After reading your 2nd post, I see what you are talking about. I wasn't clear on the fact that you were talking about 2 different boards in the same machine.
"By now you have discovered that life is all about 'packaging' and 'marketing'. The parts you find in most electronic items are usually from a single source. As one example you will find the chips in Sony CD players to be almost identical, with power supplies and other components slightly different. Sony also sells their chips and transports to others. Small manufacturers like Electrocompanient, do not have the resources to do their own chips and transports, so they go to the 'big guys', as do most of the other hi end brands. I think most buyers understand that hi end business model. Think about it, some Kia parts are to be found in BMW's. Who knew."
I think that statement applies to mass market brands more than it does to high end brands. While its true that most high end brands need to buy things like transports and dac chips, its what they do with them that's important. Transports can be modified. Chips can be paired with better components and designs. For some examples of what I am talking about, search for some pics of some common high end CD player brands. (Wadia, Ayre, BAT, Cary, ML, Krell, Arcam/DCS and whatever else you feel is in that league). You can almost always find pics with the top covers off the machines. To me, the inside of those components look like well made high end audio components. The inside of a Sony player dosen't; not even the good models. Teac, of course is an exception. I'm not talking about a fancy case, but the quality and implication of the actual components used to support the off the shelf parts made by the big companies. There will, no doubt, be some exceptions. Maybe the EMP-2 is one of them (I won't say, one way or the other, because I don't know the player that well). Armed with a little research and a lot of listening, I think your chances of getting stuck with an overpriced, average sounding CD player, is pretty low. As far as putting Kia parts in a BMW, that would be a very smart move for BMW. (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself.)