I think we also need to factor in our personal preference of what we look for in sound/music and the synergy we achieve from our setup. Just out of curioisity, in what way does zx-1 performs better than ak120 in the sq department? I do recall zx-1 has a good sound stage.
I think this is one of the best statements I have seen on this forum and is basically the gist of what I was getting at in my last post, thank you!
I say this to anyone who asks me what to get at this price point, go listen as at this level it is more about subtleties of sound rather than massive differences. From what I have heard of all the different top end players all of them play exceedingly well. I went with the 120 as it met as close as I could get to my own personal nirvana in sound reproduction, it was not better or worse than any of the other top line players, just suited how I like music delivered better for me.
Its when I see blanket statements that get my hackles up as there are folks here who may not have the chance to listen before purchase and may follow those blanket statements. For those people I will reiterate what I have just said. At this level, just as in cars, there are no bad players. Read a balanced overview from many people and get to know what those people say with various equipment so as to get where they are coming from in terms of how they like their sound reproduced, that will help I feel.
I don't know about you other folks who use the top end gear but I do feel a certain responsibility towards others when it comes to describing my equipment to achieve a balance so they can make good choices. I am not saying i get it right each time but I do try to achieve that balance and objectivity and that is where I was coming from in my previous post, not a personal attack and that is why I liked so much Cosmic's post.