I have had my Sony 9000 ES only since last Friday, the sound from the analog outputs are extremely wide band and sound really good, considering I have only half the hours needed for break in. As far as this player as a CD transport, my CD' s have not sounded better, using it as is. Perhaps you will be pleasantly surprised by what you hear. On DVD movies, it does an amazing job. The image quality is absolutely the best I have ever seen, and this is my fourth high end DVD . The digital output you are considering using into a DAC, has provided perfect steering for my Dolby Digital 5.1 decoder, along with improved dynamics and bandwidth. If this is any indication of it's ability, I would think it could be a terrific unit for a DAC, if one is needed at all.
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