I really feel (no disrecpect intended) the only viable suggestion here is the Ayre. Digital is pretty poor, unless you get something very special-and digital is still very dependent on isolation, PC, IC, line conditioning and system symetry. You may want to consider a music server with a benchmark dac (also very dependent on the aforementioned) if you have a computer in the house. I think you need to spend much more money to equal the benchmark (with, again, good PC, IC, line conditioning, etc) and, say, a squeezebox. I just spent a few hours just now, listening to some pretty good recordings on my Esoteric XO3 SE (way over your budget) but I also spent a few hours listening to the SB/Benchmark combo and it sounds pretty darn good. You could eben get a used benchmark ($650 on agon) and hook up to your current CD player-just don't skimp on a power cord and interconnects.