The best home audio CD player
Your smartphone is designed to sound good enough to have a conversation, but it's not meant to be the center of your home audio system. That's why individuals with a discriminating ear still have their music library on CDs, which they listen to on a home audio CD player.
The best home audio CD player is a versatile unit with a high-quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for supreme sound. Yamaha's Natural Sound Five-Disc CD Changer, which you can read about in our buying guide below, is our favorite for those precise reasons.
Considerations when choosing home audio CD players
Yes, there's a great deal of technical jargon that audiophiles cite like it's the center of existence, but most of that will only clutter the decision-making process for the average consumer. When searching for a home audio CD player, there are three simple decisions you'll want to make first:
In the world of the audiophile, focus is the key. Each component ideally has limited functionality, so the emphasis can be placed on perfecting quality. You can purchase an entertainment device that includes everything you need in one unit, but these models are typically inferior. For the best, look for a dedicated home audio CD player, which will not include speakers.
Most individuals will only need or want a CD player that can play audio CDs that were purchased online or at a store. However, if you're going to be playing other types of CD formats, such as an MP3 CD (which can hold six times the audio as a regular CD), you'll want to be sure the home audio CD player you are considering can do this.
Single vs. multiple
Playing one CD at a time may be enough for you. Others prefer a player that can hold five or six CDs at one time, so they can have variety and not have to change the CD as often.
Play, stop, pause, rewind, fast-forward, skip track, repeat, random, and playlist are the basic modes you will want on your home audio CD player. There can be variations within each mode as well, but these are the most essential operating modes.
This includes all inputs and outputs whether wired or not. If you want to connect your home audio CD player to speakers that only have an RCA input, you will need an RCA output on your player to do that. If not, you will need to purchase an adapter. Or if you want to stream a playlist from your smartphone, you will need to connect the phone to the CD player (wired or wireless) to do that.
Whether it's your smartphone, a voice assistant, or even a good old-fashioned remote, being able to control your CD player from a distance can come in handy.
Home audio CD player prices
If you have budget concerns, you can purchase a lower-end home audio CD player with limited features and sound quality for less than $100. A high-end unit that includes a quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and a multi-disc changer and can play a number of formats typically costs between $300 to $500, but you can find models for as much as $1,000. Many users are happy with the combination of features and affordability available in the $150 or $300 price range.
Q. What type of formats does a home audio CD player support?
A. All home audio CD players will play regular store-bought audio CDs. But if you have any specialized discs, such as CD-Rs, CD-RWs, MP3 CDs, or something else, you will need to check the specs on the CD player you're considering to be certain that it will play the desired format.
Q. Can I record my own CDs with my home audio CD player?
A. Yes, but this will not be your typical CD player. Additionally, you will need to purchase CDs that you can record on once (CD-R) or multiple times (CD-RW) as well. Be sure to read your owner's manual because there can be compatibility issues with brands.
Home audio CD players we recommend
Best of the best: Yamaha Natural Sound Five-Disc CD Changer
Our take: A high-quality home audio CD player with a number of desirable features that provide versatility.
What we like: This unit has a five-disc tray, a remote, and it can connect to your devices via USB. It plays audio CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and MP3 CDs and features a high-quality low-noise DAC for optimum sound.
What we dislike: There have been a few reports of the disc changer not holding up well.
Best bang for your buck: Onkyo Six-Disc CD Changer
Our take: An affordably priced home audio CD player with a number of features you would only expect on a higher-priced model.
What we like: Onkyo's CD player has a six-disc capacity, six different repeat modes, and programming for as many as 40 tracks. It plays audio CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and MP3 CDs, and features advanced technology for a smoother more satisfying sound.
What we dislike: The size of this CD player may be a bit larger than you were expecting, so be sure your shelf is deep enough for a 17-inch unit.
Our take: An affordable portable smart gadget that can be mounted on the wall of your home if desired.
What we like: This small convenient device comes with a remote. It can function as a CD player, Bluetooth speaker, an FM radio, or USB flash drive player. It can play audio CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and MP3 CDs and has a convenient pull switch that you can use to turn the unit on and off.
What we dislike: This device does not feature the sound quality that is available in the high-end models.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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