The equivalent music server to SOTA transports and players would be either the Burmester 111 or the Constellation Cygnus. These are mega buck products to be sure, but it's possible that they are already outperforming even the finest disc spinners ever made. Hopefully in the next few years the tech from these machines will trickle down. The other positive trend is a shift away from just higher sample rates. First everybody had to get to 24/192, but now pretty much anything does that, it's no longer a selling point. A few brands are flirting with 32/384, but it's pointless. Nobody actually has music at rates that high, because an album would be enormous. You'd need a Blu-ray disc's storage space for one stereo recording. It's like having a 100 megapixel pocket camera.
Rather than sample rates, the new hot issue is jitter, which actually makes a real difference. If you want to outperform the other guys you need to use higher quality, more accurate clocks, digital receivers, etc, and that makes a real difference, even with 16/44 files.
Ah, Burmester already has a music server, I didn't know that. Well I'm all for servers taking over because that means cheaper legacy stuff on the used market . Indeed sampling rates were a hot topic there for a while. I have heard bad upsampling and I have heard good upsampling but they all had a false sense of air. The mbl was the lesser offender of this but still exhibited it to a degree. About jitter...I'm convinced after hearing the AN that throwing more processing at the problem is not the solution, for me anyway. There is no analog filtering, no clocking, or any of that stuff in the AN. I was very skeptical before I listened to it.
I mean how could just letting an unfiltered signal through without reclocking it actually sound good? I don't know but it does. All this time I have been thinking that dacs and transports need the highest quality clocks and filters in order to sound good. I could not have been more wrong. When I listened to the AN, I kid you not, it was the first time my cd's sounded indistinguishable from vinyl. It's not even the top of the line dac kit and yet it already betters some $10k dacs I have heard. It's a giant killer for sure. I have been meaning to get a hold of an AN transport that lacks clocking as well but no such luck yet.
If you have the $5,999 to spend on the Overdrive SE, I strongly urge you to take a look at the AN kits first. They even have the option of adding a USB input now.
Edited by computerparts - 7/18/12 at 3:16pm