Originally Posted by ComfyCan
The limiter is the DAC in the Denon; since I can't transport SACD in digital form to my MicroDac, I'm stuck with the DAC in the Denon for SACD playback. It is inferior to the MicroDac, but there are not enough SACD titles that I like to warrant abandonning the convenience of computer based audio and the expense of buying a superior SACD player.
I would say the analog output stage is the weak link on the Denon (and most players), the dac is actually decent.
But therein lays the answer to the OP, not really the other (admittedly great) opinions posted here.
If you are only going to spend $100-$200 more for an combi-SACD / CD the chances are, probably, that BOTH will sound WORSE. Why? With more to "pack in" to the component, for such a small price difference, both will probably have to be compromised based on overall design.
So, based upon experience in the business, when you want the best performing of a device you go for the simplest design of that device - K.I.S.S. A combi-SACD / CD will sound decent but not "great" at the same approximate price point as a Redbook CD-only player as more money can be spent on optimizing the sound (only) components, instead of making a multi-channel output (which, thanks to SACD / DVD-A's copy protection, all must have (unless you have a proprietary link, like Denon, and an amp to match)), plus many SACD players are actually "Universal" players that also play DVD Video, and must included the added complication therefore.
I, also, have a Denon 2200 for instance, and in playing back SACD (not why I bought it; the Denon 2200 is my DVD video source, but it got good reviews and the "Universal" was an added bonus) the sound does indeed show a bit more 'spaciousness' – which may just be the mix
- but the tonal balance
and overall resolution
of the output simply holds not a chance
of meeting my Redbook CD playback system (I just tested it 20 minutes ago in comparison, as I'm in the middle of modding my DAC).
If you are into the upper regions of Redbook CD playback price points then less compromises have been made overall, smaller differences occur between unit [A] and [B] (contrary to magazine reviewer's opinions - because, after all, that's their job
, make difference sound big so you'll continue reading their employer's products (the magazine)), and possibly
going from brand [A]'s Redbook-only unit to brand [B]'s combi-SACD / CD might not be that large of a loss at all.
So, in less verbose terms...YMMV!!