Arcam FMJ 23 CDI just spent three days living with and auditioning the Arcam FMJ in my #1 system and I can't say enough good things about the unit or the auditioning process. As it fits in your stated specifications ($2200MSRP/$1850Street and both short and compact), I believe I will rave on.
At this price level, you should be able to borrow a unit and try it out with your other stuff. The silver loaner Arcam FMJ 23 changed the whole character of my #1 system. Between solidstate electronics, silver interconnects, redrivered Frieds with higher tweeter SPL output, and BurrBrown DACs, my system is right in between bright and "crunchy". The Arcam made it considerably more musical and emotionally involving, greater clarity and detail of low level program material. Also less fatiguing. I usually read while listening to music in the evening, and I found (for a change) myself putting my book down more and more often to listen to the new found beauty in old musical friends. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but signal source components are of primary importance in system performance and are the easiest place to effect material system character changes. Try before you buy.
The Arcam's ring DAC is really amazing. After trying it with a bunch of well-recorded CDs of music I love from all genres, I went for the several mid 80s classical CDs I have with significant technical problems; they normally reproduce with rude and most unmusical electronic noises. The Arcam's DAC cleaned them all up! For Head-Fi-ers, the Arcam also has two (2) sets of analog line outputs allowing connection from the unit to both your speakers amp and your headphone amp directly and at all times. I should also mention this is an HDCD unit and makes use of Pacific Microsonics excellent filter for HDCD decoding and to make all redbook CDs shine their best. I should also mention that the Arcam is a unit generally held to make significant changes during the lengthy (300 hour) break-in period; my loaner had more than 300 hours on its clock (closer to 400 when it went back!). Design and build on the Arcam FMJ are definitely first-class (dare I say "Brit"?) and I felt a certain confidence that the quality here would reflect in durability down the road.
I felt very badly returning the Arcam FMJ loaner, but am in the process of voting with my own dollars for my own new black FMJ 23. While Stereophile carries the Arcam FMJ 23 as a "C" component, I think this is an advertising revenues issue (Arcam and their distributer can't spend enough and the "A" and "B" component manufacturers and their distributors spend a much greater aggregate amount). May also be a trace of price elitism; compared with the "A" components, the FMJ is a steal. With the number of reviewers who are actually buying the Arcam FMJ 23 for themselves, and the real value the unit represents in the marketplace, any rational audiophile has to question the "C" classification. As an aside, this is one of the first audio components I have purchased in the last 35 years that I do not see eventually upgrading from the getgo.
With SACD and DVD-A gaining no real world traction, and a wall full of redbook CDs, HDCDs, and high res CDs to enjoy for the foreseeable future, the Arcam FMJ gets my nod. Now if I can just make it through this trial separation . . .