What to use?

I have AR11 speakers and consumer, low end amp. I have been wisely told by more experienced members of Audiogon that I will notice the biggest change if I get a decent amp- preamp set up. For the both I would like to spend less than $1000 (on used gear). Any ideas?

Also what would be a good midfi cd player?

Good mid-fi CDP is Music Hall CD-25 or try one of the older Pioneer DV-09 DVD players floating around for about $500. Used power amp maybe mcCormack DNA 0.5 at about $600. Others can chime in on used pre. Maybe Adcom.
I would consider the Rotel line as well, or a Sophia Electric Baby if you have a small room and listen to acoustic music mostly.

today is your lucky day. there is a BEDINI 150 power amp for sale for less than $300. a great place to start your upgrade. NO! i do not own it nor do i know the owner. i owned a BEDINI a few years ago and was very happy with it. if you don't like it you can get your money back here on audiogon