i'm sort of going thru the same thing...i just bot the ayre cx7. the first thing i noticed about the cx7 was its well-defined bass. also, it brings out subtle 'textures' in the music and has lots of detail. actually, in my system (sim i-5 integrated + epos 22 speakers) the ayre provides too much detail; specifically, the vocals sound abit etchy and digital. dont get me wrong, the ayre is a fine player, but IMHO it wud likely sound better with warmer (eg tube) equipment and warmer/darker speakers. so, i'm thinking about selling the ayre and getting cary 303/200 (!) or jolida 100a. fwiw, i've demo-ed the cx7 and 303/200 thru an audio research amp/preamp (all tube) setup and i thot cx7 was superior in every respect than the cary. i'm begining to think that no amount of $$ can make up for the inherent limitations of redbook (44.1khz/16bit) and that at a certain price point, synergy with the rest of your equipment is quite important. i also demo-ed the fog v2. it's a fine player, too, but has some operational quirks and the US distributor (vmax) is horrible, so caveat emptor.