Nice. Glad to know that a few of us still like CD players. :)
I was in the same boat a few months back, and checked out players from Marantz, NAD, and Cambridge Audio. I wound up going with an Onkyo C-7030 because I was feeling a little cheap ($200) at the time.
The two seem extra crazy-
"Headphones used to mix in every major studio."
Isn't that a flat out lie?
"Never interfere with the track"
Then wouldn't you want a flat frequency response?
Also, I think I detected a Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat reference in the original post. :)
I haven't heard the Sony XB700s, but I've read about all that bass. Check out the chart-
edit- looks to me like the Sony headphones will rattle your skull. :)
I used to have a decent amount of Audio Alchemy gear. At one point I think my setup was transport / some sort of anti jitter interface box / DAC. They made this odd powered digital cable.
I recently put together a little headphones only system- just a CD player and headphone amp. I'd planned to use my JVC-XLZ1050TN ($700 in the mid 90s). It was still at my dad's house and I was wondering how that old monster would sound. But he said it died...