I'll go out on a limb and say that the Marantz SA-11s1 is one of the best redbook players out there irrespective of price. Its SACD capabilities are also sublime.
I don't know of any other player that uses Nipon Precision Component DACS with Phase Error Compensation as well as incorporating digital filter settings that have tube-like, reference flat response or warm tilted options - you pick what suits your recording, speakers & amp.
I've tried many players such as MF A5 CD player, Opera Consonance Droplet 5, Shanling etc. and just cannot hear what all the fuss is about. Larger noise floor, more coloration, tubes that start sounding dull and need replacement... you get the picture.
I hear the all the air, sparkle, stage and depth that I need with the Marantz (in un-modified form!).
That's my experience (which is highly subjective). :-)