need CDP upgrade advice

I have an NAD M5 CDP...what CDP would be a significant upgrade? Or would an external DAC improve it enough? It can be new or used and would like to keep the cost at about $3000. I don't really need SACD capability as I only have a handful of them and do not intend on buying any more.

Given the dim future of the cd medium, it makes sense not to go too overboard.

If you like the tube sound (and that may counter some of the NAD flatness/accuracy/sterility (as you will)), a goof tubed cd player like a Raysonic (128) or a Cary or Unico or even a Jolida might be interesting.
I prefer to stay in the solid=state canp for CD players.With that kind of money,you might look at Gamut CD3s,Ayre or several others.Even looking at trans/dac combos might not be out of hand.
12-11-09: Mst
Given the dim future of the cd medium, it makes sense not to go too overboard.

Mst, Remember when this was said about vinyl?
My amp is a Jolida 1000RC if this helps in making any recommendations...I have Spendor S8e speakers and occasionally lug out the big old Klipschs for rock and roll. Thank you to those who have made suggestions.
Bob, sorry for interrupting the thread, but it made me curious why you would not buy sacds? nad m5 is a great sacdp... in my experince of comparing rbcd with sacd on marantz sa15s1, the difference astonished me, the sq of sacd is so much better, that for me it's no question to go for sacds, esp. with classical music... what is your experience?
I would hardly call a Raysonic a GOOF cd player and I do think it will be what you may be looking for.

I have owned quite a few cd players. They take some time to break in. Also responds to better tubes. It is not the TUBEY sound found on alot of the cd players. Very unique.

I also thought the NAD M5 was a good player for the money.
I do agree it was great on SACD and was surprised at the
redbook playback.

I have personally owned Esoteric and Meridian and they also could be what you are looking for. If you are looking for an upgrade on redbook look at an Ayre or Meridian used. For more money try an Esoteric.

Keep in mind that all of these players sounded better
using the XLR outputs. I am not familiar with your amp
and do not know if it has this. A huge difference
with all of these players (XLR).

Another reasonable player that may be a sleeper and I
really like and DID NOT have balanced outs was the
NAIM CD 5i (italic). Great for the money. I do have quite of bit of feedback on this site with cd players. Not just a blogger.
I agree 100% with Crimhead regarding SACDs. After buying and listening to my first few, I was stunned at the superior sound and overall fidelity these produce over standard CDs. Why would you not want to continue building your collection? That's exactly what I'm doing. One that comes to mind in particular is Elton John's Honky Chateux. Wow, what a monster of a CD. I can only imagine how inferior the original CD for this album must sound. But in its multi-channel hybrid SACD format, it's like being engulfed inside the instruments and the band when listening. The drum slam alone is magnificent. So reconsider your future upgrade to a new CDP. New SACDs are being produced daily. There are not as many classic rock and jazz ones being produced over classical symphony music but as you search the various websites, you'll find them. One that just got published is The Band's Cahoots album. Can't wait to get a copy.

As far as making a recommendation in the $3K area max, how about the Marantz UD8004 Universal player for $2300.00 or the Marantz Reference series SA-KI-Pearl SACD Player for $3K? You can't dispute that fabulous Marantz sound. So warm, sweet, detailed, and potent.
"Good," not "goof.". A typo.