I've had good results with my Mark Levinson 390s, although it might be a tad above your price range.
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Where's all the Wadia fans? I am surprised that no one has mentioned any of the Wadia players. I have used the Wadia 860, and now have an 861. Both are excellent cd players, if you want to skip a preamp. Plus the Wadias can be adjusted, individually, to fit your system. I found them to be quite warm, with a great soundstage. And they are well within your price range.
There are also some really good modifications available, plus they are built like a tank. Check out Steve Huntley's Great Northern Sound Company website, www.greatnorthernsound.com, and check the Stereophile archives. They recently did an article on the 861.
I tried a Levinson 390s, after I sold my Wadia 860, but I found it to be a bit bright in my system, so I picked up an 861, and have been very happy.
You can find Wadias, here, occasionally, but they don't last long. Check them out further on the Wadia website.
Hope that helps.
I recently put the Resolution Audio Opus 21 up against the Wadia 301 for a long home trial. The Resolution Audio Opus 21 won in most every category except, a) sense of slam and authority, and b) tank like build quality (including its huge size). In the categories that mattered most to me, like clarity, lack of digititus, soundstage, articulation of each instrument, etc., the Opus 21 won the day. I have also compared it to the $4,500 Naim player and the Older Theta gear. All are bested by the Opus 21.