Yes! it sounds that good! HDCD is a great 20 bit format with PLENTY of material out there. Discs costs the same as redbook, but sound SO MUCH better on any decent system that anyone can tell the difference immediately, even the uninitiated. HDCD just smokes out redbook & doesn't cost $25ea. like SACD's do. Don't let the naysayers talk you out of this; it's a real treat. An HDCD decoding player makes any redbook 16 bit disc sound better as well.
Any of the players that were mentioned above would be competetive; don't forget about the Sim Audio as well. I believe you'd be happy with either the NuVista or any of the Cary's; let your budget decide. I'm still running the EAD U2000 but was told that Cary's better it now. I will probably just hod-rod my Ultradisc, I'm so pleased with it even today.
Adding some comments that I just culled from the archives...
[quote]I do not find the Musical Fidelity A308cr clinical at all, but I could see someone who is very happy with a more lush, less detailed CD player seeing it that way. I guess it depends on what you are listening to now and your personal preferences. When I got my purchased my present CD player I went to a dealer to change my amp/preamp because I thought that was the problem in my system. He suggested that the problem was the Cary CD player. He is also a Cary dealer. He was right and I purchased the Musical Fidelity CD player. I have not looked back.[/quote]
Also see: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1022596497&read&keyw&zzmusical+fidelity