Emotiva ERC-3 stand-alone CD player. Incredible value ($500 or $400 if on sale). Only does redbook CDs, but that's what you want. Any integrated/universal CD player is a compromise somewhere (IMO). For SACD, stay with your Oppo. Not sure what upgraded SACD player there is from there.
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It really depends on what Oppo you have? But I will say that transports and DAC combos are important to get right. Every transport will sound differently with whatever DAC you run it to, then there is the connection (XLR,RCA,Optical,USB Audio) to consider and cable. So, a stand alone CD player is a easier way to get the sound your after. AYRE might make a model in that range. I would love to hear others offer suggestions as well.
Totally agree with mattmiller. There are many variables in a transport to DAC setup.
A dedicated CDP in the $2000 range would be designed with a high quality DAC, transport, isolation, and master clock. The clock plays such an important role, since it is responsible for jitter reduction.
A used Ayre should be at the top of your list. Folks around here seem to like Marantz for SACD/CD.
There is a Marantz Reference for sale currently...
thanks guys... and thanks lowrider57 for that link.. i checked it out but that unit is in Europe.. USA only for me.. looks like CD player is the way to go so far.. I'd never thought I'd consider a Marantz again but seems like it might be a very good choice.. I used to own a Marantz AV7005 for my surround sound set up.. I liked it but when I had to down size to a 2-channel set up the sound became thin.. Long story short, Marantz customer service blows.. Bought the Cary and it sounds great..
I'm guessing that for most of the players being discussed, using HDMI out and letting a Cary Cinema 12 do the analog would result in excellent sound. In one of my setups, I use HDMI from an Oppo 105 to a Cary C12 that goes balanced to a Parasound A 21 driving a pair of KEF LS50s. The sound is excellent.
I use an Ayre C-5xeMP through a Parasound JC 2 BP to JC 1 mono blocks driving a pair of KEF Reference 107/2s for stereo. I do prefer sound of that setup to my Oppo 105D or Sony XA5400ES through the Bryston SP 3, but the claim of no comparison would be an exaggeration, because the sound from the Oppo with the SP 3 can be superb, especially with DTS-HD MA or Dolby True HD from a prime Blu-ray. Front LR from the SP 3 is passed through the JC 2 BP to access the JC 1 amps.