Long Post Well this is not meant to be a crit of SACD but a potted history of my investigations over the last 2+ years. It is not meant to be a buyers guide to SACD players as my particular needs were quite specific and quite different to most of you. I am ONLY interested in SACD performance, not DVD, not CD. I already have sterling performers on CD and DVD that I am perfectly happy with, however I might comment on DVD / CD performance to help others. The first player I heard was a SONY 2 channel SCD 1. It cost the princely sum of £2700. It was lovely. It showed me the way forward. Sony I expect rushed this to the market at a loss. The internals are a bit scruffy but the metal work is well done as are all Sony ES players. I loved the SACD sound but the show where I heard it the most (hogged it for almost 2 hrs!) I bought a Tag DVD player so the cash flow was limited. Two things worried me were that was it was 2 channel only (and Sony had announced SACD multi channel intentions already) and there was no digital out. I waited and closely watched the market ever since. It was interesting that in going to my local Sony centre recently they inform me that this player is now down to £4000 from £5000. When I point out to them I originally auditioned it at £2700 they dont believe me, hinting that I was a . The SCD1 had a lovely top loading transport but was so slooooow to operate. CD performance was excellent and only bettered by the like of Marantz CD7s and their ilk. 25+kg of sheer metal work. Oooh er. I like it allot. Next up was a Sony SCD 777ES. Another top loader but a simpler case (still really heavy), simpler power supply and no balanced outputs. Sound is still top notch however, close to the 1 but not quite there. Priced at a reasonable £1700. Tempting but same drawbacks as before. CD performance very good as well. Disc at this stage very limited and I decide to start collecting hybrid discs that my DVD and CD players can read (the CD layer). This will allow me to build a SACD disc collection for when I buy hardware. Jump 2 years into the future and Sony and co have different ideas. Most discs are not hybrids. Big downer in my book. Independents seem to be making SACD hybrids but not the Sony empire. This does NOT impress me. Yet again Sony is that 90% company. Next up is the DVP S9000ES DVD /SACD / CD player at about £900. Press love it but this one leave me cold. It does not excel at anything with better SACD players (SCD XB940 see below) and DVD players (long list). Next up as I have been reluctant to spend money on hardware, Sony release SCD XB940 at £550. Very tempting. Still only 2 channel but cheapish. CD performance was okay, with many commentators describing this as a CD player that also plays SACD discs. I extensively demo this beastie. I am unimpressed with CD performance but SACD bit shows a big jump in performance. However when I compare the SCD XB940 doing SACD with both my DVD payer and CD player doing the CD layer, they are both substantially better. Confused, I was. Still two channel. I leave the market for another year. Multi channel SACD hits the market. Horray. Philips launch it with the SACD 1000. Philips being a co developer of DSD / SACD. I demo this player at £1300. Very good performance and a Philips! DVD performance was not brilliant but as I explained earlier I am after SACD only. In fact multi channel and 2 channel SACD performance was VERY good. It turns out Marantz did the audio bit for sister company (then) Philips. It shows. Marantz knock out their version at £3500 I think. It was better but not by much. Look at the internals in black and white and you will struggle to see any difference! Put the pictures in colour and you will see all that lovely copper plating on the Marantz. Now how do they do that, copper oxidises .I know where my money will go. Marantz then go on to produce the SA 1, 2 channel but the best SACD player I have heard to date. Unfortunately £5k. This player (draw loader) does everything right and CD performance is great. Possibly better than the Marantz CD7 CD player (£3.5k) which I hold in high esteme. Sony fight back with a raft of new products. The DVP NS700 DVD / SACD / CD player. This leaves me cold. I wont say anymore as it will upset someone. The DVP NS900 DVD / SACD / CD player is a little better and gets rave reviews. Quite frankly I dont know why and it has design faults. I bite my lip again. Alvin Gold reviews it on HCC, says it all I think. Now Pioneer entered the UK market with the 747 players. As well as doing it better than Sony they have realised that a substantial part of the market (not me) wants an all in integrated player. It still doesnt do many of the flavours of DTS or HDCD but it puts DVD, DVD A, SACD and CD all in one player for UK market for the first time. I have a play with it. CD performance is the equivalent of a £200 model. DVD A is easily matched by current £400 DVD A models. DVD performance is good but SACD is not good, or not as good as it could be. However I recognise that this is not what it was all about and just accept that. Others however make great claims for this player that are not justified by its performance. At the end of the day it is not about performance with the 747 but about everything all in one box. Unfortunately this is not what I want so I move on from this diversion.