Digital front-end that bests a Sony VSE Level 6?

Hi all,

I have caught the upgrade bug again. My current CDP is a Sony 9000es upgraded to Vacuum State Level 6 last spring. It is a very nice sounding unit. Not having heard other units (I have around $1450 into this one including mods) is there anything that can even come close for under $3,000 (new or used)?

I did see a Sony 777es w/Level 6 balanced mods over in the classified. Of course, I don't have a balanced pre or amp.... but could always upgrade in the future. I haven't heard anything else that nice in my system, but just wanted to see if there was something that would be an upgrade w/o breaking the bank.

FWIW, amp is McCormack DNA-125 gold, pre is Herron VTSP1a/166, and speakers are Tyler Linbrook Signatures. I like jazz and classical.
I would check out the APL-modded Denon 3910 w/tube output stage, etc. There were a few for sale on Agon recently for under $3K and they will drop your jaw.
I haven't done it and I have no idea about the sonics, but I would love to compare the tricked out Sony to the Esoteric line. SA and X series.

The Esoteric series appears to be the real deal. I would love to spin some discs through one.

Has anyone compared Esoteric to modded Sonys???