Sony XAE777 CDP or Bel Canto DAC?

I'm on the fence about adding either one of these in my system to replace my Phillips 963SA. Either one of these options should cost about $1500 when you factor in a replacement transport to pair up to a new Bel Canto 2. How does a transport/DAC stack up to the infamous Sony. I listen to rock music only & have a DNA-1, CJ PV10 (soon to be replaced?), Tyler Reference monitors with MIT & DH labs cables.
I've listened to them both, and the Bel Canto DAC is no match for even a stock SCD-XA777ES. The Philips player is amazing for the price. A few hundred in mods could probably elevate it to near the XA-777ES. You could upgrade your cables with the savings.
I own the Bel Canto DAC 2, and it is a highly-refined and detailed DAC. I do not have direct experience with the Sony, but from comments read on A'gon, the general consensus is that it is an OK, but not outstanding redbook player. So, I think many would disagree with Thsalmon's assessment of both pieces.
I really want a GREAT redbook player with solid SACD performance, what are some other choices.
You can get a Modded Art DIO or Scott Nixon DAC and then get a used CDP that can be used as a transport. I still use an old Phillips CD-80 CDP as a transport and am reluctant to give it up.I have even had offers for it if I were ever to sell it.

Do not use a DVD as a transport unless someone knows something I have not been told. I have been told they are not up to the performance of CDP's when used as a transport.

I have a Bolder Modified ART DAC with different power supply than the stock version. Now I think I would like to try the SN DAC,but i am going to try a Panisonic Digital Receiver and will be doing an A\B to see what kind of performance I can get using the internal DAC of the reciever instead of the ART before I decide on selling it.

There are threads at Audio Circle concerning shootouts of particular lowcost DACs which might intrest you. I would read them. Also checkout Harmonic Discord as there is relevant info there.

There is no sense in my estimation to buy a CDP for it's DAC. They are a changing almost every month and you can tailor the sound of your system to find the best combo for your taste and synergy with your particular equiptment. Plus I think you get better performance by choosing seperates.

Good luck!
Yor best bang for the buck would be to mod your 963sa as it would more than compete with the 777.

If your not into diy, then contact Doug at for many different levels of mods to the 963sa.

Dvd players that make great transports at there used prices are the Sony 7000es,7700es and 9000es to name a few.

Also, I would buy a Denon 5900[if you can find one] before buying the 777.
I have one I have been auditioning for the last week and can say whith around 90 hours of sacd burn in that this player offers better sacd sonics than the original 777 and Phillips sacd 1000 and is almost as good as a Modwright Signature 9000 es in sacd mode.
I would say that the signature offers slightly better inner detail, but the 5900 could improve even more whith 200 or so hours.
I have hardly any hours on the redbook or dvd-a sections but will comment on them later in the review section.
One new 5900 owner sold his Consonance cd/sacd player after hearing the 5900 and actions speak louder than words.

As for the video section, it offers as close to hi def as your likely to see on well transfered material.
Who says video can't be a part of the mix whith sacd/cd...after hearing this machine....not me.

If you use the video, It is as close to hi def as your likely to see whith well transfered material
Your idea of what sounds good may be very different from what you get from other people in a thread like this. If there is any way you can take a few players home and give them a good listen for a few days, I would. Any player you do a search of on Audiogon or Audio Asylum forum will turn up mixed opinion. I think you can see that from your post here. Good Luck!!

I had a Phillips 1000 but it died & they sent me a refund check instead of fixing it. I have been quite pleased with both of these machine's performance but I want to take it to another level while staying under $1500.00 used.