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Usually the more a component does, the less effective it is at each task. Especially with a baseline price of a component that performs less tasks. CD/DVD/SACD all use different laser mechanisms in an all in one player. More parts equate to higher cost for same quality. Or for the same cost one would get inferior parts and get inferior quality.
Or as lead designer of Ayre put it when asked why Ayre does not make a CDP/DVD/SACD/DVDa combo player, (paraphrased): An Ayre CDP/DVD/SACD/DVDa player that would perform to the standards I have would be very very costly. And would be out of the price range of most of the audio market.
Tok2000, combo players actually save on parts because they don't have to duplicate the redundant parts that seperate players would use. There is also savings in packaging, marketing, transporting and inventory. Combo players reduce the cost of cabling and make cable routing easier. Combo players require less electrical outlets and reduce the cost electrical filtering. Combo players take up less shelf space and therefore allow for smaller (better) racks. The use of combo players also means that line stages, video monitors and remotes don't need as many parts. While I would like to see a uniform standard, combo players encourage a free market which empowers consumers. Format incompatabilty is in some part responsible for the delay in better digital formats coming to any real fruition. Ayre's decision is based on self serving marketing decisions. Should Ayre provide seperate componenets that provided for all formats, it would probably cost the consumer more money. Ayre's decision is in effect a decision to compromise Ayre's customer ability to decide for themselves. All in all combo players should provide the consumer with a better value.
I've not heard of a single cd/dvd/hi rez combo player that has been well regarded for all of its formats playback by the majority of folks that have heard them. This is including the statement/flagship pieces from Philips, Pioneer and Sony, umong others, that are pretty pricey. It seems that one is better off using dedicated players for each format if sonics are of the utmost importance. Personally, If you need a DVD player I would buy a cheap (under $200) DVD/high rez player for movies and to play with the new formats if your interested, and spend the rest of your budget on the best dedicated CD player or CDP/DAC that you can afford.
Socrates, you are probably correct in your assesment of the current state of affairs. That assesment does not take into consideration the short period of time and the low number of "combi" players that are compared to much greater number of dedicated players and the greater amount of time in which the dedicated players have had the opportunity to develop. The potential is there for a competetive combi player. IMHO it behooves us to encourage manufacturers to develop these "combi" players. While I realize that this may negate some of my earlier arguments; with digital cross-overs, amplifiers and room correction on the horizon, perhaps what we really need is "combi" transports.
Unsound, you are right about a combi player saving money and space of 3 or more separate individual players.
So instead of me paraphrasing Charles Hanson of Ayre, let me provide you with a link to his post where he states what I paraphrased above:
Anyway my point is this:
I would personally rather pay $3k for a CDP, $1k for a DVD player, and $4k for for an SACD multi channel/two channel player THAN PAY even $6k or even $5k for a player that can do all three comperably.
Why? For one thing, you are going to wear out that $5k player faster than any of the other 3 assuming you play all three formats on a regual basis. What happens if your precious all in one box breaks??? YOu are totally shut down. If one of your 3 boxes breaks, you at least have alternative backups. From a economic market prospective, there is a bigger market for the $3k price point than the $5k or $6k price point in audio components (multi use or otherwise).
Tok2000, your point about having back up sources has some merit. How ever, I think the savings could be substantialy greater than your figures indicate and those figures don't account for the expense of all the extra cables, etc. If all those savings were not passed onto the customer perhaps some could be used to build a more robust machine. Lets face it, as far as break downs are concerned, you would be in the same boat should a integrated, pre or power amp or any other compnent in the chain break down. As for Mr. Hanson's remarks, well, I think his numbers are more than a bit arbitrary. I don't understand why he would have to double the price for each format considering the redundancy of parts and other inherent savings in business costs. In fact, his own comments seem to imply that marketing high priced players that can't do it all, are having a negative effect on business. With all due respect, I don't want a manufacturer deciding what software I can buy and can't buy.