I have sought the best CD/SACD sound I can get for years.
Accordingly, when Stereophile raved about the sound of the Ayre C5xe i bought one in 2006 (for $6000).
It is ceratinly very good, and the MP upgrade made it sound even better.
But, kind listener, the OPPO BDP-95 sounds even better, and only cost me $1000.
I think Stereophile is acting unethically if they now test ANY CD player without doing a direct comparison to the BDP-95 or BDP-105 (the same unit with a couple of added features).
Doing a review on some $5000 or $7000 CD and NOT comparing it to the OPPO is just plain dishonest.
If the more expensive unit does not sound better (and it will not, IMO), then Stereophile has an obligation to say so.
This is going to make the makers of these more expensive units unhappy, so I guess Stereophile has a problem. They seem to have a choice between losing the ad revenue of those companies, or dancing around the truth.
Not a fun choice to make, I suppose.
The fact, though, is that the manufacturers of these more expensive units already know that their products have been made obsolete and drastically overpriced by the OPPO, and they are pretty much screwed until they make a better model for a much lower price. Lots of luck on that!