The BDA-1 has the obvious DAC features like S/PDIF inputs and up to 24/192 conversion/upsampling. But, there are parts of this DAC that really set it apart from the rest of the pack. Number one has to be the no compromise Class A discrete output stage, regardless of input source. Since the majority of DAC chips are very high quality these days, DACs must offer more than great conversion. This Bryston output stage is the feature that really elevates the BDA-1 to another level. Shortly after CES Bryston decided to give this DAC another great feature. Listeners of BDA-1 will now have the ability to disengage the synchronous upsampling capability. A difference in audio quality has yet to be seen with this feature, but knowing that can send the music out the same way it came in is a cool thing. Plus, if you don't want it, don't use it. During normal operation the Bryston BDA-1 will upsample music to either 24/176 or 24/192 depending on the source.
This DAC has choices galore in addition to the upsampling on/off feature. I think it is safe to say if your device has a digital output the BDA-1 has an input to match. AES/BEU, S/PDIF, BNC, USB etc... (By the way "etc" is not another input the BDA-1 accepts :-) So far the word on the "audiophile street" has been very good for this DAC. From the measurements to the sound everyone who has experienced it has nothing but praise for Bryston and the BDA-1. The BDA-1 will sell for $1,995 and be available in a couple months.
If you are looking for a standard redbook CD player I suggest you checkout the new Bryston BCD-1. I haven't heard it personally, but based on the demand for this disc player you should at least hear what your missing. Since demand is often outpacing production there is a chance you'll have to wait a bit to get your hands on one. In other words, try it and buy it if you can.