Simple way to play hi-res files

I'm attracted by the sound quality and storage convenience (no plastic cases) of hi-res downloads such as those available from HDtracks and am looking for a simple way to store and play them. Please forgive the newbie questions.

I'm aware of music servers such as Olive but think there must be a simpler/cheaper way. I don't need things like internet radio or the ability to rip CDs. (Maybe someday I'll copy all my CDs, but that's way off.)

My current SACD player (a Maranz) lets one plug in a USB key and play audio files, but it's finicky and supports a limited number of audio formats. Are there newer players out there that let you attach an external hard drive that you can buy at any office supply store and read the contents? That's about the simplest scenario I can imagine.

If I have to go with a music server, I'd appreciate suggestions. I care most about sound quality, supporting a wide variety of formats (especially lossless ones), rather than bells and whistles.

You could use your SACD player as a transport into a brad new DAC with all the flexibility you are looking for. and still go direct from your SACD player into your preamp.

remember - you generally cannot get sacd into a digital stream...because it is encoded. thus you usually need to play sacd within a dedicated sacd player. you cannot play sacd thru the digital out unless it is into an encrypted output that goes into a dac by the same manufacturer.

If you get a separate DAC with the flexibility you seek, then when you play USB, you go usb to dac to preamp. When you play sacd, you go sacd player to preamp. and you can experiment by going CD thru your marantz direct to preamp...or thru the dac to see if the dac is better.
"Are there newer players out there that let you attach an external hard drive that you can buy at any office supply store and read the contents? That's about the simplest scenario I can imagine. "

Yes, Oppo BDP-93/95. They do everything you want to do. The 95 has the better analog output using Sabre DACS. If you plan on using an HDMI connection exclusively, get the 93. The video sections are identical between the two...

I own the Oppo 95 and it will not play Apple Lossless. Plus it will only play a very limited amount of storage.
Depending on your budget you could:

1) go with the Bryston BDP-1 and put your digital files on a USB hard drive or USB flash stick. You need an outboard D/A to hear music from the files (like you SACD player digital in).

2) go with a PS Audio PWT. You can burn high res files to DVD and play them with this player (as well as CDs). Digital output can be fed to your D/A.
Thanks to everyone for the replies; they are all helpful.

Ozzy, When you say the Oppo "plays only a limited amount of storage" I'm not sure what you mean. Since it has connections for external hard drives (USB or eSATA) I would think storage would not be an issue.

Oppo only recognizes drives up to 2TB.
Trying to browse that many files on the Oppo is very tedious. I just switched to a Squeezebox Touch, works great. The ipad app (ipeng) is very easy to use.
The Bryston BDP-1 plays high-res files easily and beautifully, and is a simple solution.Ask anyone who has one.

Saeyedoc, thanks for your comment; I can certainly imagine that browsing a large collection on a little screen would be a pain.

Two folks mentioned Bryston: I'm sure it's a fantastic player, based on what I've read, but it's a little out of my price range and would require purchase of a DAC, since my Marantz SA8003 doesn't have digital inputs.

I've been researching music servers like the Marantz NA-7004 and the Cambridge Audio Sonata NP30. I don't need internet radio etc., but they would both let me attach a USB drive (formatted in FAT32, I know) and both have iPad apps to control them, which I like. If anybody has experience with these or similar pieces, I would appreciate any comments.
The problem with the Oppo is not the size of the screen, I'm using a 50" plasma. It's the limited browsing options and slow interface.
It's so easy to scroll through things with the ipad, add to playlists, see cover art, pull up detailed file info, create random playlists, etc.

The analog output stages in the DAC will have a big inpact on the sound. I like the Bryston because it uses Class A discrete circuitry instead of the more common IC opamps.

My issue with the CA NP30 is the analog output stage is opamps and these can sound a bit on the bright side (as is commonly reported by users of the 840C)

And I would check with CA, but I do not think the NP30 can directly access USB hard drives without the use of a PC.