In my experience, Sony's SACD players consistently offers the best SACD performance throughout its product range. Their redbook performance to me generally sounds flat and lifeless. To me, it is the subtle nuances and better reproduction of tonal colours within the music that makes music music. If you're not certain about SACD, I would say that even Sony's budget players are surprisingly good in SACD reproduction, perhaps mainly due to the superiority of the format over redbook.
With that said, I run a DAC with my Sony SACD player. SACD is important to me and I've been looking for a mid-priced solution that do both things as well as any player in its price range (in other words get good value). Unfortunately, I have not found one that I'm confident in yet. Since you talked about Musical Fidelity, take their $6500 Trivista player for example. From the reviews I've read, there's a general consensus that the Trivista's SACD performance is similar to the $3000 Sony XA9000ES. In fact, I haven't read of any mid-priced player that beat the XA9000ES in every way in SACD performance. So what does that mean? That I'm paying an extra $3500 +/- a thousand or two to get better redbook performance? I'll probably get similar or better performance buying a dedicated player or DAC, although I would save money on cables and have the advantage of convenience. Have you notice that most reviews of SACD players and of modded players talk about redbook comparisons only? Perhaps SACD performance is simply too similar to make meaningful comparisons?