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Best CD Players of 2023: You Still Need One

The Best CD Players for 2023 include some fantastic units from NAD, Naim, Rotel, Marantz, Audiolab, Cambridge Audio and more.

Marantz CD60 CD Player Black

You definitely still need a CD player.

Are audiophiles too obsessed with nostalgia when it comes to CDs? The same case could probably be made for vinyl, cassettes, and reel-to-reel but what really matters is not the format — it is the performance and sound quality.

There are good and terrible sounding recordings available on every format; and that certainly is the truth with streaming.

The streaming horde will scoff at such a list in 2023, but there are still millions of music listeners who enjoy listening to CDs and while we don’t expect to see the format enjoy the type of rebirth that has reinvigorated the record industry — it is still a format worth enjoying.

Streaming might represent 85% of the North American market, but CDs are here to stay. Unless Greta “I hate Capitalism” Thunberg launches some campaign against its carbon footprint and my children burn my collection. Our “Best CD players of 2023” list only includes models that we have listened to over the past 12 months. There are other options available that might be superior but we can only comment on those that have passed through our systems.

Over the past 38 years, I have invested over $30,000 USD in CDs and while that might not represent the typical mainstream consumer, it is not uncommon for some audiophiles. It took me over 5 years to rip all 2,000 CDs to a series of external HDDs and create a number of back-ups that I have locked away in case my music server crashes.

Over that 5 year period, I tossed over 1,800 jewel cases and only kept a select group from MoFi, DCC, Sony Mastersound, and JVC XRCD because of their album art and collectibility.

The rest are in very expensive photography albums in protective sleeves and neatly arranged inside a wall unit. You wouldn’t even know that I own CDs — except for the 4 CD players in our home — I added another one since 2022.

I also built a music server that is connected to our router and home network because it offers convenient access to our digital music collection in multiple rooms — but that doesn’t mean that it offers the best sound quality option in the context of each system.

CD sales increased for the first time in 17 years in 2021, up 21% to $584 million; the 2022 sales figures were not quite as strong, but that seems to be a North American issue where streaming is more popular. Music listeners in Europe and Asia still purchase CDs in sizable numbers.

Listening to music on physical media isn’t dead and vinyl records (and even audio cassettes) may not be your only choice in that realm.

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The ability to own music on a physical medium is important. You are probably wondering why that is important to you and we have some recommendations on the best CD players right now that make sense.

Physical media is still very relevant; we discovered that to be very true during the summer of 2022 when Rogers’ mobile and wireless networks collapsed all across Canada forcing almost 33% of Canada’s population offline. No Wi-Fi. No cable. No music or video streaming for over 24 hours and even longer for some customers.

The ability to listen to both CDs and vinyl helped pass the time while in Canada dealing my own health and that of my father.

CD players like the Marantz CD60 don’t become inoperable when you can’t access the internet, Spotify, or TIDAL. Qobuz is finally available in Canada but it took years for that to happen.

One of the reasons why CDs are climbing again in popularity is clearly cost — it’s hard to say no to $3 or $5 used CDs that are still in decent shape. That becomes an even better deal when you look at how expensive new vinyl releases run. Why purchase 1 new vinyl release when you can have 5 CDs?

The final reason is sound quality. Audiophiles conveniently forget the days when they spent thousands on separate transports and DACs, before the hi-fi press decided that a CD player was good enough. Before moving on to streamers and very expensive DACs again.

Inflation and supply chain issues were not kind to the CD player category in 2022 but things have improved in 2023. There are at least 30 viable players between $350 and $4,500 worth considering.

Marantz CD6007 ($599)

The Marantz CD6007 is a versatile CD Player, which includes support for hi-res digital music playback via USB. It supports 24-bit/192kHz and DSD 5.6MHz high-resolution digital audio playback and does a great job with 16-bit/44.1kHz CDs as well. The CD6007 is built like a tank and has a warm and punchy presentation that is easy to listen to for hours. 

