I am looking for a few suggestions for a great sounding digital IC in the 1000 to 1500 price range.
As someone with very extensive design experience in digital signal transmission, I would offer the thought that although digital cables can certainly affect the quality and character of the sound that you hear, they do not in themselves have a "sound." By that I mean that their effects on sound quality are dependent on relationships and interactions between their parameters, including length, impedance accuracy, shielding effectiveness, shield resistance, etc., and the technical characteristics of what they are connecting, including signal risetimes and falltimes, impedance accuracy, jitter rejection capability, ground loop susceptibility, etc.
In other words, I would not expect a high degree of consistency between performance in one system and performance in other systems, or even between different lengths of the same cable type in the same system, and I would not expect a high degree of correlation between performance and price.
My suggestion is simply that you try a variety of different cables at different price points, and make your own choice. In so doing, focus on lengths of approximately 1.5 meters, if that is practicable, as explained in this writeup: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue14/spdif.htm