I hear the NAD 541i is a good one.
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I have your pre/power amp combination and use a Music Hall MMF CD-25. I like it very much and cosmetically it matches the Musical Fidelity eq nicely. That said, you should also consider the Musical Fidelity A3CD player. It has a decent reputation and should mate well. I hope to eventually upgrade by keeping my Music Hall as a transport and getting the MF A3 24 DAC. I haven't heard the Rega's and can't use a top loading player in my rack because I have a turntable on the top shelf.
I like my new Shanling CD-S100, but it's probably too far under your budget limit for you to consider. $600 is about what it costs new. Still, I'd put it up against several of the suggestions here, since it's really an amazing value.
However I would like to say that IMHO you are spending your main budget too far downstream. As UHF mag said, put a $3000 pair of speakers on a boombox, and you've got... what ? But put a $3000 source on a boombox, and you've got something to listen to ( while you save to replace the boombox ). In other words, a great source is listenable through anything. Really. But high class speakers will only reveal defects in your source more painfully clearly.
I have owned the Rega 2000 Planet and I never thought of it as bright. In fact I would say it is 'meaty' and 'focused' not the last word in detail or extension but the instruments are highlighted in a nice way and it is probably euphonic as well. I now own a Sony 9000 ES and even though I have changed wire since the Planet I would GUESS the Planet is more pleasent in the midrange but the Sony has better extension and detail.
BTW the reason I bought the Sony and sold the planet is because I wanted an all in one DVD (I care how my movies sound) and CD player - with SACD thrown in for fun.
The Planet has been placed into many stereo systems over the past 4-5 years. It does need to have good ICs and have better isolation in some applications. Check out the many MB post and you will see it is a reliable and decent cdp. It is not going beat the more expensive players but it holds its own in its price point. I have the orginal and the 2000, never thought they were bright sounding and am very please with their performance. If they were bright sounding, I wouldn't have bought them because most of my cds are Jazz and it would have irritated me. The 2000 plays about 4-5 hours seven days a week and has been doing so for about 20 months w/o a glitch. My orginal is 4 1/2 years old and works perfect. You can always experiment and buy a used one from someone in your area and sell it if doesn't match up to your system.
Good luck and enjoy the music.
It's just a name. They have another line called FMJ, for "Full Metal Jacket." Dumb name, but great player!
The cd players with the "T" designation have full text readout on the display. I don't know why you would necessary want it. As far as I'm aware, that's the only difference.
There's more info at their web site: