Consider the Linn Unidisk 1.1.
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I've considered the Linn and have it on my list, but I've always wondered about the build quality. Not to say that the Linn is a low-quality product, but that it doesn't seem to employ the same vibration dampening-through-mass that a number of other top-end players use.
I've heard the Esoteric DV50 (and liked it), but haven't had a chance to evaluate the Linn. Can you compare the sonic characteristics of the two (on SACD)?
I've had an Esoteric DV-50s for some time now and shortly after aquiring it also had a unidisc 2.1 (I know Jim, you got the 'big one') so I can tell you quite clearly the differences between these two, FWIW they both were ran through a Linn Kisto at the time to a fully active Linn setup.
The 2.1 was a little more musical, but lacked some of the detail and separation of the DV-50, and the DV-50 clearly had deeper and tighter bass. Some might find the Esoteric to distinct, and some have said it's analitical, but I would not go so far as that. It is just more detailed than the Linn.
FWIW after a month or so with both connected, I finally sat the wife down to see her opinion, she preferred the DV-50 for it's detail and bass, while I could have easily lived with either, the DV-50 won me over too and that is still in one of my systems today... well actually it's on the counter as I had to try something else for a while but it's still in heavy rotation.
There really isn't a whole lot of competition out there. It's pretty much the esoteric or the Linn - and like you, I find the Unidisk to reflect somewhat poor build quality for the price, and I found the transport to be too slow in operation for my taste. I prefer $10k+ audio pieces to respond quickly to user input
The DV-60's are holding their value better because they are newer than the UX-3's, even the UX-3 SE's. The DV-60's have the more up to date video circuitry, including upscaling to 1080p and HDMI outputs, which the UX-3's do not have. Though the UX-3 does have a DVI output, it's not 1080p.
FWIW, I've also owned a Esoteric DV-50S, and the DV-60's video performance is much better.
To me the HD format war isn't worth worrying about right now. My display has a native resolution of 1024x768 and that isn't likely to change much in the near future.
I also doubt that there will be true reference quality universal players that incorporate the new formats for some time to come.
I've heard good things about the Arcams, but they don't have balanced 2ch outputs... that's a show stopper for me.
I wouldnt spend allot of money on a universal player with the HD wars underway. Im using a low budget option for very good DVD-V playback (which doubles as a good, but secondary DVD-A and SACD player); the Pioneer Elite DV-79AVi, which can be had for under $1000 and can be modified into a giant killer (if you really like). The DV-79Avi has HDMI, and lots of other HT goodies but I think it's limited to 1018i, and no balanced outputs.
Its a pretty good at CD, SACD, and DVD-A... I did a fair amount of A/B comparisons with my GNSC modified Wadia 831. The Wadias CD playback bettered the Pioneers SACD and DVD-A but I dont have a lot invested in those formats The Wadia seamed to provide a fuller soundstage and better clarity across the spectrum. But for <$1000 with plenty of upgrades available (based upon its predecessor the DV-59avi) I felt it was a no brainer. And there are silver faced versions out there as well.
Overall the Pioneers build is good but I do worry about the drive mechanism. The draw isnt as sturdily as I would like.
Just my 2 cents.
No deal. News flash...public forums are for the sake of all involved, not just the original poster.
Though I will take note that you have some issues, and I will not respond to you in the future....
If you do not wish for anyone to read and/or comment on what you have to say, do not post it in a public forum. It really is that simple.