Marantz CD6007 CD Player
Marantz CD6007 CD Player Rear View

The front panel includes a USB input (Type A) for USB flash drives and supports FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, and DSD file playback. It also features Marantz’s HDAM® (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) SA2 used in analog circuitry for faster signal transfer and better transient response.

Where to buy: $599 at Marantz.com | Crutchfield | Amazon


Audiolab 6000CDT ($599)

Audiolab disappeared for a number of years after its parent company went under and vanished from the audio industry, but this well-respected British audio manufacturer is back with a vengeance offering some of the best affordable amplifiers and digital playback systems we’ve heard from anyone in recent memory. The 6000CDT is a solid chunk of metal that operates as a CD transport only – it requires being connected to an external DAC or amplifier with internal DAC section. Load a CD and prepare to be stunned by how much better this unit sounds compared to even some of the best digital streamers connected to the same DAC. 

Audiolab 6000CDT CD Player
Audiolab 6000CDT CD Player Rear View

The 6000CDT has an extremely neutral sounding presentation that allows you to tailor the sound with the DAC of your choice. One caveat – there is no USB output so any DAC will have to accept either S/PDIF coaxial or TOSLINK optical in order to work with the 6000CDT. Combine this CD transport with something like the Bifrost 2/64 from Schiit Audio or the Mytek Liberty and be prepared to experience your CDs on a different level. 

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Where to buy: $599 at Amazon | Crutchfield | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca


Cambridge Audio CXC Series 2 ($699)

One of Cambridge Audio’s best-selling products, the CXC series CD transport offers a state-of-the-art, proprietary S3 Servo to regulate the disc speed and ensure error free playback. The CXC requires an external DAC to operate but does offer its own spin on things with a bold, insightful, and slightly colored sounding presentation. Its robust power supply, durability, and solid construction make it a worthwhile addition to your system if your CD collection is no longer covered with dust in the corner.

Cambridge Audio Cx Series 2 CXC CD Player with remote control
Cambridge Audio Cx Series 2 CXC CD Player Rear View

The CXC features S/PDIF coaxial or TOSLINK optical digital outputs so make sure your DAC works with both – the coaxial output sounds more robust and detailed so we recommend sticking with that. 

Where to buy: $699 at Crutchfield | Cambridge Audio


Rotel CD11 Tribute ($599)

Ken Ishiwata was a very kind soul. I was fortunate to spend a week with him in 1999 at the Top Audio/Video Show in Milan and I learned a lot from him about design choices and the “business” of high-end audio. He created so many wonderful components for Marantz and his last series of products for Rotel prior to his death were excellent as well. I’ve had a number of them at home to listen to and he was a gifted engineer to the end.

Rotel CD11 Tribute CD Player Silver
Rotel CD11 Tribute CD Player Back

The Rotel CD11 Tribute CD player honors the legendary audio designer’s legacy while providing high-end playback of CDs. The CD11 Tribute uses a customized selection of specially tuned components to supply stellar clarity, dynamics, and detail from your CD collection.

There are some key changes to the power supply, DAC circuitry, and signal path of the original CD11. The CD11 Tribute features nine capacitors that were changed in the power stage alone; along with an additional eight that were changed in the DAC section. Also onboard: Rotel’s proven tray-loading disc mechanism, a Texas Instruments 24-bit/192kHz DAC, and balanced design topology. 

Ishiwata was always very focused on isolating internal components and the chassis from external vibration and Rotel have implemented a number of his design techniques here as well.

The CD11 Tribute delivers excellent clarity and a warm tonal balance that makes it an excellent choice for the price.

Where to buy: $599 at Crutchfield | Amazon.ca | Find Rotel Dealer


NAD C 568 ($899)

NAD has been manufacturing CD players from the very beginning of the “Perfect Sound Forever” revolution (which didn’t exactly deliver on that promise for almost a decade) and it certainly shares a house sound across this range of components. NAD CD players have always had a decidedly analog-like presentation that emphasized tonal color and presence vs overemphasized detail and crystal clear transparency; that may sound like a bad thing but it is what makes their CD players so listenable with the wide range of CDs that were recorded for the past 35+ years. 

