Beyond SACD with Redbook: Price No Object

I just read the SACD/DVD-A is Dead thread which bummed me out a bit as I have been pondering the purchase a Sony SCD-1.

If it is true that redbook has already or will soon eclipse SACD, is there any consensus on state of the art CD players or DACs that can actually approach the fun of analogue.

Some of you have suggested that the Sony SCD-1 offers glorious redbook, the new Musical Fidelity DAC seems to be chateau Lafite to some and snake oil to others.

Is there any consensus on world class, undisputed heavy weight champ redbook players and/or DACs these days?

I would especially appreciate your opinions on what you think is the best of the best -- not "sleepers", good for their price range etc.

I don't mind spending the big bucks, just want to enjoy music again.
Mikelavigne, excellent post with great insight to your thinking and system preferences. I must say I wish more than anything that we were in the same city.

I and others in my audio group appear to have a great deal in common with you when it comes to musical priorities.

And to Audio999, nice short and to the point !
Albert, thanks for the kind comments. you have set the standard around here for enlightened musical direction for as long as i've been participating on Audiogon and the feeling is mutual on my desire to listen to your system(s).

the "less is more" tube-based, vinyl-lovin, shared musical pleasure approach to this hobby has resulted in considerable enjoyment, satisfaction and friendship for myself. i consider myself very lucky to be having such great fun.
Cwlondon: I have the Audio Meca Mephisto transport that I originally purchased with a Dodson Audio Dac. I upgraded the Dac last fall with the Audio Meca Enkianthus Dac. These are magic together in my system (Aloia pre-amp, Plinius amps, Dunlavy V speakers, audio techne interconnects and audio techne CD transformer. I use the sony as a one box player for DVD. I used to listen to some SACD, but that has gone by...
Over the past few days I have been messing with interconnects and tweaking/tuning my system to accomodate my Sony SACD player. The interconnects I used with the Mephisto weren't exactly right for use with the Sony. They were close but not perfect.

Now that I have spent some time with the Sony (tuned) I must say that going back to a redbook only player might not be in my future. Considering the upgradability of the new Sony XA777ES to include a tube analog output and separate tube power supply I honestly believe that this piece of equipment has the potential to surpass the performance I had once enjoyed with my redbook only player(s).
Something that hasn't been mentioned here is that SACD has built-in copy protection.. very serious built in copy protection - it is called "no digital output". The RIAA and artists want a format that can't be copied, and I am banking on Sony holding a strong line on this - and the music industry firmly supporting it. This has its disadvantages, obviously, but what I want is SACD software. I'll rip the redbook layer to mp3 if I want, or whatever, but when it comes to SACD...

I just recently purchased a 9000ES DVD/SACD player for $900 shipped. I picked up some original DSD recordings - almost all classical, some remasters from Red Rose Music (Mark Levinson's label), and some remastered analog stuff from Miles, etc.. The Sony remastered stuff really is not that good, I could see how a Mephisto or EMC could trounce it - but listening to pure DSD (the Lindsay Quartets Grosse Fugue for instance) or Levinson's pressings of Fisk playing Bach and Scarlatti - if you listen to these recordings on even a cheap SACD player like mine, and think your redbook player outpreforms them, you need to seriously have your hearing examined. I have a decent loudspeaker system, but most of my listening takes place on my Stax Omega phones - I'd consider them pretty damn reference - and the SACD sound is on another plane. I can't stand people saying that some new digital cable proved to be a "massive" improvement in their sound.. want to hear massive? Listen to pure DSD or well done remasters. That is massive. Everything else is trivial.

So, lets hope SACD makes it. I think there is a very strong likelihood for it. As for redbook, I really have to believe we have wrung every last bit of performance from it by now.. adjustable dither settings? Christ. That must say something about the current state of things..