Small hi-res player?

I am looking for a small portable music player that is able to playback hi-res files (at least, 24/96), but either I am blind, or these are still rare. One wonders why, now that these chips are cheap. I am able to record in 24/96 from my vinyl analog rig, and there is just no competition, even downsampled, it sounds much better than CD. Yet it is a shame not being able to use the hi-res format directly. I use a Cowon D2, which is very capable player, but it cannot go beyond the 16/44 (CD format level). I now have 80 gb of analog music on my hard disk and would really like to use it. Any advice? Input appreciated.
If you have notebook, you can use Apogee Duet FireWire interface which you can connect through USB. This toy is near $500 but will probably 'squish' any player you can only think off.
Thanks Marakanetz, the Apogee looks nice. My question was for a different product, however, a music player for travelling, running etc. Is it hard to make them take 24/96 or higher sound formats, or is it just branch inertia we are seeing here?
No answer, so I'll report my own findings. First, if you haven't tried listening to vinyl outdoors, try it. Cheaper than a health studio. The sweet spot no longer means only the listening chair.

Cowon's new O2 player is supposed to be able to play 96/24 files directly, yet it is a bit big, and I want to see some user reports first. The best sound is DSD, and I am investing in a Korg MR-1. It seems that the new Oppo will be able to play DSD discs.

I agree that 16bit/44,1kHz (old rbcd) is not enough for music (it was never enough), and especially today when storage media (hard drives, SACD discs, DVD discs) allow for recording music in full resolution (DSD or PCM 24/96) hi-rez is a must in any hi-fi system, but never thought about playing high definition music through portable player :)

Have you listened to any hi-rez music on portable player yet? I'm very curious whether there's a difference between hi-rez files and standard consumer formats played on portable player
I do know I enjoy my 24/96 vinyl rips even downsampled to 16/44, and since these sound much better than CDs (on the Cowon D2), I have little doubt that the original 24/96 would sound better still (and, according to what people say, DSD to 24/96 another notch up). Note, good earphones are needed to appreciate the differences; I use the Shure E3 (moving around) and sometimes Sennheiser HD600 (sitting down).
I've finally invested in a DSD recorder, Korg Mr-1, following advice here on Audiogon. Like other users I enjoy the results. Even downsampled. The Korg Mr-1 DSD recordings sound noticeably better than my first PCM 24/96 solution - larger soundscape, more detail, better sculpturation of musical sound, improved treble, although not perfect - some digital glare remains, but much reduced. The main effect is improvement due to the higher information level. I use Shure E3 earplugs and Sennheiser HD600 headphones, comparing.

So, not just hi-res PCM, but DSD playback ability - that would be the dream small portable. I think this is a case of making business listen up to emerging general public demand.
Re Audioholik question:

Have you listened to any hi-rez music on portable player yet?

I have listened over the last months, jogging and walking. With a mixed repertoire on cd and vinyl recordings on the Cowon, I tend to skip the cd tracks. They don't give the same energy, musical feel and excitement as the vinyl. This is especially evident on the best vinyl (e g., the new Genesis 70-75 remastered LPs). Of course, the benefits of vinyl recordings will vary with the quality of the vinyl rig, - the pickup, arm, player and preamp, and the record itself. But from my experience, most of the benefits described here can be achieved on a moderate level of investment.
This is becoming a one-man-band effort, but let me fill in with some new experience.

The Korg MR-1 does its job very well. Perhaps 80 percent right, 20 wrong, compared to what I've heard before. The wrong has to do with a certain hardness or harshness of tone especially in the treble. Yet most of this may be due to the limited DAC on the Korg, not the recording itself.

It is the best option for getting good digital sound out of vinyl, at a reasonable price - in my view. A one-trick pony, some called it, but it does its trick very well, and with the Audiogate software, export to PCM formats is easy, and the benefits are noticeable also downsampled. They include more room, ambience, clarity and liveability of the music. Most of the flat-wall effect of digitizing music is gone. Very good, in my opinion.

My best listening from digital sources, now, consists of the Korg Mr-1 direct to my Sennheiser 600 headphones. My mobile headphones, the in-ear Shure E3 is good, but the Sennheiser is much better and more suited to listening for differences on this level. The Korg recordings sound good and sometimes spectacular, compared to traditional digitizing, using the Korg itself as listening source, direct DSD. On my Cowon D2 downsampled to PCM-CD-level, the improvements are more muffled but still a step up.

I have a suspicion that a good tube headphone amp would make the listening experience direct from the Korg even better, but have not tried it yet. The Korg lacks digital out, but is very portable and easy to use.
Correction: "The Korg lacks digital out" is not quite right. It uses USB, so files can be transferred to the PC. The Audiogate software can export between MP3, PCM, and the DSD format.
We won't get hi-res players unless we use pressure. A-goners use Cowon, Archos, Sony, others. We need to make our voice known, to get better audio resolution. I've mailed Cowon, please do the same.
tripped over this thread while looking for something else, and now I cant even remember what I was looking for.
What a great idea! Especially now that portables have such large memory capacity.
We are talking about an ipod-like portable that would play hi rez right?
I dont do records yet but like the idea of dvda or sacd on a portable. Is that possible?
Thanks Jimmy,
Yes, we are talking about ipod-like players supporting high resolution.
I wonder why this development is so "delayed". It might help if audiophiles lobby producers to get going. I am in friendly contact with the Cowon importer to get new info on this matter. A major goal is to get PCM 192/24 and DSD playback, which would lift the whole business to a new level, to my ears.
that would be great. I'd be ready to go with the pcm 192/24 and a portable with a digital output.
I would guess that it is the drm on sacd and dvd/a sources that is a sticking point.
Decoding DSD seems to be easy, according to technical papers I've browsed. I have paid for the music (vinyl recordings) I am playing. I bet most audiophiles would fall of their chair if they heard the quality of it, played back on my Jade OTL headphone amp (no question, it beats 192/24 PCM also, at least through the Korg's DAC). But - we are not allowed to go in that direction, are we? We HAVE paid for the music, yet we're not allowed to copy it to another device, for personal use? It reminds me of the people-unfriendly business model of some big data companies - if you use three computers, you got to buy three program licenses. "Money doesn't talk, it swears". The irony of this is that people like me, who complain about this, are exactly the same people who have invested A LOT over the years in music, audio, etc. And I don't just mean money.
Have anyone compared Apogee Duet FireWire 96/24 PCM output to the DSD output from the Korg Mr1, recording from vinyl?