Rega Planet 2000 is the way to go in your price range and requirements.
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Thanks to all for the immediate responses. I had originally wanted to check out the planet 2000 but got mixed reviews on that one. I will give it a listen for myself. The Ah! player has also got good reviews at audioreview.com. Someone suggested the Jolida cd100 tube player which I am eager to check that out as well. Has anyone heard anything about this cdp? Also any thoughts on the classe?
Of course I would LOVE the cary303/100 but thought it was way out of my price range. If I can find a good deal, I would not mind spending the xtra bit.
I had originally order the Sony 555es from my audio guy and got a fantastic price-$525 brand new. HOWEVER, been waiting for over 4 months as it on back-order from Sony. Ended up putting the money towards a bell'o equipment rack. So starting from scratch.