Good read folks and mostly non BS!
I too agree, like in loudspeaker world, what matter most is the amp, the crossover and the drivers!
About DVD-A I didn't quite knew it was so dead, and I didn't know SACD was flourishing really. I will read more into it, but most likely won't have the dough to spend on such a specific digital file playback device.
The market in this economy and the actual state of most consumer sound reproduction systems pretty much say that FLAC 44Khz 16bits is what most people can afford and most likely won't hear any difference with higher rez.
Oh and a good DAC is crucial, the bit perfect source is way over rated but if your DAC is bad, you will hear harshness.
Meridian was thinking ahead with their active crossover active speakers in the 80s and the consumer industry didn't follow because of cost, design and habits, but technology found in world class studio monitors says differently. Now with their digital crossover in solid state world, they lead the way. Still most consumers use crude passive crossover in loudspeakers and spend thousands on cables (for the most nuts of them even if speaker cable do matter).
Pure quality and intelligence are utopia, what I like in the best posts on this thread is that you never lost track of reality and its obligation to respond to the market, it's sad but true.