Marantz SA-8001 vs Rega vs TRL Mods vs ?

This is about the endless search for the 'perfect' CD player, regardless of price. Or perhaps it's a search for ultimate value?

Based upon some positive feedback about the Marantz SA-8001 SACD player, I recently picked one up. I really like the way it performs so far, and feel that it sounds much more refined and 'sweet' than a Rotel 1072 HDCD player I had tried...(not that the Rotel sounded bad.) I have also noticed a few comments that recommend TRL modification of the SA-8001 for improved performance.

Could someone that has had or heard the TRL mods to a SA-8001 discribe the nature of the improvement? Any basic idea what the TRL modifications consist of? Is it worth the investment to be TRL'd or would players like the Rega Apollo or Rega Saturn be an improvement from the modded or standard SA-8001?

The Rega Saturn for $2400 seems like a fair price for a very well built product but the top loading feature doesn't appeal to me. I did hear the Saturn at a local dealer and liked the sound of the Saturn well enough that I would have bought one if it loaded from the front. If the SA-8001 with TRL modifications can sound as good or better than the Rega Saturn, I'd probably go for TRL modding of the 8001.

I also was wondering why this local Rega dealer (who also carries Marantz) decided not to stock the SA-8001? He claimed that the 8001 was not even up to the performance level of the Apollo. I'd really love to have a chance to put the SA-8001 up against his Rega Saturn, but won't press my luck.

Are there any other obvious contenders I might want to consider in this $1000-2000.00 price range? And lastly, I don't have a local opportunity to hear any of the really 'high-end' Marantz players. Are they as good as their prices would suggest? Or would TRL'ing an SA-8001 get me 'close enough' to the high-end?

As a side note to LINN users, I also like the fact that my 'Classik' Linn remote controls from Majik and Kairn preamps can also fully control the Marantz 8001 Player. The 8001 also includes a decent headphone port that will easily drive a pair of Sennheiser HD580's, but can't really drive my STAX Lambda Pro headphones.

Thanks in advance for any comments.
Once you get the TRL mod there will be no turning back !
No turning back, eh? Will I be held prisoner? What's the rest of the story?
Personally I'm not a fan of the Marantz players modified or not. However, why not just contact Paul Weitzel at TRL and have him give you the low down on the Marantz SA-8001. TRL used to modify another Marantz player, I believe the SA-11, or one of those models. After the TRL Sony 900 player came out TRL said it made the Marantz sound broken. Sony players IMO are more mod friendly as evidenced by the work of such shops as TRL and Modwright.
That is right my TRL modded Marantz SA8001 sounds worse overall than leaving it alone.I wish that I had never made this mod.