Responses from zinfan2

Neophyte question about DAC's...
Compared to feeding the sound out of a PC's headphone jack, a USB DAC can be a major improvement. I am quite impressed by the tiny and inexpensive nuforce USB DAC I purchased earlier this year in order to listen to Pandora off a notebook PC thru m... 
Classics you can't have too many recordings of
Sibelius: violin concerto and symphonies 4, 5 & 6 
Mozart Piano Concertos
Another vote for Perahia and Brendel. But also try Clifford Curzon -- he can send shivers up the spine. I especially enjoy his recordings on Audite where he's accompanied by Kubelik. It sounds like I need to check out Haskil. 
Richard Thompson recommendations
I'm rather partial to the CD "Richard Thompson, Live from Austin." There's lots of his best songs and some amazing guitar playing, both electric and acoustic. Even better is the DVD version, so you also see his hands in action. 
need new ic's
I second the Audio Art IC-3. 
Jolida Reliability
I own three Jolida tube amps -- the 707a, 801a and 302b. I've had them for 1.5, 4 and 5 years respectively with no major issues. The 707a and 801b were purchased used, so they had some mileage on them before I took possession, yet they work beauti... 
Is there a truly musical multiple CD player?
California Audio Labs CL-10. They still show up once and while, used, for around $450. The unit does HDCD, has a variety of digital outs if you want to use a DAC, holds five disks, and is built like a tank. And sounds great. 
Which of Mozart's No.39 & 41 CD should I get?
On the strength of the recommendations coming out of this thread, I just purchased the Makerras/Scottish Chamber Orchestra set and am extremely glad I did (thanks!). I have several favorite versions of Mozart 39 and 40, and not to knock the excell... 
Best Benny Goodman recordings
A couple of "small group" Goodman CDs that I'm partial to are "After You've Gone: the orginal Benny Goodman trio and quartet sessions, vol 1" on RCA, and "The Benny Goonman Sextet featuring Charlie Christian" on Columbia. There are terrific perfor... 
To answer your question about break in, while it is good sounding right out of the box, I found that after 50 or so hours a new Apollo really starts to sing. After that, mine kept getting better in subtle ways for some weeks. 
Is anyone else enjoying Monsoon desktop planars?
They're great. I have a pair on my desktop and use them with a subwoofer. They've outlived three PCs so far. 
What do you do with all those CD's??
Built to hold 2,000. I probably have 3,000 stuffed in mine... sets, and all:http://www.uarts.com/woodworking/pr_cdvideo.htmhttp://www.uarts.com/woodworking/ph_09.jpg 
Sleeper older preamp with great phono.....
Tandberg 3002A. Very nice phono stage. MM and MC. 
Rachmaninoff, Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Opus 44?
The Previn and Askenazy are both tops, but you might also want to check out Andrew Litton's cycle with the Royal Philharmonic on Virgin. 
'they blew'em off the stage'
John McLaughlinÂ’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, December 1971 in Burlington, VT. They opened for The Blue Oyster Cult and the reconstituted Byrds. No contest. Not even from the same solar system.