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Posted by Joel_Waterman on January 31, 2007 at 22:04:37:
I think that if you have the money you should probably go for an Esoteric. Best transport in the biz bar none. Stock they are reasonably good though I did not really warm to them. Literally. They sound pretty cool in unmodified form. But no doubt they are nice machines, especially the (U)X-series (bloody well better be for that amount of money).
This gives you some options. You can add a very high quality DAC. You can have them modified. Expensive in both cases. But a viable long term option in my view. Maybe even the best one.
My experience with modified units is that if they fail the service one gets from what often are 'boutique' shops is examplary. I would not hesitate to buy a modified unit because you are afraid of repair issues.
It takes a pretty special (read expensive) DAC to better what the modification circuit provides you in terms of sonic benefits.
And SA-CD players lasting 10 years ... we don't know yet, do we :-)