Re: Absolute best source?
Without a doubt, the very best stand alone CD player is . . .
The Mark Levinson No. 51!
It has the single lowest jitter data stream going directly to some of the best sounding hand matched DACs available.
But - It cost $20k, and the 128 that were built, were sold before production started. But you might pick one up in mint condition for a steal.
It's ability to play 44.1 kHz CDs as though they were SACDs, DVD-A, BluRay LPCM is so striking - any of the 500+ demonstrations I've given of my KSS Cinema and Listening Room Designs have left people stunned by how good this Levinson actually is. And it also plays and does the same for DVD-A and DVD-V. It has the most accurate video color space of any DVD player on the market.
I hope they make a similar "no holds barred" BD player in the very near future.