link DAC III and couldn't hear enough improvement, only a slight difference in sound to justify the expenditure. Several manufacturers including Musical Fidelity,Rega, and Granite have recently come to market with new units that lack HDCD but have, not one or two, but several outputs to an outboard decoder. The questions, then, are: 1. with all the HDCD software out there, why do recent units like the Planet, Ah Tjoeb, Jolida, MF AC3, Cambridge 500 and AR Complete omit the capability? 2.Have these manufacturers, perhaps knowing that even cheap DVD players make excellent transports(?), plan future offerings of DAC's only and thus have eschewed the expense of including the Pacific Microsonics HDCD chip? Even if it means losing some short term sales? 3. Does the Microsoft purchase of Pacific Microsonics and MP3 technology indicate a conspiracy, Oliver Stone? 4. Last, and most to the point, my short list of one box units, Jolida 603b, Rega Planet, Cambridge 500 and CAL Icon MK II are all lacking HDCD. what will I miss?
I purchased the newest version of the Toshiba SD-2200 DVD player, new, for $300. It has HDCD and 24/96 PCM, etc. Out of curiousity, I used it as a source in my high-end audio system, temporarily replacing a MicroMega transport and a Cal Audio Alpha DAC. Not knowing what to expect, I admit suprise at how good it sounds. The DAC on the new Toshiba unit is obviously very good. The features are about the same as on their older version of a $1,000 DVD player. Since HDCD is important to you, why not spend $300 now and enjoy the musi, with the bonus of having a great DVD player?
Hi Kitch. Pacific Micro's HDCD is wonderful, has lots of current software avaliable, & it even makes your 16 bit RedBook discs sound better. Compare a regular disc to the HDCD release of same music: you'll be blow away. I've had an EAD Ultradisc 2000 (was TAS's favorite one box player) for about 2 years & I'm in love with it. So warm & smooth, yet still detailed. Listed for $2500 before discontinuation last summer (I asked why: EAD went all-HomeTheater they said, but the Enlightened Audio Designs Rep. was sick that they dropped it). You can pick one up for around $1000 now & you'll never regret it. This machine is a GEM!
Still not an answer, but do some reading at if you have not already.
Since most CDs are not HDCD probably companies like Cambridge would rather keep the cost and price down than add HDCD. I find most HDCD I've heard are nice, but actually do not find the difference all that much when I play the CD on a non HDCD system. All of the Rotel's all have HDCD including the RCC 5 Disc Changer. For MSRP List/USED prices the RCD951 is $500/$300, RCD971 $700/$500, RCD991 $1300/$850. On HDCD they all sound very similar. For non HDCD the RCD991 is worth the extra money; the RCD971 is very very good; and I found the RCD951 kind of bright, hard sounding; and would skip it. The other players under $500 like the Cambridge D500SE sound a lot better than the RCD951 IMO. Interesting, that the Cambridge 500 has a replaceable/upgradeable chip. The front face of the unit has a HDCD light, so it looks like they plan on having a upgrade option sometime in the future ???