OK, here is my suggestion. If you want a VERY good RedBook rig, AND you want the capability to play SACD (2 channel or multi-channel), AND keep the whole thing under $2000, then I'd suggest getting an Oppo and a Benchmark. The two together will run you under $1500, and you can spend the other $500 on getting some good cables. Hook the digital coax out from the Oppo to the Benchmark and run the Benchmark into you rpreamp using the Balanced outs, for RedBook--you will be astounded., then ALSO hook the SACD outputs from the Oppo to your preamp for SACD. I think you will need to have a small monitor (or your TV) hooked up to the Oppo, because you'll need to switch the output configuration in the Oppo's video menus to switch between digital outs and SACD analogue outs.
The Benchmark is ONLY for 2-channel, RedBook data. It will NOT decode SACD, even 2-channel SACD. There has been talk that they may be coming out with an SACD-capable DAC in the future, but nothing is set in stone yet.
The Jolida is a delightful 2-channel RedBook CD player. But it will NOT play SACD (2- or multi-channel).
The Oppo plays anything on a silver disc. It has pretty good RedBook capabilities. Granted, it's not as good at Redbook as a Jolida, or even a high-end Rega, and nowhere near as good as a Wadia, Proceed, or Theta rig. But if you run it's Digital out to a Benchmark (or PS Audio) DAC, you get, for under $1500, a RedBook front end that can keep up with the REALLY big dogs in the digital front end world, AND the Oppo plays SACDs, something that NONE of the high-end transport/DAC rigs like Wadia, Theta, AED, MBL, or others can do--they are all RedBook ONLY. AND the Oppo is an ass-kicking upscaling DVD player on top of it--perhaps the BEST upscaling stand-alone player out there. I have a Sony BDP-S1 BluRay, which was a $1000 unit when it was new, and my Oppo DV-981HD (at a whopping $229) is actually better at upscaling regular SD-DVDs.
Sure, the Oppo/Benchmark combo is not the be-all and end-all of Digital front ends. But for the money, it is nearly impossible to beat for the features, flexibility and performance you get in the end. Not only does it make good music, but it maked your DVDs look almost as good as BluRay (especially if you have a 1080p/120Hz TV).
You can spend about 5 times more money and get a Jolida (around $1000). You can spend a LOT more money, and get an even better RedBook player (like a Krell or Wadia or some such, for $3000+). You can spend a TON more money (like $5000 and up!!!) and get a better SACD player.
And that Musical Fidelity player that F1Nut posted about is super-sweet for RedBook. I've heard it driving Martin Logan Summits, big Totems, and Harbeths, and it is very smooth and musical. It has that laid-back but highly detailed "Brti-kit" sound that I love so much.
Or you can shell out about $2000 total for an Oppo, a Benchmark DAC1 and some good cables, and get a damn good Redbook rig, an excellent SACD player, AND the damn thing plays DVDs like you've never seen on top of it.
If you're primarily interested in music playback, get the Oppo DV-980H. It has the best audio stages of all the Oppo's, but it two down from the top of their line as far as their video playback goes. If you want almost-as-good sound, but outstanding video, get the DV-981HD. I have one of these, and it does pretty well for RedBook, but through the Benchmark it is VERY clean, detailed, and open. It's a little more "forward" than a Rega Apollo, and not quite as "sweet" sounding as a Jolida, but when you figure in all the additional functionality, I think it's an acceptable trade-off.
But it's your money, and your system. You make the call...
.....• HT Rig • Sony STR-DG600 Receiver • Carver M-500t • Sony BDP-S1 • Sony DVP-NS3100ES • Apple Airport Express •
..............................• Martin Logan Scenarios, Logos • Realistic Minimus 7's • Velodyne F-1500b •
• 2 Ch. Rig • Carver C-4000t • Silver 7t's • Krell KAV-300i • Oppo DV-981HD • Benchmark DAC1-USB • MacBook Pro 17", iTunes •
......• Technics SL-1350 turntable with Sumiko headshell, leads, and Bluepoint cartridge • Martin Logan Sequels •
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