NAD C 568 CD Player
NAD C 568 CD Player Rear View

The C 568 features a new and quieter CD transport, and 24-bit Wolfson DAC for high-resolution digital playback. It also includes an USB input for flash drives and two digital outputs for use with an external DAC or amplifier with an internal DAC section. There is nothing flashy about the C 568, but it delivers excellent sound quality with red book CDs; it does not support SACD playback. 

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Where to buy: $899 at Amazon | Crutchfield | Find NAD Dealer


Pro-Ject CD Box DS3 ($899)

One of the most interesting components in the Pro-Ject 2022 line-up is the CD Box DS3 CD player/transport/DAC which has proven to be quite the performer.

Pro-Ject CD Box DS3 CD Player Silver Front Angle
Pro-Ject CD Box DS3 CD Player Silver Rear Angle

The CD Box DS3 is not a very large component (8”W x 3”H x 8”D) and will take up less space than even a large hardcover book making it ideal for a media unit or even bookshelf.

Pro-Ject selected the Texas Instruments PCM1796 DAC chip for the CD Box DS3 which makes it compatible with high-resolution digital tracks.

The CD Box DS3 was consistently good with most CDs but it will not turn horrible recordings into good ones.

Great sounding CDs benefitted from the quality of the internal DAC and output stage and one that alone the CD Box DS3 would earn a solid recommendation. 

Where to buy: $899 at Crutchfield | Find Pro-Ject Dealer


Marantz CD60 ($999)

The CD60 features an industrial design and sturdy build that not only looks good but contributes to stable performance free of unnecessary vibration. The chassis is quite large; perhaps even too large for everything that resides under the cover. Marantz is sticking with a similar chassis for all of the components in this lineup because it is easier to manufacture that way and there is a consistency to the industrial design that most buyers will like.

Marantz CD60 CD Player Black Angle
Marantz CD60 CD Player Rear

The Marantz CD60 has a rather warm and organic tonal balance and it is one of those components that makes even the worst recordings sound almost listenable; it does some truly wonderful things with DCC, MoFi, and JVC XRCD recordings that pushed the envelope when it came to digital recordings in the 1990s.

CD playback compatibility includes CD/CD-R/CD-RW discs. CDs with MP3 and WMA files are also playable. HDCD discs are playable, but access to the 4-bit extension is not provided. SACD playback capability is not included (according to the specs provided by Marantz).

How good is the CD60? After living with it for two months, I bought the review sample because it proved to be reliable, easy to use, and most CDs just sound fantastic through it.

You can read my review here.

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Where to buy: $999 at Crutchfield | Amazon | Marantz.com


Cambridge Audio Evo CD ($999)

My full review of the Evo CD will be published at the end of August, and it is going to be slightly controversial for some.

The Evo CD will only work with the Evo 75 and Evo 150 Network Amplifiers and having listened to it for the past few weeks with the Evo 150 — it’s a fantastic disc spinner but I really think Cambridge made a mistake with that aspect of it.

Cambridge Audio Evo CD Transport with EVO 150 DAC/Streamer/Amplifier in Black
Cambridge Audio Evo CD Transport with EVO 150 DAC/Streamer/Amplifier in Black

Tailored to partner the existing Evo range in design as well as sound performance, the Evo CD is crafted from the same premium materials as the rest of its product family. 

A full metal loading mechanism guarantees stability and durability. With a sleek black aluminium top panel, available with brushed wooden or matte black side panels, made from sustainable Richlite material, the Evo CD is a subtle design piece while being a classy addition to the living spaces of music fans across the globe.

Cambridge Audio Evo CD Transport Rear

The chunky Evo CD takes less than 5 minutes to set-up and there is no question that it offers the same strong industrial design of the Evo 150 and Evo 75; all of that is a good thing for those who need a CD player that can be stacked underneath the network amplifiers and care about matching components.

