I have the CD-1. Am I happy with it? Yes. Would I buy it again? Yes. Actually I'm thinking of buying another one to keep as a spare.
Basic character of the cd player. It's a slightly warm sounding cd player. Certainly not bright. Not the most detailed player out there but detailed enough for me. Compared to the others that I've heard (which is not many), it gives weight and tonality to the music. So instead of the note just dying abruptly, it will linger for a while. Very nice. Must be the tubes. The one thing which strikes me is its musicality. This is one very musical player if partnered correctly. Pretty forgiving of bad recordings too. Has that slight tubey and laidback sound. May not suit really heavy rock but 80s electronic sounds very nice. You can even change the sound slightly by swapping the tubes inside.
Any bad points? Well, it's not the most resolving of cd players when compared to most out there. Can be a bit dark if partnered incorrectly. I also feel it is best partnered with solid state rather than tubes to sound its best. YMMV of course.
An alternative cd player for me would either be the Meridian 508.24 or 588. But that's way beyond $800. For $800, I can't think of any others. Maybe the Rega Planet 2000 but I hate the top loading cd tray.