The 3910 is excellent. It retailed for $1500 and can be had for around $400 used. Hard to beat at that price.
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I had the same problem as you did with my Denon 2900. I bought a used 3910 and it would not read SACDs. Finally, I found a Denon 3930 that has no issues reading discs. http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/transports/dvd-players/denon-dvd-3930ci
Some Sony players may have similar issues:
the lasers inside them players don't last forever man! Sony uses two of them. One for SACD and one for red book, maybe Denon does too.... sounds like they do to me from the OPs thoughts here.
I've heard from modders and sellers of Denon getting a trouble free one is the task at hand. A good one lasts a good long while without issue... while other's routinely do not and require lasers and other replacements now and then.
Add in the changes/improvements in digital playback, I'd look for a current CDP and maybe not a Denon... or another Denon that has been escalated performance levels via mods. The Mod Right 3910's are highly touted machines. A fully modded one keeps company with CDPs rangin well into the $6K arena.
Or you can have another laser installed for about $150 or so. I think it's like the Sony in that both lasers and motor are done at the same time.... or for $500 I'd just do me an Oppo BDP 83 and be done... or for about $250 the DVH 83 non Blue ray unit preowned... if you can catch one quick enough.
I gave up trying and just bought the BDP 83 instead... glad I did too. think SACD is great sounding, wait till you hear Blue ray audio.
Lots of options... do have fun.
i've had the same problem with denon lasers--owned a series of 2800 and 2910s which sounded great but eventually petered out. frankly, if you're committed to denon, you have to view 'em as disposable appliances; you can buy the 2800/2910 very cheaply ($100-200) used, so they're not a major investment. if, on the other hand, you want a comparable universal player which will last, i'd look at integra, pioneer elite, arcam etc.