How does it compare to the Cambridge CXC Series 2 CD player?

It’s been over a year since I had the opportunity to listen to the CXC Series 2, but the Evo CD player doesn’t stray too far from the farm — same excellent pace, clarity, and detail of other Cambridge sources, and it most certainly has a warmer tonal balance compared to something like the Cyrus Audio CDi-XR, Rotel, or Naim CD players.

It’s a pity that it can’t be used outside of the Evo range.

Where to buy: $999 at Amazon | Crutchfield


Rega Audio Apollo ($1,325)

Rega was one of the last to the party with their Planet CD player in 1997, and for more than 23 years the brand has eschewed conventional thinking by only offering top-loading CD players that offer long-term durability. The Apollo offers both analog and digital outputs and its Wolfson’s WM8742 24/96 DAC allows this shoebox-sized CD player to offer great insight into the music, with excellent clarity, detail, and a slightly forward sounding presentation which is the Rega trademark in regard to its best-selling turntables. 

Rega Audio Apollo CD Player
Rega Audio Apollo CD Player Rear View

Rega has more expensive models in its CD player arsenal but we’re extremely drawn to the Apollo for what it does; draw you into the performance and remind you that there are a lot of really good sounding CDs worth listening to. 

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Where to buy: Find Rega Dealers


Naim CD5si ($1,995)

Naim have gone full throttle into the streaming category with 6 award-winning network amplifiers, wireless loudspeakers, and dedicated streamers, but the CD5si remains. This unique front-drawer loading CD player retains all of the characteristics of the brand’s other products; pace, dynamics, timing, and a colorful presentation that is long on drama but short on imaging or soundstage depth. 

Naim Audio CD5si CD Player
Naim Audio CD5si CD Player Rear View

The CD5si features discrete digital and analogue power supplies for superior isolation of sound critical electronics, and stiff aluminum casework that isolates the mechanism and other components from vibration. The digital to analogue converter chip has been upgraded to a Burr Brown PCM1793 – a device very closely related to the one used in the NDX high-end streaming player. The CD5si also benefits from a more stable DAC clock, higher voltage power supply rails, a revised analogue filter design and a brand new CD transport and laser optics.

What we like about the CD5si is the “old school” Naim vibe that it possesses; it looks like classic Naim gear, sounds like the best equipment that made Naim famous, and will likely last forever. If this is the last CD player Naim offers – it’s well worth owning. 

Where to buyFind Naim Dealers


Rotel DT-6000 DAC/CD player ($2,299)

The $2,299 USD Rotel DT-6000 DAC/CD player includes a PC-USB input supporting MQA and DSD audio playback and renders PCM 32-bit/384kHz music files through the coaxial and optical inputs supporting music streamers and media players with the included tray loading CD mechanism providing playback flexibility.

Rotel Diamond Series DT-6000 CD Player Front Silver
Rotel DT-6000 DAC/Transport Rear

There is a rather long design development story in regard to the DT-6000 that convinced us that Rotel’s development team went back and forth for over a year trying every possible DAC chip before settling on a heavily modified version of the DAC referenced below.

Their initial enthusiasm for the ESS Sabre was met with a level of disappointment when it didn’t deliver the overall sonic performance they were looking for in such an expensive CD player/DAC.

Rotel went back to the drawing board until they felt ESS got it correct. 

The focal point of the DT-6000 is the 8-channel ESS Sabre ES9028PRO Digital to Analog converter configured to dedicate 4 Mono DACs each to the left and right channels. Redundant signal processing of the digital data streams extracts nuances of audio with exacting clarity and detail with an exceptionally low noise floor. 

The DAC feeds custom engineered fully balanced differential output filters with sonic components critically tuned for life-like reproduction of the audio. 

The DT-6000 is powered by an in-house manufactured shielded toroidal transformer with high efficiency slit foil smoothing capacitors reducing stray emissions and delivering independent, isolated, low noise power to all critical circuits, further reducing noise and distortion.

