"Anyone doing this with good success? What are you using? "
Onkyo Integra DPC 8.5 universal player (about $700, I think)-->Dodson 217 Mark 2 D DAC with upgraded 218-like software and an isolation transformer upgrade on one of the inputs (Dodson unit retailed just under 5000, I think, but was purchased on Audiogon for under 2000--great deal, and highly appreciated by me.)
1)Player-->DAC: Groneberg (spelling?) Digital Reference cable
2)DAC-->Preamp: Audioquest Python RCA (single ended, not balanced)
Sounds WAAAYYYY better thru the Dodson. (Dodson cannot be used for SACD, of course.)
Bonus thing: Satellite reveiver has optical output which feeds to optical input of the Dodson, so the Dodson can go into the signal chain when listening to "satellite radio" thru the dish network, which is quite nice.
"What do you think of this approach."
It sounds great within my system. The Dodson is a stellar unit. Therefore, this approach appears to be a pragmatic compromise, but I will admit to having no clue as to how much a better transport would improve things sonically.* Doesn't really matter because a "high end" transport's not in the cards anyway: I INSIST on a remote controlled changer, and want the versatility of a universal player.
*As I understand it, the Dodson takes the jitter to basically zero (or near it) but--of course--cannot correct reading errors by the transport.