Sean; the USB DAC that I have been citing does NOT connect to a CD transport, It connects directly to a computer i.e. my posts statements regarding the "hard drive" . With this methodology, the computer does not have a SPDIF (traditional) connection whatsoever. It streams pure data directly from the hard drive, WITHOUT the subsequent clock data. It is much different with this methodology. (It is also much more elegant). This is the ONLY way the sonic improvements that I am discussing can have any meaning. If there was a "traditional" CD transport involved, the USB carrying the data wouldn't yield any sonic improvements whatsoever (BTW: this is where your assumptions would be absolutely spot on). So, the complete elimination of having to carry clocking information from the CD transport to the DAC is where the huge jump factor relies (remember, the music data is now on a hard drive). With this in mind, any simplification of transferring the music data from point A to point B really does yield sonic wonders.
Drubin; Yes i have heard the Nova Physics player. I think it is an admirable attempt at solving many of CD issues. Like other offerings though, it is still a band-aid approach that doesn't simplify the transfer of music data as well as the USB approach . Again, the proof is in the pudding though. And this player doesn't actually stand at a complete different level above other UBER priced digital products. It is really good, yes. Revolutionary, well if so, then it should absolutely crush any other digital offering IMHO (which it doesn't achieve).
BTW: Even though my posts have been heavy handed technological discussions, I will always favor the digital product that sonically comes closest to a top level analog rig. IMHO way too many technological assumptions, WITHOUT direct comparison to a source of great music perfection (in my case, a great analog rig) are one of the reasons we are now accepting the crazy expensive digital mess and these inherent "band-aids".
Even if the best sounding digital front end turns out to be a Donkey spinning a CD, using a fifty cent flashlight, connected to an electronic slide rule, amplifying via a megaphone. If this "front end" truly sounds closer to a great analog rig, I'm buying it! ....and alot of Donkey food ;-)