I went through the same dilema about 6 months ago. Tried a number of units and ended up with the Rotel 971. Have been very pleased. Good luck!
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I have a Sony CDP-X779ES which was Sony's top-of-the-line CD player in the early 1990s when it listed for $1900. Very good sound, very large transformers and exceptional build quality. I'm very happy with mine and don't plan on replacing it until more SACD titles are available and SACD players come down a lot in price. I've seen used X779ES units on rec.audio.marketplace going for around $600-650. Hope this helps. Joel.
I think your best value would be the adcom 750. Those go for around 700-750 used. Modern design, under a year old, an d the support HDCD. I thought the adcom sounded great. I also agree on the older Sony's. Good sound, and outstanding build quality. Check out some of the top shelf denon's as well. I haven't heard the rotel or the rega.
Try to listen to the Jolida CD players - tube sound for well under your range, especially used. Of course, try to hear the Rega and Rotel as well. Just for kicks, you might even see if you can find a Sherwood Newcastle, just to see what those Burr-Brown's can do, and combine it with a good used transport.
Oops, I can't believe I forgot to give you a strong 'listen/shop' heads up on the Arcams. I have heard the alpha 9 in a good setup, and was favorably impressed with its lack of harshness and solid presentation. You can probably find some good Arcams used your budget. I think their quality control is also better than most, from what I've seen. You may still like a tubey sound(see earlier post). If you are set on a SS cdp, definitley check out anything from the Model 5 up.
As I am going to spend about $900.00 to about $1,100.00 on a CD Player (and it is going to be a Meridian 506.20 or Meridian 506.24 or bust......... and it will be used with an Adcom GFP-750 Preamp, Adcom GFA-545 MkII Amp, Magnum Dynalab FT-101 FM Tuner, Nakamichi BX-300 Cassette Deck, KEF Reference 102 Speaker System w/KUBE, and just like you, MITerminator 2 and 3 Speaker and Interconnect Cables), and I am going to be looking at a Meridian. I am going to either get one here from "Audiogon", "E-Bay" or try to buy a used (or demo) one from a local dealer. And that's the extent of that.
But now, if I only have $750.00 (or less) to spend on a CD Player, then I would look at either an Arcam 7, a Rega Planet, a Pioneer Elite PD-65, a Rotel RCD-971, or consider a used Sony ES player (1992 to about 1996 or 1997). For $500.00, then there are two to consider. And they are from Cambridge Audio or Marantz. All of these are considered very good CD Players for NOT a lot of money. I wish you well in your search.
You should consider a Denon DCD-1650AR. It's built like a tank (25lbs.+). Four 20 bit Burr-Brown Dacs. Fixed and variable outputs. Excellent headphone output. Street price new is under $750, used about $500. I have one and will not part with it until its replacement is released. Class B recommended by Stereophile magazine.