What amirm said. While I have a decent CD player, 90 percent of my music is heard after being streamed from a network hard drive to my two most-used reproduction systems, disc-free.
$3K is a quite reasonable budget; you can definitely get good sound for that. Three or four years ago I spent ~$2,500 on my current system, including cables. I'm currently looking to add a standalone DAC to it, which will bring the cumulative price tag to right around $3,000. I took my time researching and looking and listening; while I'd never claim that the search was as rewarding as the actual buying and listening part, it was a very interesting and educational process.
There are a slew of places to start learning about what's available and how that might map onto what you want. Forums like there are one. I'd also recommend wandering around Stereophile
magazine's online archive of equipment reviews. Yes, they spill a lot of (virtual) ink on $30K speakers and $20K turntables, but they also cover a useful number of "budget" components. Take a stroll at http://www.stereophile.com/equipment-reviews
Take your time and have fun. For $3,000 you'll find yourself a system that will give you a lot of years of happy listening.
I'm looking forward to watching this thread unfold. Good hunting!
PS: One last thing. As an old dog, I remember a lot of old tricks. A rule of thumb from "back in the day" was that half your budget should go for speakerswhich after all are the things you actually, physically hear
and the other half of your dough covers everything else. Good speakers can make average electronics sound good, while less good ones can trash even top-shelf gear. I think a lot of us have learned that the hard way...