Experiences with Blu-ray players

I'm starting to build a home theater and am investigating BD players. I could use some stories of experiences others have had.

I'd like to keep good 2-channel capability, but I do have a few multi-channel SACDs so I'd like to be able to play them as well. My 2-channel gear consists of Theta source, Cary preamp, Threshold amplification and Avalon speakers. Given that, I'm thinking that a BD player with analog audio outs and a multi-channel preamp might be best for my particular priorities. My wife would kill me if I brought home the Ayre, so I'm in the sub-$2k realm. The reading I've been doing brings the following manufacturers to mind as having products I could afford and might like:

Oppo: Seems to be the default player for the past couple of years. I like the 7.1 analog audio output and the universality of the transport. The high, generally positive traffic on the various forums seems a good sign, too. I am concerned about it's 2-channel audio performance, though.

Cambridge: Ditto with the 7.1 analog output. A bit more talk about the sound, but less about the video.

Marantz: The 7007 has only two-channel analog out, but 7006 has 7.1 analog audio out.

Arcam: Reliability problems? I haven't experienced any with my Arcam DVD, but I don't own any other Arcam gear, so my experience is limited.
A wife pleasing cheap ($200) alternative would be Sony BDP-S580. I use it to play SACD via digital coax to my dac/preamp Ayon CD5s combo and in that config it does well used as transport. It has been very reliable. Can try from Best Buy if you don't like - take it back.
There is no SACD output via digital coax from any consumer product. Coax conveys the RedBook layer only, afaik.
I'm also looking to add a BD player to my HT and I've been researching via the internet sites and forums and came to the conclusion that the Oppos seem like a good solution. They just came out with 2 new models: the 103 and 105. These replace the prior 93 and 95 models. The 95 and 105 supposedly offer better audio performance than the 93 and 103. I should tell you, though, that I have no firsthand experience with any BD players and have no affiliation with Oppo. No disrespect intended for the prior OP's suggestion of the Sony.

You're right, you'll need a prepro (preamp/processor) with multi-channel inputs to properly incorporate the BD player with your current 2-channel system. You'll also need HT passthru on your Cary preamp if you want to have the option of listening to 2-channel, multi-channel audio and HT surround all on the same system. You didn't mention it but I'm assuming your TV/Projector has atleast 1 HDMI input.

If you need to make this more financially acceptable to your wife, you could always buy a good used prepro either here or from another site. I could give you plenty of suggestions on what would work well for you. My prepro just conked out on me and I just researched and bought a very good unit for little dough on the internet. Let me know. Good luck.
In you price range, Oppo 105 is top choice. Solid universal player with good dac, great picture, act ok as a digital preamp. On top of that you got 30 days trial. Can not beat that.
Yes, but it reads and plays them, which works for me having as the poster does only a few of them anyway.
cambridge audio 751bd great video along with stunning audio when you read the reviews you will find that the build quality is superior. Also currently on sale for appox $900.00 (I am a cambridge audio dealer)
I will invest in a BR player this year as well.
Being new to SACD I am now confused. From a CD player that plays SACD, to hear two channel SACD how do you connect (Toslink, Coax, RCA Analogue out etc) to a preamp and does that preamp need to be a pre/processor or just a regular preamp? Also is 5 channel SACD automatically down mixed to two channel if that is all the speakers you have in your system? Is it better to connect to your DAC rather than preamp?
Am I asking the right questions in trying to find out how to play SACD?
For me:
two channel SACDs are played on an EMM Labs XDS1
two channel DVDAs are played on Oppo 95 feeding optical to XDS1

XDS1->ARC Reference 5SE->Electrocompaniet Nemos->Thiel CS3.7

multichannel DVDA/SACDs
Denon 4010 Universal player ->DenonLink/HDMI->Denon AVR-4810
AVR pre out to ARC Ref 5SE to front L/R
AVR pre out to
- Bel Canto REF500M to Thiel MCS1 centre
- Bel Canto REF1000M to Thiel PowerPoint 1.2 surround
- Wyred4Sound ICEBox MC 6xASP500 to surround back/wide/height Thiel PowerPoint/1.2

