CD Players- What To Look For?

Are there any key features/specifications of CD players that are worth looking at? Sampling rate, preamp, etc... Or is performance totally subjective? Who makes the best CD players out there in the $1,000-$2,000 range?
Check with Sony ES dealers. Some were blowing out the XA7ES for $1500 to $1700. (originally $3000) This model has recently been discontinued, but it was Sony's flagship for several years. For the above price, NOTHING else will touch it! The Audio Critic reviewed it and said that it measured better than the $5000 out board converter they tested. I own one myself. Measured specs for CD players are kind of a moot point, where there might be slight differences will generally be inaudible. One thing that really does count is the capability of the transport to track a disc with errors. Some really expensive players don't do too well with this. You will have to use a test disc to check this or try some of the magazine reviews as they are finally starting to get wise to this.....
Screw Sony!!! Get a used Resolution Audio CD-50. It's about as good as a Levinson 39, and you can drive your power amp directly with it. I PROMISE IT'LL SOUND BETTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE OUT THERE!!!! (Except maybe dCS upsampling, but that's even more money, and none of those will be on the used market for a year or two.) You'll never get a linestage preamp (to use with another CD player, no matter how good that CD player is) to disappear well enough to match the CD-50. JUST WON'T HAPPEN, DUDE...
I have a Sony X77ES player (some say it was better than the XA7ES) and have compared it to Linn,YBA,EAD,Arcam,Naim 3.5,and the Sony sounded as good as or better than. Then I compared it to the Copland 289 and the Sony sounded almost awful in comparison. Guess what I bought.
As you might have seen from the other postings, tastes differ. Make s shortlis for yourself what you want form a player: lots of feautures? Digital outputs? Upgradebility? Or do you like home-cinema? If that's the case consider a DVD-player. Anyway: make a shortlist of the feautires you want, decide how much money you want to spend, go to a dealer that has a few different players, and listen to them- preferably with your own speakers and amp- and then buy the one you like most. It's as simple as that. Oh, make sure you can change the player if you don't like it at home. I myself bought a Marantz CD-17 KI, and for me that is the best player around. Suck it and see for yourself!!!