I have a Toshiba HD-D2 (same as A2), and its only audio outputs are HDMI, 2-channel analog, and Toslink. I use the Toslink connected to a Boston Acoustics AVP7 (same engine as Outlaw 990 and Sherwood Newcastle), and therefore it functions as an external DAC. Through this one Toslink conduit, the Toshiba sends--and the AVP7 decodes--two-channel CD, multi-channel DVD, and multi-channel HD DVD, the latter downsampled as a DTS stream.
I haven't particularly noticed excessive load times when playing CDs, but I wasn't using it that way that much. I don't know if it was my newfound interest in vinyl or what, but I stopped playing audio discs through the Toshiba.
I recently bought an Oppo DV-980H to play CDs and surround SACDs and DVD-As, and I like that player for that purpose very much. It's also a good std. DVD upsampler.