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I have owned & heard many quality cd players throughout the years. Some good, some exceptional & some disappointing. Many players seem to focus on getting all the hifi criteria right, obsessed with the deepest bass,the widest soundstage, unearthing the last detail etc and to be honest it can all get a bit frustrating. Yes, all these things are great in a quick listen or impressing your friends for a few moments but there is more to it than that. I want something more from the music collection I have spent years putting together. I want something that sounds musical...something that does not favour any particular music, and is not downright impossible to match into a system. My first impression of the A5.5 was my lasting one. This sounds natural. This sounds like music and not hifi. My first few hours were spent not making apologies for the way it sounds before it is "broken in", not swapping interconnects & power leads, but rather excitably going through my cd collection & falling in love with music old & new all over again...I have owned this player for 3 months now & the story remains the same. Compared to more expensive models I have tried, sure it lacks the ultimate inner detail retreival, a little focus when pushed hard with complex music and is perhaps not the player for someone who has a collection of heavy metal anthems..However, none of this matters. For most people, most of the time & with almost all types of music, in my opinion it is very hard to beat for the money. Voices in particular sound real & convincing and along with a gloriously sweet midrange put this player amongst the best I have heard at this price. As with all things hifi, the law of diminishing returns sets in if you spend serious amounts of money on a cd player. I would suggest spending 50% more than this on a player would perhaps give you 5% increase in sound quality. In the right system. This is one player I have owned that really does seem to shout "why pay more". I love it.