I've had the same experience CD vs SACD. My Wadia 861 sounded much better playing redbook CDs compared to a Sony SCD-777ES playing SACDs. Same music/album, of course. This was in my friend's system using his cables (TARA, V-D), his pre (Spectral) & his power amp (Plinius SA-250).
My experience was brief (few hrs one evening). Many people write that one has to live w/ SACDs for a long time to perceive just how good they are over CDs.
That's bollocks! In my experience, if something is much better sounding, I can tell immediately. It takes me about 1 track on a known CD (music known to me) to figure out whether the sound is better or worse (to whatever I'm comparing it to - electronics to electronics or CD to CD). If one has to live w/ SACDs for a while before perceiving their superiority over CDs then I don't consider that any sort of superiority! It's a slight difference/improvement that I cannot justify as a major expense in my system.
Over on a EMM Labs thread, I read a whole bunch of owners just brown-nosing each other informing all those who read that thread just how good the EMM Labs modified Philips transport is for SACD!! Looks like people justifying their huge investment into SACD (if they didn't justify their postion, they'd look foolish spending this much money!). Most of world has seen marginal (consumer ROI) improvement in SACD. Many people in the audio biz have also written about SACD's marginal improvement over CDs.
My intention is *not* to touch off a battle over this subject (it's been flogged already in another thread on Audiogon) but to suggest that the investment in SACD is probably not worth your hard-earned money. Atleast not right now.
If you insist on getting a SACD player, get something inexpensive so that it doesn't pinch you should it not pan out for you for one reason or the other.
FWIW. YMMV. IMHO.