I have not heard this player but anything by Classe sounds great and is a great value.
Yes. I have the player and have noticed a siognificant difference in CD timbre and soundstage. The highs and mids are phenomenal. Everything comes through crystal clear. I have auditioned this player to the Mark Levinson 390S for quite some time and believe the Classe to be a better price performer than the ML. The sound the ML put out was excellent. The ML could be described as a little bit warmer (if you like that, and I do), but the Classe was that much more crisp, not metallicy, in overall tone. Because of the minimal differences in sound the Classe was my choice.
I cannot compare the Classe specifically to your Sony unit, but I have been a Sony addict for a while and know the sound very well. Sony is not very crisp and the soundstage does not accurately present panning effects in stereo.
As for DVD playback, I cannot tell a difference in sound quality.