Mac & KR are both right.
The CD playback of the newest Sony budget SACD/CD players does match or exceed many under $1000 CD only players.
However the more expensive $2-3,000+ CDP (or better outboard
DACS) still outperform the Sony's for CD play. That is why people
like Dan Wright can't mod them fast enough to improve their CD
play. That said the Sony 9000 is very good, and would be on my short list, offered at huge discounts on net.
If you read last months Stereophile they were comparing the new Musical Fidelity M3 CDP to SACDs of same material, it is that good
as well as other high end CDP. But really it all has to do with the
SACD being compared.........I will say this again new SACDs that are DSD mastered generally cannot be surpassed, they are state
of the art. However SACDs made from older master tapes are a different story and I'm sure when Vertigo mentioned reading about a large group of people prefering CD version played on expensive CDP it was an older recording made into SACD, not new DSD mastered SACD. This is always changing however, as
sound engineers become amazingly effective updating old masters to new mediums.
I give Vertigo about 1 month before he contacts Dan Wright about
modding Sony 9000 for CD play......he,he,he http://www.modwright.com/sony.htm