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Most high-end CD players in 2017 end up being crazy standalone receivers that dump all their money into D/A converters. But, it’s easy to forget that products like the Bose Wave SoundTouch offer an alternative. This thing is an extremely high-rated media device that puts a CD player front-and-center and includes a highly engineered set of onboard speakers. Bose’s tried-and-true WaveGuide technology takes the comparatively small speaker set and punches them up to create truly room-filling sound. That will also give you super punchy lows and perfectly clear highs for the ideal audio playback.
The CD player works exactly as you’d expect and it plugs into that WaveGuide tech so you can listen to your CDs in true high resolution. But the SoundTouch also comes with a suite of wireless features, too. It hooks up via Wi-Fi and allows you to pair multiple speakers to multiple rooms for full-home audio. It’s compatible with all the standard streaming apps, including Spotify, Pandora, Internet Radio and more. And it’s all controlled with either the super small and intuitive remote control or a fully designed app. It’s the perfect solution for someone looking for a high-quality, consumer-focused CD system.
Teac is a brand that offers old-school reliability and a no-frills price for home stereo equipment. The PD 301 is one of its smallest current units of any type, so it’s perfect for compact spaces. But, it’s got plenty in the way of functionality, too. The CD insert slot is a trayless mechanism so you can pop a CD in and let it autoplay just like in your car – it’s a feature that seems standard but is a really nice tactile experience in an at-home unit.
On top of the standard CD playback, you can plug in a USB drive to playback WAV files as well as AAC, MP3 and WMA for added flexibility. The D/A converter chipset is an expertly engineered Burr-Brown PCM5142 converter that gives you smooth, rich sound that will fill whatever space you put it in. It offers the requisite digital optical and coax outputs, as well as an FM radio broadcast functionality. It’s all put together into a super slim 215 mm, solid aluminum body that gives you an industrial look. Who says CD players aren’t modern?
Don’t let the lack of name recognition fool you — the Tascam CD200BT compact disc player is an excellent Bluetooth-enabled CD player. With a single slot for CDs, the Tascam is a solid player without any bells and whistles, built for durability and reliable playback. This player supports traditional compact discs and any disc with WAV or MP3 files, and its custom-designed loading drawer reduces the clamping noise of a disc being inserted. It also has a 10-second shockproof memory to eliminate skipping during playback — the player can store up to 10 seconds of data, so in the event of a bump, your music plays through without interruption.
Four playback modes are available including continuous, shuffle, program and single. Audio playback sounds terrific with aptX codec and an AD2P (advanced audio distribution profile) enabled for high-quality sound.
With only a single CD slot, the Tascam relies heavily on Bluetooth for modern functionality. The player can connect to up to eight Bluetooth devices at a time for seamless switching between different audio playbacks, and the Tascam “remembers” each device after it’s paired for the first time, so connection is fast and easy. A wireless remote adds a variety of functions including play/pause, skip and fast forward/reverse.
If you’re looking for a big name with big sound, the Bose Wave 3 fits the bill. This CD player will appeal to audiophiles who have extensive music collections on disc. It can play both traditional compact discs and MP3 CDs. Once queued up, the small display indicates the name of the artist, song title, and album name. You can play, pause, skip or fast-forward your music from across the room using the credit-card-sized remote.
Despite its compact design, this system manages to pack in slots for three compact discs. Regardless of music choice, the Bose provides big sound that fills an entire room with pure audio. Waveguide technology produces natural bass that makes any genre of music sound great, and audio remains distortion-free even at high volumes. As an added bonus, the Bose Wave 3 can also play AM/FM radio and connect to devices through a 3.5mm connection.
The Innovative Technology Classic Retro Black and Gold CD Player doesn’t have the ridiculously fancy DACs of most of the CD players on this list, and you’ll save a pretty penny for it. But what it lacks in DAC it makes up for in beautiful, vintage-nodding looks. This 50-watt retro system comes in rose gold and black with beautiful, smooth-action, brushed aluminum knobs that pay homage to the HiFi systems of yore. It extends those aesthetics by featuring two physical VU meters so you can bump tunes and watch the needles bounce along with your music.
There’s no shortage of features -- it has a built-in CD player for spinning discs, but there’s also a Digital PL FM radio receiver with 20 presets for even more classic listening. It also has built-in Bluetooth functionality so you can play music from your mobile devices. It comes with a remote and the CD functionality is programmable for setting specific orders and shuffling your discs. It’s sort of a combo between a standard entry-level stereo system and a beautiful vintage-looking CD player, so with this thing, half of what you’re buying is the aesthetic.
The CD-N301S is a unique CD player unit because it combines the performance of a standalone CD player with the convenience of having wireless connectivity for digital files and streaming music. It supports more than CD-quality audio at 24 bit/192kHz for supreme sound, and it will play back fully lossless WAV and FLAC files. It is AirPlay-enabled and you can connect the device via the YWA-10 Wi-Fi adapter. It's all powered by Yamaha’s tried and true experience in warm, beautiful HiFi sound quality. But, smartphone connectivity means its compatible with Spotify, Pandora and more.
The Tascam CD-RW900MKII is the answer for anyone looking for a solidly reliable CD player that’s exceptional for live applications. With a price that matches its performance, the Tascam will immediately be the centerpiece of any DJ or live music setup. The highlight is the tray-loading optical drive which supports CD-DA, CD-ROM and MP3 formats. It allows you to quickly load and swap CDs, and its sound output is best-in-class with a high-performance AKM codec. This codec captures a wide dynamic range for higher quality recordings.
The device includes left and right analog inputs that have gain controls for finding the best signal for an amplifier. There’s no USB support, but there are plenty of input options for analog and digital connections including RCA unbalanced analog input and output. A wireless infrared remote can even be used while moving around, whether it’s at a show or at home. To top off the feature set, the slim design is rack mountable so it can be placed into a larger rig for work events.
Our reviewers spent 21 hours testing one of the most popular CD players on the market. To ensure the most thorough feedback possible, we asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this CD player — from sound quality to Bluetooth capability — and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
DACs - One of the most aspects of your CD player is its included DAC. Simply put, a DAC is a computer chip that transforms digital signals into physical sound — the more impressive the DAC, the more impressive a performance your player will offer.
Speakers - If you’re seeking a small player to stick in your kitchen, then you probably won't want to deal with purchasing an additional receiver and pair of stereo speakers. Be sure to check whether your CD player includes speakers — and if it does, note how large they are.
Bluetooth - While the primary function of purchasing a CD player is to listen to your favorite physical music, you may want a device that also has the ability to play your favorite digital playlists. Devices with Bluetooth can easily connect to your smartphone, tablet, or computer to stream music and other entertainment.
Easy to set up
Excellent sound quality
One of our testers, who was originally skeptical about using a CD player, was wildly impressed with this model’s performance: “The quality was honestly one of the greatest I've experienced from any speaker, especially considering the size of the unit. It’s really portable and small, yet has such a loud and deep sound. It almost feels like you are in a studio.” And, although the speakers are on the pricier side — as is typical of Bose — one reviewer felt they were “definitely worth the money.”