I would hunt for a used Music Hall MMF-2.1, Pro-ject Debut III, or the aforementioned Rega P1, all should be stellar tables if you can find one in your price range. One downside to these tables is that you have to manually change the belt to switch from 33 to 45 rpm, which on the Music Hall also means you need to lift off the platter; it's kind of a pain but down the line you can buy a Pro-ject Speed Box which works with both the Music Hall and Pro-ject tables.
I was a longtime vinyl listener and never knew how good it could sound until I got the MMF-2.1, and that's considered a bargain basement entry-level audiophile table.
Keep an eye on eBay, Audiogon, J&R, Needle Doctor's closeouts page, and Audio Advisor's clearance page for deals/sales. Good luck!