I have had good luck with both a Music Hall CD-25 and a Rega Planet 2000. The Music Hall you can get new in your price range, and the Rega you can get used.
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I recently bought a NAD c541i for about $400 - it sounded great. Then as I was doing some research I realized that the AMC CD-8b uses the same DAC (dual 96khz/24-bit Burr-Brown), while using a comparable (or better) Sony transport. (Actually, many cdp's use these same components.) So I bought a used AMC CD-8b for about $125 and found that it sounds at least as good as the NAD. I sold the NAD and am using the net $200 savings to buy more cds and vinyl! Incidentally, before buying the NAD I also auditioned the Arcam cd62 and the Cambridge Audio D500se. The AMC unit is right up there with all of these. Keep your eyes on the used market for the cd-8b! Or go to the AMC website (amchome.com) and purchase a new, refurbished unit with full warranty for $175! I have no connection with AMC at all - just a satisfied customer. Good luck.