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Rotel invited us to a number of private listening sessions in NYC so that we could compare the DT-6000 to the less expensive models in the range which also includes the CD11 Tribute and CD14 MKII which retails for $1,000 USD.

Is it worth the extra $1,300 over its less expensive sibling?

It’s a more forward sounding CD player with better clarity and detail but whether that justifies such a huge uptick in price is up to you.

Where to buy: $2,299 at Crutchfield


Cyrus Audio CDi-XR ($2,999)

Cyrus Audio CDi-XR CD Player Front

Improving on the multiple award-winning design of their classic CDi was no easy feat for Cyrus. Both new XR series CD players, the CDt-XR and the CDi-XR, feature a new power supply design and bespoke transformers designed specifically for the new CD players, making their class-leading SE CD engine even quieter than before.

Both the CDt-XR and CDi-XR use twin microprocessors. One chip handles all the user interface and housekeeping, while the second is dedicated to running the SE engine. This prevents crucial timing information from being interrupted by the processor being asked to do other things.

The physical loader is also new, giving better performance than the previous model. There is a re-clocking circuit to reduce jitter too. In terms of board layout, flow and return principles have been applied to the DAC section and the signal path throughout the entire player.

Would I buy the Cyrus Audio CDi-XR for $3,000?

I recognize that sounds like a fatalistic question but it’s a fair one.

It does almost everything well and is built like a tank. It worked without issue with 3 different DACs, 4 integrated amplifiers, and it only stumbled once with a badly scratched CD. 

The tonal balance is definitely on the leaner side, but it also races along like a Morgan 3-wheeler on a British country road with utmost confidence. It can be an exhilarating and eye-opening experience in the context of the right system. 

Read our review of the CDi-XR here.

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Where to buy$2,999 at Sky by Gramophone


Luxman D-03X ($4,195)

CDs still sell very well in Japan and it’s clear from the D-03X, that Luxman does not plan on abandoning the format anytime soon.

Luxman D-03X CD Player
Luxman D-03X CD Player Rear View

The D-03X incorporates MQA technology, which enables you to play back MQA-CDs as well as MQA audio files up to 24-bit transferred via USB, optical and coaxial inputs. The USB input also supports PCM data up to 384kHz/32-bit and DSD data up to 11.2MHz while the optical and coaxial inputs accept PCM signals up to 192 kHz/24-bit. 

Yes – the D-03X is also a high-resolution DAC making it the hub of 21st century digital system. Connect a streamer to one of the digital inputs and you’ve simplified your system with one cable and upped the sound quality by quite a few yards. 

For $4,200, you have every right to expect a superior level of playback and the Japanese CD player never fails to deliver; the balanced outputs sound decidedly fuller and less neutral than the single-ended outputs. Bass has more weight through the balanced outputs and there is a noticeable increase in soundstage depth. 

Where to buy: $4,195 at Music Direct | Find Luxman Dealers


McIntosh MCD85 ($4,500)

McIntosh sells a lot of CD players. How do we know that? We recently visited the World of McIntosh townhouse in New York’s SoHo, and they had them playing in every single room. This wasn’t some clearance sale in the time of COVID-19, but in response to market demand. People who buy McIntosh and Sonus faber audio systems own a lot of CDs — they also stream a lot of their music. Enter the MCD85 SACD/CD player with multiple digital inputs for external digital streamers.

McIntosh MCD85 SACD/CD Player Front

The MCD85 with its open chassis design is not only a serious piece of music hardware, but it also shows that you are serious about your love of music. With the great success of McIntosh’s similarly retro styled MC275 and MC1502 Vacuum Tube Amplifiers, MA252 and MA352 Integrated Amplifiers, and the warm reception of their recently introduced MC830 Solid State Amplifier and C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier that also have retro touches, it’s clear that many people want their home stereo system not to blend in, but instead to be distinctive looking.

