Before I ask my question, first here's my story. So I got my Sony DVP-NC650V combo player in yesterday. It plays CDs, DVDs, and SACDs. I bought it because I've been curious about SACD for a long time but the entry price to satisfy this curiosity has been too steep for me until now. I setup the player, plopped in some SACDs of albums that I also own on CD, and listened. The short version of the story: I was disappointed. The long version follows. I AB-ed Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and Dave Brubeck's Time Out on CD and SACD. I adjusted the internal volume of the CD player to match the SACDs as closely as possible for each album (the respective levels were different for each album). CDs were played on a Marantz CC-4000 5-disc CD changer; SACDs on the Sony DVP-NC650V. Both used analog out to a Marantz SR-7000 receiver, direct stereo input setting on receiver. Interconnects were AudioQuest Jade for CD and AudioQuest Diamondback for SACD. Speaker cable was Tributaries SP-4 to Paradigm Monitor 9s, no subwoofer. My expectation of SACD going in was that I was going to be wow-ed by the experience. Instead, I was impressed but not overly so. By synchronizing the CD and SACD I switched back and forth to listen for differences. The SACDs had a slightly fuller and smoother sound, but that's about it. The drums in Time Out SACD sounded more realistic because I could hear the rattling of the drum enclosures more clearly instead of just the sound of drumsticks striking the drum surfaces. The horns in both SACD albums sounded smoother at higher frequencies and maintained the punch of high notes without the ear-grating effect I noticed on the CDs. All of this is good, but not incredible. If I walked into a room playing SACD without knowing it was SACD I'd probably think it was CD, on this SACD player anyway. Before you respond with the typical debunking answers, consider these points: 1. Yes, I realize this was not a true AB comparison, nor was it blind in any way. The equipment for playing each format was different, cables were similar but different, and the levels were not exactly calibrated. But the playing field was definitely skewed in favor of SACD (except for the players, which I'm not sure how they compare). SACD had better interconnects, the calibrated levels were close but the SACD was oh-so-slightly louder, and I wanted the SACD to kick ass. All indications pointed to the conclusion that if SACD is really that much better than CD I would be blown away. I wasn't. Wanting SACD to be awesome but barely being able to tell the difference between it and CD is not my idea of "amazing". 2. So what if the SACD player is only $399 retail? If this is a product that is so awesome that mainstream public will pick it up, it should offer a performance increase similar to, say, DVD over VHS, or CD over tape, regardless of price. A low-end DVD player will blow away a low-end VCR, same with CD and tape. A low-end SACD player should blow away a low-end CD player. Well, that's what I think it should do anyway. Maybe my expectations were unrealistic. Now to my question. Is the media player break-in theory true or is it a myth? Will playing this thing for a week non-stop really open up the sound and make it produce the incredible sound I was expecting to hear from it? What's the basis of this theory? Am I just expecting too much out of it? Do I have to shell out $800 for the 555ES before I'm amazed? If so, see my #2 comment above. Thanks for any comments, criticisms, and insights. I still want SACD to kick ass. Help me make it happen. So far SACD is not the killer app I'd thought it would be.