psst, do you want to know a secret? sssshh, don't say it too loud - we don't want everyone to know about this yet.
go and buy the sony dvp-ns500v that tuberoller mentioned, then go to tweakaudio.com and read about his modifications for it. ok, got it? now send it to him and wait for it to get modded.
you got it back today? uh huh... you plugged it in and what happened? uh huh... the most amazing sound you've ever heard? i thought so. uh huh... you didn't even hear all that stuff with your old player? uh huh... what's that? no, i don't work for them, but i do know enough people who have sent their players to be modded by him and they all rave about it. he used to make a dac that got such an amazing review that sales were backed up for months and months. nothing had ever had so many reviews that were so positive, ever. so let's keep this our little secret, ok?
i plan on sending 2 sacd players within the next few months - a dvp-ns500 of my own and a hybrid pioneer sacd/dvd-a that's not on the market yet - and i can't wait to start using them...
OK, seriously. This is a guy (Ric Schultz) who has twisted and turned and replaced and listened more than anyone I know and he has great ears and great ideas. Very talented. His Millenium DAC is (was, actually) so good that even the naysayers are affraid to say anything bad about it. If you look at audioreview.com it has the highest rating of anything rated there in any category. A perfect review across a whole slew of reviewers. There's nothing but glowing raves. Supposedly his MilleniumII was even better. And now he says very clearly that the $170 Sony SACD mentioned above can be modified to surpass almost every other player in the land (my words, not his) and that the DVP-NS500 is actually a very good player in it's stock form as well. He says that a properly modified inexpensive SACD player can sound better than ANY standard DAC, no matter what the cost, and that's why he gave up working on his Millenium DAC. Do yourself a favor and go to tweakaudio.com - I swear I don't work for them.
...wait, why am i telling you all this? it's going to make it even harder for me to get my players modified if you all fill up the waiting list. i should keep my big mouth shut...