Well, let me just state that, for at least my record, the Sony SCD777 or SCD1 are definitely a cut above the Sony 9000es DVD/SACD player!!! We've done side by sides on some of the best associated equipment set-ups, and the 9000ES is most definitely not in the same league as the flagship 777es and scd1 pieces! It shows much better res on SACD's, ofcorse than standard 16/44's on the same player. But isn't nearly the last word in refinement, dynamic contrast, or transparency that the, 777ES or SCD1 can deliver.
I've heard the reviews say the Maratz player for $7500 show even better contrast and air, by a small shave. But, again, I have serious quams with someone stating implying you could possibly sell a better Sony 777/SCD1 in favor of a DVD player, that happens to throw SACD processing in as an after thought of some sort!!! This is undoubtably just like assuming cheeper cd players that can do 16/44 are as good as any other 16/44 cd player that costs thousands!!!..not the same.
As for the combi players that play both the new DVD-A format and SACD. I just got back from spending 4 day's at CES, and talking to more people in the industry than I car to remember. And the consesus seems to be that all the DVD-A players, that are currently out, down convert or only process 24/44!...not anything promised like the potential 24/192 cable stuff!...? This is just what people in the industry where passing around. It sounded kinda like what they were saying about the whole D-TV thing...which promises the potential of 1080 resolution and digital sound. But, that doesn't mean you'll get 1080 and 5.1! Sounds like they're doing the same thing here. It doesn't supprise me that if you do buy a DVD-A player today,you'll only hear 24/44 processed sound quality, and not the hoped for 24/96 or 24/192 category...hummmm?