Re: Absolute best source?
The absolute best source? I once heard a Musical Fidelity player run through a Conrad Johnson 40W integrated tube amp driving a pair of horn speakers that sounded about as good as anything I've ever listened to. In fact, it was the first time I've ever heard a horn speaker that didn't rip my ears off. Living in Oklahoma doesn't afford me much chance to audition many of the higher end players. In fact, the shop that had this equipment closed its doors a while back narrowing my opportunities even more.
I'm left reading forums and websites looking for reviewers whose tastes (and budget) seem to parallel mine. And then to the internet I go. I'm currently using a Marantz DV9600 which pleases me just fine. I yearn to hear an Esoteric X-03, but alas, circuit city doesn't have them.