The Sony SCD-1 can be had for $3k brand new, factory sealed A stock, with full warranty. I think that makes most other units obsolete.
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I used a SCD 1 for several months and sold it. Compared to my Meridian 508-24, it just wasn't as good-period. SACD sounded ok but I was not going to rush out with a new format. It messed with female voices a little and just didn't sound as liquid (a slight edge existed). I have gone back to the Meridian and want be parting with it anytime soon.
I compared the SCD 1 with the 777ES before I bought the thing. I honestly felt the SCD 1 was a little better. Most people consider them equals other than the balanced outputs that the 777 doesn't have. Also, there is some difference between the 777 2 channel and the 777 multi - channel. I felt a slight degradation exists with the multi channel. I'm sure there will be some conflicting opinions as usual but it's not for me!
The SCD-777es used although I think you will have to stretch to around $1400. It is very good on redbook as well as SACD. Forget the Meridian it simply is not as good on redbook as the Sony (SCD-77es) is and on SACD the Sony is in another league. I have not personally experienced any players (SACD) in the $1000 price point; so I can not comment. Just my thoughts
I would just get a good older redbook player if I was you. If you don't have a real high interest in sacd then why buy one. None of the Sacd players above can be had for $1000 but all will beat the pants off an older $1000 redbook player on redbook and hold their own with some of the best. I think their may have been a post the other day on what is the best redbook player for $1000, you might want to do a search. Good luck
Bigtee is correct with the Meridian comments. I compared my Sony SCD-777ES directly to the 508.24 and the Meridian was better, not by a hugh margin, but better. The SOny was literally brand new out of the box. I did not buy the Meridian for two reasons, it was being discontinued and I got the Sony for the employee price. Again, since there are so many 777s on the market, give them all your best offer. Then later you can get it modded and really have something to talk about.
I held on to my excellent redbook system (MSB Gold DAC, P1000 power supply and Sonic Frontiers transport, Cardas Lightning coax digital) and bought an entry level Sony SACD player which was modded by Matthew Anker. Waiting for this to burn in but my objective was to try SACD's without breaking the bank. If you've got the shelf space and interest, a viable option.