Not dead yet, even though music
streaming via the network is becoming the defacto source. Some
people still think Vinyl is the way to go but lets not start
that debate lest I explode into a miasma of putrid decay.
There is just no better source than a bloody good CD/SACD
Player, Unfortunately, they don't come cheap and we start at
$349 for a half decent Cambridge Audio unit all the way up to
$2900 for the amazing Yamaha CD-S2000. Vincent also offer some
interesting challengers at the mid-price level using hybrid
technology (a combination of valves and transistors).
As the source is critical, there's no shortcut to a good player
and a rule of thumb is that the CD Player should cost around one
third of the total price of any stereo system.
This is less important when using a high quality A/V Receiver
however as one can use a decent Blu-Ray Player connected using
an HDMI cable, the DAC's in the A/V Receiver then do the
conversion and bypass the players DAC's. That only works in high
end A/V Receivers however.