consider the Muse model 11. I own the model 9 and love the sound and picture.
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I have a UDP-1 coming. You'll get a full report, tho mine cost 3K, a little more than what you thought. I listen to large-scale Classical, so the machine will be put through the paces. I'll be listening for sweet strings, focused deep bass, and the all-important mid-bass bloom--the 'torso' of the orchestra. Will it be a six-pack? Or flabby. We'll see....
Forget the Mccormack, It had mediocre measurements from Stereophile. Said it was not transparent enough to reveal the difference between cd and sacd or dvd-audio. Also, I believe it downconverts from dsd to pcm, rather than reproduce true dsd. I've had my Marantz DV 9500 for about 3 weeks now and it sounds fabulous. It's very well made and the disc drawer sounds solid and substantial when it opens and closes. Mods are now available for it and it may end up being the most popular of all universal players for mods.
Actually, about 2 months ago I bought the Onkyo DS1000 after auditioning the Denon 3910 (ModWright Modded), Denon 5910, McCormack UDP-1, and Marantz DV9500. The 5910 was the best, but not 1200 better than the next two, which were the Marantz and Onkyo. The only reason that I choose the Onkyo is that it has an IEEE1394 connection that the Marantz did not have. Both great players. Thanks for the info.
There's nothing wrong with converting from DSD to PCM. Some of the best players in the world do it, and some of the best digital engineers in the world agree that DSD is inherently noisy unless you use a lot of sound-damaging filtering. PCM is quieter, with a lower noise floor and DSD to PCM conversion is the preferred method for many discriminating manufacturers and their customers.