McIntosh MCD85 SACD/CD Player Back

The McIntosh MCD85 SACD/CD player can play store bought SACDs and CDs as well as music from homemade CD or DVD Data Discs. Numerous file formats can be played from these discs including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSD (up to DSD128), FLAC, MP3, WAV, and WMA. The USB Audio input supports up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz, and can be used to stream digital music from a computer or other digital storage device. There’s also two coax and two optical digital inputs that support PCM signals up to 192kHz.

Where to buy: Find McIntosh Dealers


Related reading: View our latest Best Right Now guides.

49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. James Chater

    February 11, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Have the Cambridge CXC coupled with an Arcam irDAC going through Chord C-Line interconnect to a NAD C316BEE amp and finally, Dali Spektor 2 speakers. To me this set up it sounds fantastically accurate.
    Re the vinyl/CD ‘debate’. I am old enough to have owned a substantial collection when CD was introduced in mid 80s. In retrospect I got rid of my collection too hastily as decent turntables are now very affordable. But, at the time many retailers stopped stocking vinyl overnight as some record companies stopped releasing new material on vinyl. Yes, I get the argument that vinyl is somehow more ‘musical’ as actual physical vibrations are happening…But do I miss loud surface noise, replacing needles etc.? As for the ‘psychological’ aspect? For me now to re-purchase titles on vinyl is just a bit too sickly nostalgic. Thankfully, re-mastered sometimes re-mixed recordings on CD sound great.

    • Ian White

      February 11, 2021 at 5:06 pm

      James,

      There is definitely a nostalgia angle for everyone. I’m 50 and have been buying records since 1982. I inherited a lot of them from parents and grandparents which was a nice way to start. I do agree that there is a lot more involved when it comes to vinyl/CD and you really do have to set-up your table properly to hear what all of the fuss is about. I own both really high-end digital and analog systems and they both give me joy. I like listening to records because it feels more “human” if that makes any sense. I own 2,000 CDs and have 3,000+ albums saved on Tidal/Qobuz…but you don’t own any of the streaming music. It can all go away. Thank you for reading BTW. Greatly appreciated.

    • charlie

      February 20, 2023 at 8:04 pm

      sweet rig

  2. craig allison

    February 24, 2021 at 3:13 am

    As the newest crop of players sports not only the latest, greatest dacs , but also
    multi- format utility , I’d like to let one cat out of the bag : The best dac ever made for cd was the Philips Gold Crown TD- 1541 AS1 ( can’t remember all the nomenclature.) What is to be gleaned here is that chip was designed to
    only decode 16/44. No multi- format , no ‘ chip of the month club. ‘
    An experienced digital audio engineer who has done OEM work for many
    high end outfits assured me that my perceptions are correct. We retro-ed one into
    my Tandberg 3015 A thirty years ago in place of the original stock 1541. To this
    day, anyone who hears my player comments on the sheer beauty of the sound.

  3. Nick

    May 11, 2021 at 1:33 am

    How can you possibly have omitted the Technics SL-G700??

    • Ian White

      May 11, 2021 at 1:57 am

      Because unless we’ve actually listened to it, it doesn’t make the list. I have another 20 CD players on my list that might be better than all of these from Metronome, Naim, Mark Levinson, ATC, Esoteric — but I’m not going to randomly just add things to the list just because they exist.

      When I have a chance to try the Technics and others on my list — this article will be updated.

      Thank you for reading.

      Ian White

      • Joshua B

        November 14, 2022 at 1:57 pm

        If you have others that have not been tested, and only list what you have listened to, this list should be designated as “favorites” and not “best”…. there are simply too many very good players not listed that are better than any on this list.

        • Ian White

          November 14, 2022 at 2:37 pm

          Joshua,

          It is impossible to test every available CD player and we have a very specific cut-off in terms of price. We don’t review CD players over $5,000.

          Best,

          Ian White

  4. MadMex

    June 11, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    YAMAHA is a long distance runner for the CD player. Pay respects.

