Great Blu-ray or DVD player for CD Transport

So I'd like to switch to a universal player to watch movies and listen to my CD's. My main concern is redbook CD performance through digital out (SPDIF or AES/EBU), not video. Even a DVD player that looks good on a 42" 720P HDTV is fine with me. Having a blu ray player would be nice but frankly I don't care too much. Faster CD loading times would also be a plus.

I currently am using an Oppo 981 DVD player as a transport. It's ok, but tends to sound a little bright compared to other dedicated CD transports I've used. The player would be used with a TACT M2150X digital amplifier so I don't need a DAC. Something under $500 used would be preferred.

Any thoughts?
PS3 at $299. toss in SACD,DVD-A, games, and internet streaming for free. Run bit direct output and let your system sort it out.
Not the Oppo. Although it is a great buy, it is not very good using digital out.
Tbg, you have any suggestions for a better CD transport option that can at least do DVD?
Dsutfin, a Denon DVD-3910. You should be able to find a used one.
I advise against the Denon 3910. It has a documented history of premature laser assembly failure. I had two replaced in mine, and a quick Google search will return others commenting about the same problem.

If you can find a used one for a couple hundred bucks, it'd probably be worth the expense, but don't count on its long term reliability. Otherwise, pass.
Seems to me the Oppo BDP-83 or BDP-80 would be worthwhile buying on Oppo's 30 day money back guarantee.

That way you get to hear the player in your system and decide for yourself if it's to your liking. If not, return it.

Both are within your budget.
I had my Denon for three years with no problems. I also know a guy that still has his after five years. The Oppo is outstanding for everything except as a transport. If not a Denon, I would next recommend a Sony or an old Acoustic Arts Drive One. I had a Shanling at the time that I considered the Oppo, which I still have to play sacds and HDCDs. The Shanling was far superior as a transport.
I had considered the Denon 3910 but was concerned about the laser reliability and loading times based on what I've read on the net.

Anyone have any familiarity with Pioneer Elite players (dv-59avi, dv-79avi)? I used to own an old pioneer DVD player and was always surprised by the fast load times as well as the general transport quality. In fact I was actually using it in place on a Muse Model 5 transport and was amazed how similar they sounded. The muse player was better, but the fact that a $2500 cd transport and $200 dvd player didn't sound much different really surprised me. I guess the fact pioneer transports are used by other hifi companies says something about their general quality.
Go with a Pioneer. I've used the DV-79AVi for over three years with heavy duty use without a problem. Another option is to find a used Denon DCD-1650AR cd player. It is great as a transport. Built like a battleship. Stereophile's Sam Tellig used it as a transport.
I have been using a Pioneer DV-58AV. Not only Digital out
to my favorite DAC for CD, but also utilizing multi-channel High Resolution DVD-Audio as well as multi-channel
SACD Disks. Downmixing these to 2-Channel via the Pioneer,
is probably the best thing that I have ever heard off of an optical Disk. Two Channel versions of these Disks seem
to lack dynamics. Multi-Channel Downmixes seem to have a
vastly superior Soundstage with lots of depth. Dynamics seem to be restored as well. Also convenient for 2 Channel
Systems. Picked my Pioneer up on sale dirt cheap for $250.00. Must be the Downloading Fad.
having cycled through a number of the denons (2800, 2910, 3910) before settling on a pio 59av, i gotta vote with the pioneer folk. the denons sound great under optimal conditions, but they're too damned quirky and unreliable--lasers fail, drawers stick, etc. the pioneers, on the other hand, work flawlessly, read discs quickly and operate silently. the integra dps 6.5/10.5 etc. also make nice, inexpensive transports (i'm seem to recall they're based on the pioneer platform).
I appreciate the input from everybody! On somewhat of an impulse buy I ended up purchasing a Pioneer Elite DV-79avi that looks like it's pretty close to new condition for $265 including shipping and all fees. At that price I don't think I can do much better!

From reading the player's specs what I really like is the additional features it provides to improve audio quality like:

-Separate audio transformer
-Isolated audio boards
-One button ability to shut off all video circuitry

Once I've had some time with the unit I'll post my findings.
I hooked up the new Pioneer DV-79avi last night and I have to admit that it was an immediate improvement over the Oppo player I was previously using. The overall presentation was much cleaner and transparent. Tighter bass, deeper soundstage, smoother treble, etc. Considering the unit is built like a tank I feel like a got a really good deal considering the $250 price tag.

On a side note the video performance was extremely good to for upconverting DVD's. Better than the Oppo in this department as well.
I'm not surprised. FWIW it's worth, the Oppo BDP-80 is also much better than the Oppo-980 I owned previously in those areas (and the BDP-83 is much better than the BDP-80). Have fun.
How about the Nad T585 or M55 which plays redbook very well on their own but are also built solidly if used as a transport?
Dsutfin, does DV-79avi do Multi-channel SACD/High Res. DVD
Audio Disks? Will it downmix these to 2 Channels? This has
atleast 1/3 wider and deeper Soundstage than Redbook CD.
No faky or fuzzy Dolby Surround Sound here, not when downmixed. Sounds crystal clear without ANY Digititus in the high frequencies. First time that I have ever heard THAT, off of an Optical Music Disk!
I have an Onkyo DV-SP1000(same as Integra DPS-10.5) and could not be more happy. This unit is rock solid(26+ lbs) with one of the smoothest and quietest transports I have ever seen. While the internal DAC's are good(Wolfson), used as a digital transport is the way to go. Here is an ad for one that just sold.

Take a look at this thread with photos.

Checked out Onkyo DV-SP1000 on forums.klipsch, Willland.
It looks like a very nice Unit. The claim on forums.klipsch
is that it will not do HD DVD. I don't know if this is true
or not. If it is then it will not do Multi-Channel HD DVD
audio, nor will it Downmix these to two Channels. I am still amazed at how such Players can still wring out even
more performance out of 2 Channel Redbook CD. Still think
that 2 Channel SACD/HD DVD Audio sounds worse than CD.
Probably why the guy in forums.klipsch moved his HD DVD
Player. I think that the Manufacturers tried compensating
by utilizing Multi-Channel SACD, and Multi-Channel HD DVD
Audio. Downmixing these to 2 Channel,IMHO, set a whole new
Standard when done correctly. No-one even seems to be aware, or there would be more Audiophiles familiar with this. Could be the HD Multi-Channel Downloads completely
blotted these Disks into oblivion, sad!

The Onkyo DV-SP1000 is a pre-BD/HDDVD universal player. It will play all formats(CD, SACD, DVD-A, DVD, etc.) except for Blu-ray and HDDVD. Redbook CD's sound awesome. I have never played any SACD's or DVD-A's with this player. By the way, that is my player in the photos on the Klipsch forum. I am actively looking for a second Onkyo DV-SP1000 or Integra DPS-10.5 in black to use with my bedroom system.

You say that the Onkyo DV-SP1000 is a pre-BD/HDDVD
Universal Player. Then you claim that it will play all
formats(CD,SACD,DVD-A,DVD,etc.) except for Blu-ray and
***HDDVD***. I will give you and Onkyo the benefit of the
doubt, but first which is it? Does it play High Resolution
Multi-Channel DVD-Audio and Downmix to 2 Channels? Does it
play Multi-Channel SACD and Downmix to 2 Channels? If it does, I stand corrected. If it does, I might try to
purchase one. I am just trying to find out for information
purposes only. Sorry for the misunderstanding!

I only have personal experience with Redbooks CD's and DVD. I dug these up on the web.

I just looked at the setup menu on my SP1000, and there is an option for 2 channel or multichannel for SACD.