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(Grand Mother Funk - The Holy Grail)

It's time to take up the cudgels for Japanese Hifi. Yes, I know that I'm not very hip with this opinion.
Far from it, it's rather more hip to say: "Forget chink hifi crap;
German, British, American ... [feel free to fill in your favourite country] is the best.
No real hifi or highend lover would buy chink stuff!"

All that I can say is: "What a crap. All these guys should be forced to hear whateverPOD all the day".
Besides the best known and -  absolutely right - highly reputated High-End companys
like Dynavector, Shindo, Tamura, etc., and the "mid-class" Accuphase, Luxman, Sansui etc.
even the considered as run-of-the-mill stuff -  like Panasonic/Technics (MASH, SL-12xx),
Sony (SACD, some CD-Players), Onkyo (Tuners), Akai (GX-Tapes),
Pioneer (PD-CD-Players), Denon (DL-103) etc. - 
is normally very good (at least some models) and sometimes exceptional
in particular considering the price-reformance-ratio
These stuff set the standards for years and ALL other companys that
wanted to raise the bar had to beat that guys.

My advice is:

To beat these guy is not as easy as it may seem, if you follow my advice.
Sure it's easy to do some nice design and avertising work and let only handpicked
dealerZ sell your best sounding, always underrated insiders' tip in
gold-plated showrooms. (Question: Who's gonna pay for that showroom ???)

Don't forget: Even all of the gold-plated guys put their pants on one leg at a
time and they all want your best: Your money !

But believe me - no pleaZe DON'T believe me - test it: There's a lot of well
designed hifi stuff out there at these handpicked dealers esp. British and German,
some Danish etc. where you pay thrice the prize for half the
sound of a Japanese Karaoke CD-Box.

I think that my new CD-Player is a good example of solid
AND very good sounding Japanese Hifi for a veeeeery
reaZonable priZe:

The Onkyo DX-7355

This box sounds good, far better than my SACD,
DVD-Audio Yamaha Multiplayer with CD's and
even better than the PS-1 (perhaps you can mod the
the PS-1 to a much higher level than I've done it,
 but you've to been aware that you've to put a lot of money in these
modding efforts with possibly questionable results).
The built in DAC's are also very good and I saw no further reason to
 use my external DDDAC1543 dac.
You can get the Onkyo at around 160-180€.
I can only assent to the statement of a German High-End DAC manufacturer:
You can't get more CD-Player for the money anywhere!

OKAY, OKAY I hear you say: If this Onkyo is so good, why is this guy using a


Because it sounds even BETTER !

I've been owning this unit for many years now and after the buy it went behind EVERY 
digital box I've owned in the meantime.The better the digi-box is, the less difference you'll hear; 
the difference with the Onkyo is very small, but it's there.

The X10-D is modded: retubed, recapped, all diodes exchanged to 
FaaZZZt and/or SCHOTTKY types.

Please be aware that all of the above statements are VERY subjective 
and might only be valid in my setup and with my ears.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not THE CD admirer, in contrast:
I'm a VINYL guy and I buy vinyl wherever possible.

The problem is that an enormously amount of new music don't get published on vinyl.
Esp. new Jazz releases are normally published only on CD. So there's no way to get 
rid of CD if you want to hear new music and you've to arrange with this fact and the
above combination is a very good and relatively cheap arrangement
(You even might do a DIY X10-D -> plans are available on WWW).

 Feel free to contact me, if you have any questions, suggestions, comments etc.