    • Ian White

      June 11, 2021 at 1:20 pm

      100% for longevity but have not heard a Yamaha CD player in many years so I can’t comment on its sound quality.

      Ian White

  5. Matt

    August 6, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Rotel cd 14. Sounds great

  6. Scott Lylander

    August 11, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Having a top loading CD player is a must for me; I’ll take the Rega. Long Live Physical Media.

    • Ian White

      August 11, 2021 at 9:19 pm

      The Rega is really good. The Naim would be my second choice.

      Ian White

    • JS

      September 19, 2022 at 5:27 pm

      Nad 516 bee owner here. Affordable and great sounding machine.

  7. Steven O'Farrell

    August 13, 2021 at 2:59 am

    The “drawer” design has been a problem with several players I’ve had over the years. The Rega and the Naim eliminate that concern from the equation, which appeals to me. In my experience, Rotel has a good reliability reputation, but that Rega Apollo intrigues me, I must say. Nice article with a diverse selection of possibilities.

    • Ian White

      August 13, 2021 at 10:13 am

      Steven,

      I still have the original Rega Planet in a box somewhere. I prefer the Rega design in terms of reliability but the Naim CD players have always been my cup of tea sonically.

      Ian White

  8. Larry

    August 15, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    I really, really wish that Oppo was still making CD/DVD players. Oppo switched to making cell phones and it was a real loss for audiophiles.

    Larry Southerland

    • Ian White

      August 15, 2021 at 7:37 pm

      Larry,

      Don’t we all. My BDP-95 is still working but it won’t last forever.

      The prices on the last generation of players are crazy. $2,500 and up for a Blu-ray player.

      They’ve made a killing on the smartphone side so they probably see it a a huge win.

      Modwright has an incredible sounding modification for the last two Oppo players but that takes them up to $4K or more.

      Ian White

      • Mike Little

        August 4, 2022 at 7:44 pm

        I still have my BDP-93, great player but a way to complicated remote due to all of the DVD and video options.
        Modwright has stopped offering mods but you do see the odd one pop up on the secondary market.

        Will you be offering a companion article on just transports?

        • Ian White

          August 5, 2022 at 12:38 am

          Mike,

          Most of these are also transports, so it would seem rather redundant at this point.

          I’m thinking of a follow-up in regard to some vintage CD players including Micromega, CAL, Krell, Sonic Frontiers, PS Audio, Naim, Linn, Spectral, and Meridian.

          Best,

          Ian

          • MDC

            August 5, 2022 at 3:38 pm

            That would be excellent if you did a review of some vintage players. I currently own Sony 777ES and it’s still running fine.

  9. Richard L Johnson

    August 27, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    I bought the Marantz CD6007 to match my PM700N (which I bought as a temporary replacement while my APT Holman preamp was being rebuilt).

    I was not just pleasantly surprised, I was truly shocked at just how good the CD6007 sounds – CDs that previously were ‘nails on the chalkboard’ were dramatically improved – smoother, more detailed, more coherent, less ‘digititis’.

    For reference my analog rig is a VPI Prime with a JMW Memorial 10″ arm and a Hana SH moving coil, and I listemn to either Kef LS50s or Magnepan .7s with a Sunfire SDS8 subwoofer crossed over at 80Hz.

    • Ian White

      August 27, 2021 at 8:43 pm

      Right?

      CD players have taken a backseat for far too long over the past 10 years.

      I’m listening to CDs all the time now.

      Ian White

  10. Lash

    November 9, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    I only wish someone was still making players that decode HDCD, as well as SACD.

    • Ian White

      November 9, 2021 at 5:49 pm

      Lash,

      I want to say Copland but I might be wrong on that one. I did own a Copland CD player that decoded HDCD and I still have all of those CDs with that encoding.

      Finding one that does both HDCD and SACD is definitely rare. You might find a used high-end unit that does both but I doubt it will be inexpensive.

