Those who have read the November issue of Brit mag 'Hi-Fi World' will be aware that they reviewed the ND-S1 with Onkyo's new CD/amp combo. Conclusion was that the C-5AL amp/Diamond 10.1 combination sounded best with the C-5VL CDP playing SACDs, closely followed by redbook CD from the same source. Unfortunately, the ND-S1 bought up the rear in the reviewers opinion, but there was no attempt to test it with an external DAC into the Onkyo amp.
I still maintain that there is a tendency, conscious or otherwise, to circle the wagons around the humble CDP in the face of a threat like this, but can we realistically expect such relatively new technology to be an instant improvement on a device that has been under constant refinement for 30 years ? Another Brit magazine recently had an article on the early years of the CD, pointing out that the earliest players were overpriced junk but conceding that they learnt quickly and managed to take market share from vinyl. I'm not painting either the Onkyo or the Wadia in a similar light, but it may simply be that we need to walk before we can run.
I'll still give the Onkyo a shot, but my expectations have been lowered and thats probably a good thing.