Confused and out of touch a little over my CD play

I have not been involved much with my audio system for awhile for various reasons. I would like to make a few changes, starting with my CD player. I own a Rotel RCD 955ax. That was a well thought of cd player in it's day at that cost. I have had this a long time, and it still operates as new, they were well built.I'd probably like to stay at up to or under $1000.00

First thought is some kind of used DAC for maybe $300.00 used maybe more if this is a worthy step on a player this old, even a fine as it still works?? HDCD, should I care??

It seems As I read the archives, many here are still buying CD players. Jolida, Music Hall,AH!, even Rotel, and many others, seem to be the way to go for some. Again, should I even worry about HDCD ? There also seems to be a lot of mod units. I was always skeptical of a $99.00 unit with $300-400 dollars of mods, it's still a $99.00 CD player, that you just stuck $300.00 dollars in.

Lastly SACD. I don't really care about surround, but do have several SACD's. Actually companies like Audio Fidelity have a real nice Redbook layer on these discs, so I buy them.There is the Music Hall Maverick, then a host of universal players from $100.00 and up. It would seem the Marantz and the Denon are the popular choices. I'm really concerned with the 2 channel CD and SACD performance of these players.

So I'm kind of behind the curve here Dac, new modern CD player, or something that is also SACD qualified. It seems many here are just going for CD players, and maybe that is a good choice for now, especially if they will perform that much better then my old Rotel. Are 2 channels SACD's always going to be a HUGE improvement over currently well mastered CD's and a modern player ?
A good CD player without SACD or HDCD playback capabilities will sound better than a "universal" unit that does everything but nothing well. Modified units are risky buisness and not worth the time/money/effort when there are already great stock players out there (unless you are into mods as a hobby which can be fun). I like the Jolida CD player. Mike at Jolida is very honest about his products and will give you good advice on new tubes and parts to upgrade if you do get the modification bug. The stock unit (even with stock tubes) is very good though.

Most of the sonic benefits of SACD are in the recording process and the fact that it is an audiophile format. The 16bit layer of a SACD usually sounds really good. A/B two similar priced players (SACD vs Red Book) with a SACD hybrid disc if you have a chance.
Check out the Marantz SA8260. Stereophile rated class A if that means anything. The user feedback over at AA has been excellent too. It also plays sacd's and cdr/rw. I was in the same boat as you and did some research and the Marantz is what I came up with. Also a Sony XA777es used can be had for around 1200 and is a killer good cd player.
Read this and skip the sacd/dvd-a.