Agree that most players under $5-$7K in general sound pretty much a like with subtle differences. The only stock one box player I have heard that competes well with my modded sony scd-1 on redbook is the audio research reference and that is a $9-$10 K player. I would not buy one because it doesn't do SACD. And spending that much on a digital player right now doesn't seem wise with all the dynamics of hi-rez digital downloads and the sort.
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