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Best CD Players and CD Changers

The selection of CD players is dwindling but there are still some good choices


About thirty years ago the CD came to the market as the "ultimate" means of music reproduction. The CD displaced the Vinyl record and the Audio Cassette as the dominant form of listening to recorded music, but now the CD is being overtaken by the iPod and internet streaming. However, there are still hundreds of millions of CDs out there that need to be played. If you are looking for a CD player, check out my current favorite picks for moderately-priced CD players and changers.

1. Onkyo DX-C390 CD Changer

While most CD carousel changers are of the five disc variety, Onkyo employs a 6-disc carousel, giving you an extra hour of music without interruption. However, there is more. Weighing in at 15lbs, the transport is substantial and stable. Add a 1-bit D/A converter, 8x oversampling, and analog/digital audio outputs, you just might want to put this CD changer one on your shopping list.
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2. Denon DCM-390 5-Disc CD Changer

While dedicated CD-only players has given way to DVD/CD players, Denon still makes an impressive line of CD-Only Players. The DCM-390 a full-featured 5 disc CD carousel-style changer. While most CD players have 16-Bit Digital to Analog audio converters, the Denon has twin 20-Bit converters; This means is that the sound from standard CDs has more depth than from a standard CD player. Also, the DCM-390 has the ability to decode the full 20-bit audio resolution signal from HDCD format CDs. You can also play MP3-encoded CDs as well. If you want a high-end CD changer for a moderate price, this unit is worth the listen.
Manufacturer's Site

Also, if the DCM-390 is not in your budget, check out the Denon DCM-290 as a more affordable alternate choice: Manufacturer's Site.

3. Yamaha CDC-697BL 5-Disc CD Changer

The Yamaha CDC-697BL is more expensive than most CD-only changers on the market, but is still a good value. This changer uses a 5-Disk carousel design and supports CD, CD-R, and CD-RW playback. Several practical features include both analog and digital optical audio outputs, headphone output, wireless remote control, and both RS232 and wired remote output options for custom installations. The CDC-697BL also has adjustable line outputs so that the volume output of the player can be matched with audio levels of your other audio system or home theater components. If you are looking for a CD-only changer that has a lot of flexibility, and can be integrated into a custom installation, check out the Yamaha CDC-697BL.
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4. Sony CDP-CE500 5-Disc CD Changer

Sony's CDP-CE500 is an affordable 5-Disc CD changer that does the job. Featuring CD, CD-R CD-RW, and MP3-CD playback utilizing 1-bit DA converters, the sound quality is great for a budget player. This unit also includes both analog and optical digital outputs, USB port, and can be control directly or from the provided remote control. The USB port provides the added flexibility to either play back music files (AAC, MP3, WMA) stored on a USB or other compatible USB storage device. You can also use the USB port to burn your Music CDs to a USB flash drive. Check out the user guide before you buy.
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5. Sony CDP-CX355 CD Changer

Is your CD collection crowding your bookcases? If so, check out this 300-CD Megachanger from Sony. In addition to storing your entire CD collection, this player is also compatible with CD-R/RW and Text Discs. There is even a PS/2 Keyboard connection to enable you to connect a PC-keyboard to assist in organizing and cataloging your collection. Of course, the CDs sound great too.
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6. Teac CD-P1260 CD Player

The Teac CD-1260 is a single tray CD player that provides supports CD/CD-R/RW and MP3-CD playback supported by a 1-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter), 8-times oversampling, a set of analog audio outputs, and a center mounted drive. This player also features a large panel LCD display, and can be controlled on the unit or via the included remote control. If you are looking for a basic single tray CD player, definitely check out the Teac CD-P1260.
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7. Pioneer PD-M426 CD Changer

Pioneer is very well known for their "magazine" style car CD changers and has incorporated this design into the PD-M426 home 6-disc home CD changer. In fact, you can purchase additional CD "magazine" cartridges to organize your CD library to play both in a Pioneer Car CD changer or the M426 without taking the discs out of the magazine. This convenience alone may be worth consideration.
Official Product Page

8. Harman Kardon HD-990 CD PLAYER

The Harman Kardon is a high-end single disc CD player that provides CD, CD-R/RW, and MP3-CD playback compatibility, supported by 32-bit digital sound processing and a Real-Time Linear Smoother (RLSIII). The HD-990 also provides flexible connectivity. This player features analog RCA and XLR outputs, as well as a both digital optical and digital doaxial outputs. However, two additional digital optical and digital coaxial audio inputs are also provided. Whey include audio inputs on a CD player? The reason these inputs are included is so users can connect compatible external audio source devices in order to take advantage of the HD990's internal Digital-to-analog converters. However, keep in mind that the digital inputs of the HD-990 are compatible with two channel PCM only - they are not compatible with Dolby Digital or DTS bitstreams. This CD player is definitely not for everyone, but if you are looking on the high-end side of the spectrum, the HD-990 is worth consideration.
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9. Onkyo C-S5VL Audiophile CD Player

If you are looking for a higher-end CD-only player, you might check out the Onkyo C-S5VL. This unit does indeed carry a higher price, but it not only plays standard audio CDs, but it is also compatible with SACDs. On the connection front, the C-S5VL provides analog, and both digital optical and digital coaxial audio outputs. Headphone listening is also accommodated via a front-mounted headphone jack. Also, let's not leave out the fact that this player incorporates Wolfson Digital-to-analog converters and Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry for optimum sound reproduction. However, one thing to keep in mind is that this player only loads one disc at a time.
Official Product Page
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