+1. I previously used a Hegel HD10 and was very pleased with it, so much that I kept it rather than selling it when I upgraded to a Benchmark DAC2. It has been in a box since then, as I wait for an opportunity to set up a second system where I would use it.
Hegel makes great products in general, and they're a little under-appreciated outside of Europe. The HD11 is very good but its successor the HD12 is fantastic and a fantastic value, albeit at $1400 + tax a little more than your budget. I've noticed a trickle of nicely priced used HD11s for sale since the HD12 came out. I think you'd have a damn fine DAC if you went in either direction. Also, I believe that Hegel will soon be replacing the HD20 as well, so you may find a good deal on their mid-level DAC soon.