CDP better than Oppo 970HD

Hi all, I am looking for a CDP under $1000 used that can beat my current Oppo 970HD. Rega's CDP is out of the list because space issue due to top loading. Also, the player has to be less than 4" height. My system is Sim I5, Dynaudio Contour 1.8 MkII.
I don't have an answer, but I can share that I have compared the Oppo with a PS Audio Digital DAC III, with Level III Rick Cullen Mods. The DAC III retails for about 1700 modified and it definitely outperforms the Oppo, as it should. Nonetheless, the DAC doesn't sound 8 times better to my ears (the rest of the system is Classe CAP 101 amp and B&W CDM9NT speakers), i am very interested to hear if there is a CDP under a $1000 that can compete with the Oppo.....
Simaudio Equinox should be worlds beyond the Oppo, and a great synergy with your I5. Although, it might be a bit outside your budget.
Currently there are four Resolution Audio cdps, two CD-50s and two CD-55s listed on Agon. I own a CD-50 and an Oppo 980HD and there is no comparison. I actually took the Oppo out of my system and am using it strictly as a DVD player because it wasn't worth comparing.
The RA is IMO the best under $1k cdp available on the used market. If my CD-50 quit I'd buy one of them.
No affiliation with any of the sellers.
The Simaudio Equinox is not on my list because it's thicker than 4", can not fit into my cabinet.
I've run my Oppo through the excellent DAC of my Playback Designs MPS-5 with excellent results. The CD performance of the Oppo improved 90+% when used thusly. Hence, I think that you might consider investing in a good DAC in your price range, like the Benchmark or Bel Canto. With a good DAC in your system you can use it with other sources as well, like a server or iPod reader.

The transport is indeed important, but IMHO the DAC is responsible for a lot more of the performance, particularly in your price range.

Oppo is OK on audio, but not close to a 1K cdp, unless you add outboard DAC, then it can be better.
I know many may not agree but the Lexicon RT-10 is a universal SACD, DVDA, DVD, CDR and 2 channel cd player and across the board is a great performer and is used in your budget.
i consider the oppo, mediocre at best as a cd player and only fair, as a transport. i own one and am using it as a dvd player.

i would not consider using it as a cd player, unless it was paired with a very euphonic pre and amp. my friend had his oppo connected to an art dio, feeding a modded dyna pre and stock dyna stereo 70. the combo sounded pretty good until he replaced the oppo and dac with a sony playstation one, which he and i prefer.
The Oppo is not as bad as you say. maybe in his system it is. Running directly to the nicely detailed and airy AES tube power amp(w/o a preamp) it is quite acceptable compared to any cheap cdp in its price or slightly more. I have done my own chassis, crystal, and chip dampening of the Oppo with amazing results. A good rack, interconnects, and clean power are also noticeable.

Many owners have had good results as a transport, unlike your results, so maybe it need to be balanced into your system. It does have excellent DVD/movie sound as you state.