Oppo 980 or Sony 9100ES or Denon 3910 as transport

I have searched the archives and systems for an opinions, but am still asking for more information. I have a Jolida 100A and since I bought a PS Audio Digital Link III, I have been using the Jolida as a transport. Its a waste, really, because it bypasses the tubes. I am looking to sell the Jolida and either use my Oppo 980 or a different transport. I perceived a difference going from the Oppo to the Jolida, subtle but real. I am intrigued by the Sony 9100ES and the Denon 3910. Both around $400 used here on Audiogon. Both are solid and well-built. I don't know which of the three is more reliable and which has the lowest jitter through the coax digital output. For those of you with the any of the three units used solely as transports, have you found them satisfying? Which DAC have you used them with? Any operational quirks or problems? Any other transports going through a DL III that you love? DVD-A is a non-issue, but I do play SACD, currently through the HDMI of my Onkyo, but can use 5.1 analog out of the player. I want to find the Jolida a nice home and find a transport with low jitter and tank-like reliability. Any thoughts?
I don't think anything with a DVD drive should be used as a transport.
I'd be interested to hear why you think that. Some people -- the Bound for Sound guy, for example -- have argued the opposite, that DVD drives make the best transports.
I doubt that calling a drive DVD or CD makes much difference. It is all about the construction of the drive. I have heard that DVD drives are more like computer drives and that is appealing.
My bias against DVD players as transports has only about a 50% technical basis, though I've heard rational arguments against as well as for. It just boils down to my own personal bias based on experience with both.

The main reason why I don't like them is that I think dedicated CD decks sound better. Again, just my personal experience.

But it also has to do with practical criteria. Trigsham expressed concern about any "operational quirks." In this respect, for 2-channel audio, DVD interfaces are often impractical, requiring some kind of monitor in the room to do setup. Even if you have one, as it seems he does, I find that skipping tracks and scanning forward or back can be frustrating on DVD units. Plus, the remotes and controls have tons of buttons and functions totally superfluous to CD playback. I've rarely seen a setup where unnecessary complication results in better sound.

Tgrisham also said he wanted something with "low jitter and tank-like reliability". I think almost all sub-$1000 DVD players are built like crap. Whereas an old Denon or Sony ES or Marantz or Pioneer Elite is built like a tank and can now be had cheaply. A solid, well-isolated chassis is always going to be a good thing. Not that there aren't well-made DVD players, and in fact there are plenty from the brands mentioned above, but then we get back to all those circuits just sitting there doing nothing related to Red Book playback. And all those empty, unused outputs around back.

Just my opinion.

Thinking about it, though, if he likes the sound of the Jolida, why not keep it? Or try an Oppo back-to-back? So what if the tube section is being bypassed? If it really bothers you, I think the tubes are just for the analog output stage so just take them out of the player and enjoy.

But if you really want the best Red Book and SACD playback, I still say go for a dedicated SACD/CD player.
Ekobeshy, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Much of what you say makes sense. When you think of a dedicated SACD/CD player as a transport, which ones do you think of?
On the high end -- I would think any of the single-disc players from Marantz, and especially the Marantz Reference Series, would be good. If you can swing a used Sony SCD-777ES, that would be a nice buy as well but even used that's big bucks. The McIntosh MCD201 can be had used in the $2k range and it it's built like, well, a McIntosh. It will last and be supported for many, many years to come.

On the more reasonable end -- The current Marantz SA8001 is a great machine and sounds excellent with Red Book and SACD right from the analog outputs. Street price is around $800 and it comes with a 3-year warranty. Used ones go for around $600. I might avoid the previous model though, the SA8260, which over time reportedly developed problems reading certain discs (though it still sounds very good). Anything in the Marantz Reference Series is plenty sweet, too. New models start at $2k but I've seen used ones in the $1000 range.

As far as dark horses go -- You might also look for a used Music Hall Maverick -- one of the forgotten (and therefore, undervalued) players. Originally sold for over $1,500, used ones now go for about 1/3rd of that. Even has an upsampling DAC!