Rather than trying to grab everyone's quotes above, I just grabbed this one.The CD player I got hold of is a Meridian 508.20. Built like a tank, totally silent in operation and to my ears a beautifully warm, detailed yet punchy and fast presentation.
Russ "The Tech Guy" at Cambridge, will recap it and rebuild it with new lasers and full service for £550.
Find yourself a quality CD player; absolutely use it just as a transport if you wish. But there's much more to it than you think.
Lampizator has put in many many hours on the differences in CD players, which are/were 'the best', and how you can improve them. If you are interested...