I have not noticed this issue with my 970.
I have had my 980H for about 5 months or so and I haven't had that problem. I listen to lot's of audiophile recordings and this doesn't happen thus far. I have a friend that has one too and he doesn't have that problem. But... we are both using the digital outputs and going through Scott Nixon Tube DAC's. I don't know if this will change the outcome or not. I will test the system and if I find something different I will report it here. Thanks for the heads up.
Mine does it and it is pretty irritating. The player has been buggy since day one. I had to reload the latest firmware which stopped the occasional NO DISK message. There is no fix for the half-note delay yet although the beta firmware release supposedly lessens this. Their tech support says it is only a half note and only on the first track but I can hear it on several tracks on a Dylan album I just played. In addition, in the setup menu you can choose autoplay on or off. I chose off and on SACD it does not play automatically. You have to press start. On CD's autoplay off has no effect. It just begins playing. Tech support was clueless on this problem, but it could be related to the half note delay. $169--it was just too good to be true.
My 981 does this too :-( but only with RBCDs, SACD sounds fine, although my Depeche Mode SACDs play the RBCD layer (I know there is a fix for this, but I don't have a TV hooked up to it right now to upgrade the firmware). It is because of this that I am now looking for a higher end player, I just haven't decided whether to go the RBCD+outboard DAC and separate SACD player route or go for one of the combined models.