Have you looked inside a McCormack UDP-1 and sister Pioneer unit? Steve McCormack started with a Pioneer because of the codecs and player software. There are quite a few improvements to his version, and even more in the Deluxe upgrade.
Power supply design is crucial to good audio and video. Throw any non "price is no object" piece of equipment onto a cleaner power source (DC battery power or balanced A/C power) and the improvements are noticeable, IMHO.
That's a big reason why the upper-end Denons sound so good, too. If you've seen APL Hi-Fi's mods to the universal Denons, they take a similar approach as the Pioneer->McCormack kind of improvements.
- Steve O.