AVS Forum Addicted Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: upstate NY
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Sorry, but no. For a player to be considered audiophile grade means special effort has been put into the quality of their analog audio outputs, using more expensive components. As a result, they cost more. Also, they tend to be mechanically much more rugged than the commodity disc players. That adds to the cost, too. In other words, $500 sounds about right, although most people here would tend to recommend an Oppo player over the competition at that price point.
Refurbished or previously-owned players might be available for less, of course.
That said, most people are unable to hear any quality difference when using the digital audio provided by the HDMI connection of any disc player through an HDMI-capable AVR.
Marantz SR7009 avr + MM9000 amp --> Atmos 7.1.4
Fronts=NHT 2.9+AC2, FH+TM=DefTech PM1000, LCR+TM amped