The SACD Standard (all 3 versions) is noticably better sounding on Redbook CD. I've used both over several years. Krell will tell you the same.
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From the limited research I did before buying my DVD Standard, it seems the SACD is marginally better, but to me, the reliability issues with the SACD transport put me off.
Like you, I also looked into the 280CD, but couldn't audition one locally. Again, from what I read, it seems the 280CD is more along the lines of the DVD Standard, but not as refined as the SACD.
In my system, I'm using Quattro Fil XLR running balanced into a KAV-400xi and Red Dawn RevII for my Focal Utopia Micro's. I also use Nordost power cords and I'm really happy with the way my system sounds.
I have been really happy with redbook playback on the DVD Standard. You must run it balanced to get the most from it. Power conditioning helped as well.
The sonic differences between the SACD Standard and KAV-280p are not subtle, the Standard is superior in every way, plus it plays SACDs. The KAV-280cd has been out of production since 2002, which is way too long by today's digital standards. The current highly acclaimed $10K Krell Evolution 505 is basically a CAST version/direct descendant of the SACD Standard, which says a lot for the Standard...(read the recent stereophile review of the 505).
I have owned the KAV300CD, then the SACD Standard Mk2, which I recently had upgraded to Mk 3. A year or so ago I also had the DVD Standard on loan for a few weeks while the SACD went for repair.
The KAV300CD was rather 'dark' sounding, but had the Krell trademark slam and punchiness. The SACD Standard had much more extension in the highs, better transparency and greater resolution. The trade-off was a more polite presentation with less punch. Overall though, a great improvement.
The DVD Standard regained some of the punchiness of the KAV300CD, it almost matched the resolution of the SACD Standard, but was not so transparent and refined as the latter. For instance, female vocals lost some delicacy and intimacy.
However it does has gorgeous video output, so if you want both audio and video, and are prepared to sacrifice a little refinement in the audio to have fantastic video, then the DVD Standard would be a good choice.
If purely for music playback, then SACD Standard will be more satisfying.
The SACD Standard Mk3 is on a completely new level. It is supremely resolving, refined, and nuanced, yet it has slam, punch and pace. A very high end player. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Buy a used Mk2, and get Krell to upgrade it to Mk3 for you.
The upgrade has been discussed here:
Expensive, but absolutely worth every cent IMHO.