I found one of these players new and have decided to buy it. My initial intention is to you use it as a transport to feed an outboard DAC, maybe like the Bel Canto DAC 2. I am considering this because I have several hundered redbook CD's and no SACD's. I bought it because I wanted a multi-disc player as a transport.

My dilemma is, should I do as planned or get the thing modded out and try it as a stand alone player? ( I figure to get the thing totally tricked out would cost about $700, $200 more than I paid for it).

I would love to hear some opinions about this.....thanks,
Dan Wright mods are wonderful. So good that I sold my Bel Canto DAC.
I had mine modded by Richard Kern ( makes a big difference, redbook CD's included. Before the mod, I did play it long enough to get it pretty well broken in, never especially liked the sound (though I never used it with a DAC, either). As you may know, the break-in takes several hundred hours, so don't be too quick to evaluate it. After the mod, it also required lots of hours of playing to break it in, but it now sounds very good. The mod I had done included basic parts upgrade plus the Audiocom Super Clock.
I have a 333 and thought of having it modified, and considered the bel canto and the musical fidelity ac 324. I bought 324 and its almost as good on redbook as the sony333 sacd.In some respects its better. Check it out its pretty analog sounding
Mine was well broken before I decided to changes things a bit... I felt the stock redbook was really good but the addition of a stock ART DI/O added in a little more detail. Just before all the hubub about modding the DI/O started I decided to have my 333ES "Kerned" - Level 1 mods and a Superclock. While SACD is appreciably better and I hope that it will increase (as I haven't played many SACD discs since its return)the redbook presentation is substantially better than stock or my non-modded DI/O which went down the road in a hurry.

There were redbook differences right out of the box after the mod - more info coming through such as extra guitar plucks I had never heard before, etc. and it has just got better and better after each hour.

If you are hesitant about negating the warranty with mods you could keep the unit stock for SACD and add in a DAC such as a modded DI/O (reported to be a killer at a total cost of less than $600 (unit + DI/O mods) or a DAC of your choice.

In my opinion, the cost of the mods were well worth the price of admission...
Now I am considering something really different. Forget the mods, forget the outboard DAC. If I did all the mods and still bought an outboard upsampling/interpolating DAC, I would spend as much as I would if I bought a used Sony SCD-1, which appears to do great things on both SACD and redbooks. I know, I wanted a changer for my wife, but I could buy a cheap changer for her for the two or three times a year she actually uses the stereo. Am I crazy or what?
If you are willing to spend $1995 than the ne Somy XA777es is the way to go. The 333es is overated inmy book and even with mods doesn't compare to th Sony 9000es which is a great buy right now $829 new from J&R music World.

Have fun.
He did a DVD player for me, and it wasn't all that good. I would go for Richard Kern's or Dan Wright's mod. A friend of mine got Kern's, and it's really good.
You might want to check out Ric Schultz's take on the mod situation on He's got some pretty serious mods for the Sony SACD players and makes a good case for going this route over an external DAC. He also talks about the XA777 and his upcoming mods to that unit. Definitely worth a read for an honest tweaker's perspective. Best of luck.

Many thanks to all the constructive and informed opinions offerred about my questions and concerns!