My vote would be for the Theta Data III. I have had mine for about a year and have recently compared it to SACD players. I still love my Theta... You can pick one up used between 800 and 1100.
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Try the Meridian 500 and you will probably even save some money. It has been in Stereophile's recommended components for years. It even sounds great with very high end DACs. I used it successfully with the Spectral SDR2000 Pro and Stereophile reports that they got excellent sound using it with the dcs Elgar. I recently compared it to my Sony DVD player(7700) used as a transport. The Meridian absolutely trounced the Sony. It also is not blown away by the very best transports out there. Smooth sounding yet without loss of detail.