Only downsides are the Denon 4010 is having problems reading discs.
01-04-13: Gammajo
Yes, but it reads and plays them, which works for me having as the poster does only a few of them anyway.
Duh. Any CD or DVD or BD player will do that but all you are hearing is the CD layer. No SACD.
SACDs are multi layer disks, they often include multiple mixes, generally 5.1 and Stereo and in the case of hybrid SACDs they also include a red-book layer that can be played in a regular CD player. (As Kr4explained so eloquently)

On my Cambridge751 I can select which mix I would like to hear. In my case it is always Stereo LPCM as I do not have processor and listen using only the dedicated stereo outputs. If I select 5.1 the player down mixes to stereo and it sounds inferior.

Unlike DSRemer I do not sell Cambridge or anything for that matter, but I recommend 751bd. It is an extraordinary value.

I hopes this helps.
...just my take, but Bluray is disappointing. Very rarely is it better than its Redbook counterpart.
You have chosen the wrong BDs.
Kr4 My Sony player is reading the SACD layer and states this is so on screen while playing, not the Redbook. What comes through the coax to the DAC is Downmixing the PCM signal according the manual
Gammajo, the SACD signal is in PCM, unless you specifically select the 5.1 track. There should be no downmixing per se. At least that is my understanding.

I scanned the manual and cannot see any reference to (1) downmixing SACD or to (2) DSD/SACD output from the coax jack.
kr4, the copyright vultures have hobbled the SACD industry so that only HDMI is passed as native resolution. All else (coax, optical) is down sampled to prevent high res ripping. Which makes SACD uninteresting compared to high res downloads where you can exercise more control over your source chain fidelity
Kr4 I confess I am lost. Manual for BDP-S580 Sony page 22-23 talks about this. I am concluding that the only way to hear SACD, even two channel SACD is with a Player that plays SACD, connect via HDMI to a precessor that accepts HDMI, not a preamp - correct or can one connect a player via RCA to a preamp and hear two channel SACD?
Or get an SACD player that does DSD to analog conversion directly without converting to PCM.

EMM Labs/Playback and I believe dCS have custom built DACs that do this.

I believe the Oppos use DSD capable DACs (off the shelf) as well.
kr4 How does one find the right ones?? I pick my music for the music...I used to try to get it in SACD, but all too often I was disappointed.
Gammajo said

I am concluding that the only way to hear SACD, even two channel SACD is with a Player that plays SACD, connect via HDMI to a precessor that accepts HDMI, not a preamp

Kr4 can correct me, but you can play stereo SACD from an SACD player through the analog, not the digital, output connected to a pre-amp. If you want 5.1 SACD, that is a different story - it is available only through digital HDMI output to a digital processor.

Not quite. Multichannel SACDs can be played using a Playback MPS5 and a cascade of MPD-5 DACs via the Playlink chain.

Using 1 MPS5+1 MPD5 gives you a 4.0 channel playback from a 5.1 source. Using 1MPS5+2MPD5 gives you 5.1 channel playback.

In the "cascade" you refer to, how are the MPS5 and the MPD-5 DAC(s) hooked up?

Whatever the answer, it sounds like an expensive proposition.
This seemed at first to be a very straight forward topic, but it turns out to be more complex than I thought.

My player, Cambridge 751bd, when playing a SACD, sends a PCM signal to my tv via the HDMI, unless I select the multi channel track. However, what I hear is the DSD signal decoded by the player's internal DAC and fed to my pre-amp via the dedicated stereo analog outputs.

So I support Dougmc's statement regarding stereo, however (I am not sure about this) but I believe that my player will decode the multi channel SACD track and send the signal to multi channel analog outputs. The unit has 5 Wolfsen DACs in it.
MPS 5 has a fibre Playlink output.

This goes to the Playlink input on the first MPD5

The first MPD5 has a Playlink output that goes to the second MPD5 :) if you can afford the 3rd unit.

The Playback Designs MPS5 and MPD5 list for US17k and 15k respectively. You can choose the layers to be played on the MPS5 (SACD stereo, SACD multichannel, CD)