As I have posted, I recently bought a Benchmark DAC1 that I like a lot. I first tried a cheap Philips DVD player as a source and that sounded awful. I broke out a old and quirky Optimus portable CD player with digital out and got very good sound, but the player was in the habit of stopping without notice or reason and all the options like track selection no longer worked so it was not a long term solution. It gave me a good soundstage and very clear highs, something I really liked. I bought a used Rotel 1070 to use as a transport and that has a completey different sound. It is darker, the highs are not as clear but singers voices are more clear and sweet.
Bits may be bits but every player I have used as a transport has a different sound with its own strengths and weaknesses played through the same DAC using the same digital cable.