The mega changer idea is a great one. I've got a 300 disk Pioneer Elite that cost me $475. It's the best $475 I ever spent. I just put it in random mode and sit back and enjoy the surprises and forgotten gems in my music collection.
And if you still want to go modular, buy a Levinson 360 DAC for $3200, hook it up to the digital output of the changer and enjoy essentially state of the art sound for a (relatively) small outlay. And you know that Levinson is always going to be worth something.
I wouldn't be afraid of taking the SACD plunge. It's here to stay. Many, many of both the large and small recording studios have bought Sony's DSD recorders and are already working with this breakthrough format.
By the way, I heard the Wadia 861 today. Wadia has a major problem, if you ask me. As I told the Wadia rep, the 861 has better detail and sounds more real than their megabucks reference 27ix DAC and 270 transport. What a great new machine. Too bad the price went up $500 to $7950.
Lastly, you've mentioned Krell several times now and I wanted to make a comment. I've owned Krell gear and they make some of the best products in the high end. But don't think for a minute that just because they tell you the piece you bought from them will be upgradeable, that in fact it will be. Krell is one of the more egregious high end companies when it comes to orphaning products. And even if it is upgradeable, the price of doing so usually doesn't make sense -- it's cheaper to sell the old unit and buy a new one than to purchase the upgrade. That's not just true of Krell by the way, but most high end gear: Levinson, Wilson, etc.
One other thing: One reviewer, Martin Colloms of HFN&RR, an absolutely notorious Krell partisan, recently gave the CAST connection system a surprisingly emphatic thumbs down. He much prefered the standard connections to the CAST. Until those comments, I don't think I had ever ready anything negative whatsoever about a Krell product from Mr. Colloms. Anyway, he's not God, but you should definitely audition this for yourself.
[This message has been edited by PF (edited July 28, 2000).]