Sounds like you are describing the Bryston digital players, BDP-1 ($2200) and BDP-2 ($3000).
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Getting the best result from this requires that you use USB, not S/PDIF, and force the Master Clock outside the server in a USB converter. There are at least 2 servers that output music streams over USB, Antipodes and Sonore.
A good USB converter is the Off-Ramp 5 with Dynamo power supply. Avg jitter in the 30psec range.
Okay, the Bryston BDP-2 reminds me of Chris Connaker's C.A.P.S. (Computer Audiophile) player. It adds the eSATA option for the external hard drive which I want and upgrades the OS from Linux to Atom. Chris' new version upgrades his C.A.P.S. to Windows 8.
If you have a Firewire DAC (I don't), you can add it to the player. My problem, is that I prefer the sound of my coaxial connection over my USB one in my current setup.
Steve, are you saying that the USB converter makes the difference when using USB, and so then preferable over S/PDIF?