Although it lists for nearly 3K, the Cary 303 is typically discounted by dealers to your price range or below. Wonderfully musical cdp with huge soundstage and great bass and dynamics. Very emotioanlly involving. Even the HDCD sounds fabulous. I've had one for nearly 2 years and love it. Built like a tank. Put an aftermarket power cord on it and you'll be a happy camper.
I compared the 303 to Resolution Audio CD55, Linn Ikemi, Wadia 830, Meridian 508.24, Theta Miles, Arcam FMJ...traded in an Arcam Alpha 9.
Separates are a pain, plus you need more cables. I don't want to do the DAC dance, thank you very much.
Keep life simple and fun, audition a 303.