Last night when I was trying out some interconnects, I hooked my sony ce-775 directly to my maxed out home amp; the result was better sound. The modest sacd plater was better than my more expensive modded c555es sacd player, when the c555es was hooked up through my preamps tape outputs. The inclusion of a second pair of interconnects and the buffered tape outputs audibly degraded the sound. I was really surprised how much better the direct connection sounded. The interconnects were all mit#2, and the preamp was a mccormack passive hooked up to a p300 powerplant, and I was using my grado rs2s.
A simplified signal path that gets the most out of your source is a key to great sound IMHO.