All my listening was done in twochannel, still the way to go when it comes to purity of reproduction. The DU‑50 allows SACDs to shine in all their easy superiority. Take Waltz for Debby from Acoustic Sounds—so delicate, nuanced, and beautiful, with atmosphere to burn, you might not even miss its vinyl alternative. Harmonia Mundi USA’s Anonymous Four swansong Gloryland, again SACD, sounds edgy if your system is, confused if it loses control. But if everything is dialed in correctly, the performers come alive in your room, as regards both presence and imaging, each singer easily distinguished with respect to vocal quality and position in the soundstage. I don’t have much in the way of DVD‑A (does anyone?), but the DU-50 brought Dusty Springfield to life in Classic’s Casino Royale DAD.
In other respects describing the sound of this player is to repeat everything I said about the L‑550A regarding tonal neutrality, dynamics, resolution, and detail. The price of the DU‑50 lands it squarely in a highly competitive segment of the market. It’s been awhile since I’ve had super‑expensive digital playback in my house, say, a dcs Elgar or the two‑tiered McIntosh setup ($15k). Nor can I claim to have heard even a representative sampling of what’s available out there in universal players. What I can claim is that nothing in my wholly satisfying review-period with this player—and its companion amplifier— ever made me want anything “more” or “better.” It’s at least that good. When you factor in its superb functional characteristics that make it the most elegant and intuitive‑to‑use player I’ve had in my system, the adage that you get what you pay for is once again validated in no uncertain terms. Neither the L‑550A nor the DU‑50 is inexpensive, but they do represent the best kind of value, the kind that brings you truly lasting satisfaction.