Good Universal Player with Balanced Outs

I have been looking around for a while but I haven't seen any Universal players in the 2-5K range (roughly) that have balanced outs, at least one firewire port and are currently available. Can you suggest anything that would?

I tend to keep my equipment for a long time and I would like to get a player that I can be happy with for a number of years. Are the universal players at that stage yet or do they need a few more generations to improve their handling of the high-res formats and get most of what is possible out of SACD and DVD-Audio?
Lexikon has a new universal player called the RT-10, supposed to list for $3500. Also, the Linn Unidisk 1.1 is hugely expensive, but Linn just came out with the Unidisk 2.1 which is somewhat less (I think in the 5k-7k range). I don't know the difference between the two models, but if you find out, let me know.

I am also in the market for a universal player in your price range. I am not into home theater. I just like 2 channel stereo. My question is: if a universal machine is also a multichannel and video player, am I paying a lot more for functionality that I don't want.

I took a look at the Linn and the Lexicon. They both look like very nice players from solid manufacturers. I do notice that both seem to be missing 1394 support. I am trying to get the firewire since I'm assuming that there will be improvements in the next generations and eventually there will be DACs for the DVD-Audio signal that will far outstrip the current crop.
Just noticed the Lexicon lacks the balanced outputs also.


I don't think you're paying a lot more for the funtionality, only because I don't think any manufacturer will be creating any new players that arent' multichannel with video. I suppose you could buy one of the earlier Sonys used, but I would think that is sort of a waste. I also think you're going to need the video, at least for the DVD-Audio discs. While the discs don't HAVE to be authored to require video, many of them I've had are much easier to access with video. Otherwise you blindly jump between groups until you hit the right one. Seems tedious after spending this much money!
Huh, Linn may have come out with a Unidisk 2.1 since an $11,000 universal player is probably a tough sell in the current market.
Hi Gpalmer. I know Steve Huntley at Great Northern Sound makes something called a PASI, it will let you input a single ended source then output a "true" balanced signal, positive, negative, and ground.

This may work with you Mod Pioneer universal unit.

I do not know all the details but the main component is a 1 to 1 balanced transformer. It is my understanding this transformer coupling to the output of your source is a component in Great Northerns Reference level CD player upgrades, with this outboard unit, you can use these transformers with smaller boxed sources that a transformer will not fit inside.

Other manufacturer's may make something like this also. I think Audio Note's high end balanced DACS and others designers use transformer coupling at their outputs with their digital sources.

The only draw back is you may need another cable and a little shelf space for placement. I had a friend who set/coupled the PASI to the top of his player. Then used a short half meter cable from the source to the PASI unit.

Great Northern's website notes they have demo units to try out and Steve very easy to work with. Could be worth a try in your system. Give him a call.

Good Luck.