Recently my grey-market Marantz SA-12S1 went caput and was eventually replaced by an Esoteric DV-50S, which I like a lot on most things, especially redbook and DVD-A & V. But I've noticed I've lost a bit of the glimmer I had with the Marantz on SACD, a media I fell in love with on my older player. I'm thinking about modding my Esoteric at some point and I would like some input on how the Esoteric shapes up with various modders on SACD in particular. But I'm also thinking about adding another Marantz just for this format only. I never much cared for the SA-12S1 on redbook and its DVD capability was passable, though sonically very good. On SACD though, I was quite impressed. I'd like to see some evaluation of the Marantz product line on SACD. For instance, comparing the SA-11S1 and SA-15S1, what are the distinguishing characteristics sonically? which of the two would be a better purchase? Common sense says the SA-11S1 hands down, but the 15S1 also uses the CS4397 crystal DACs used by my previous Marantz player, though it does seem to employ the lower quality transformer used in Marantz' DVD players. Also how do the SA-17 and 8260 stack up compared to these other two? I'm aware of the quality mods performed by TRL on the SA-14s, but I live in the far east, and if I'm going to do a mod, probably my own Esoteric will be first in line.
Currently I'm using a MF Tri-Vista 300 with a Nu-Vista 3D CDP. In this system and using a Purist Dominus Ferox PC, I like the Nu-Vista quite well on redbook compared to the Esoteric, which certainly goes lower in the bass. The Nu-Vista does better on acoustic music, and I use the Esoteric with electronics and electroacoustic music in addition to the other formats mentioned.
Also, I'd like any thoughts regarding the Marantz ST-17 tuner, which I'm considering buying later in the fall. How does it compare with other tuners at or near its price class? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.