By the way, you mentioned that you own a H/K CD changer.
I have not found ANY CD changer that delivers decent sound on its own, but my wife likes having a changer and so we have a Yamaha 5 CD unit that we have used for 10 years or so with no problems. On its own, it does not sound very good, but feeding its coaxial digital output to a Theta Pro Basic III D/A converter with balanced outputs, it sounds pretty good!
I tend to agree with you. I've own various CD changers and I've never been completely satisfied with their sonic performance. My current H/K 8385 sounds good to a point, but my main complaints are about its poor construction quality.
Regarding the Theta CD player, I've had the opportunity to auditioned it paired up to the Pass labs X0 preamplifier, the huge Pass Labs X250.5 power amp driving beautiful Avalon Acoustics Ascendants and Opus Ceramique.
The sound was awesome....
I own a "modest" Rotel RCD-1072 that has been modified by a friend of mine, and it is a very competent player. I even own the more expensive Arcam FMJ CD33 and with my current audio equipment I can not tell the differences between them...
BTW, I haven't update my profile. Now I'm using the NAD Masters M3 integrated amplifier, but now and then I bring my Arcam to my office and have some fun with my Odissey candela tube preamp and the Rotel RB-1080 power amp.
Which one is best? I tend to prefer the NAD, but some others prefer the separates.