      Ian

    • Brad Clemens

      January 14, 2022 at 11:41 pm

      Marantz makes SA-10 SACD player which plays CDs, Hi Rz dvds , others as well as can burn them for you. Came out beginning of 2017 and still can hardly find a used one cheap. Considered one of best to own as it streams and has its own unconventional dac which they claim is not a dac. Stereophile never mentions in any detail in articles and almost mute about the player. I think it’s because, Marantz didn’t buy into the MQA hype. Will process any file you can think of otherwise. Read about it as there are many excellent reviews besides marketing hype.

  11. Jim

    November 10, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    I sold my CAL Audio Cd/DVD player and Denon Cd player/recorder both of which played HDCD. I still have the Eastern Electric Mini Max tube CD player which also plays HDCD. Ashgrove by Dave Alvin is a great HDCD from start to finish, “Out of Control” really rocks if you are ready to head out on the town 🙂 I saw him perform this whole CD in Washington DC in front of just 300 people(max capacity) in 2004.

    • Ian White

      November 10, 2021 at 6:50 pm

      The CAL CD players were really good. I missed my chance at one recently.

      Dave Alvin is great music.

      Ian White

  12. John

    December 5, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    I would like to suggest adding the Bryston BCD-3 to your list to audition. Thanks for these. CDs remain equal to vinyl in my home. No streamers as I’ve been committed to physical media for years. Convenience has never been a priority. My stack of 45s will attest to that. Convenience in audio playback is a conceptual necessity we’ve made up with no real value, especially in a field where you often literally need an expert just to help you set up and calibrate your system. I am fit enough to get off the couch and I’m OK with that. The Bryston is a wonderful player (w/ a balky remote).

  13. Gregger

    January 12, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    Are you aware of a newer CD player that will accept multiple CD’S?? The ‘one at a time’ thing gets old!
    thank you.

    • Ian White

      January 12, 2022 at 9:26 pm

      Gregger,

      I’m assuming you mean a CD changer. Integra and Yamaha still make 6-CD changers. The Integra model (basically a Onkyo) is quite good. Yamaha also makes really decent CD players still.

      Best,
      Ian White

      • Steve

        February 28, 2023 at 5:46 pm

        Hi Ian.
        Recently, I purchased an Onkyo DX-C390 6 disc changer.At present I’ve got it connected to a very old Denon DRA-435R (hope to upgrade when $’s allow). Any comments on the DX-C390?.
        Thanks

        • Ian White

          February 28, 2023 at 5:48 pm

          Hi Steve,

          Unfortunately, I’ve never had the chance to listen to one.

          If it still works and you like it — enjoy it.

          Best,

          Ian White

  14. David

    June 21, 2022 at 11:48 am

    I would really like to purchase the Audiolab 6000cdt but keep hearing chatter about CD’s getting damaged due to the slot loading system. Do you have any opinions about slot loaders? Am I better off buying a player with a tray?

  15. Michael King

    August 4, 2022 at 4:32 pm

    I too wish that Qobuz was available in Canada. However, I would like to put in a plug for Deezer. Their CD resolution tier sounds wonderful and the library is vast in all genres. Spotify is still compressed and I don’t care about Tidal as MQA is a solution for a problem that no longer exists. If Qobuz, Linn, McIntosh etc. eschew it, that is good enough for me. Since this is a column about CDs and CD players, I spin mine on an old Pioneer DV-353 DVD player feeding a Moon 280D DAC. Don’t laugh :). I had an unfortunate experience with a McIntosh MCD201. The model was a rare lemon from this company and it had to go back to the factory twice because of a faulty transport. This was a common problem with this model and I was glad to see it go. After that, stand alone DACs only for me.

  16. Dennis

    August 4, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    CD sales have climbed , in part, because there’s not much capacity to produce vinyl, so if you want to own a physical copy of an album then CDs may be it. CDs are also more durable and transportable than vinyl, and most new music isn’t mastered in a way that matters with regard to format. Used sales don’t factor into the statistics for cd sales and I doubt too many people who’d buy a $1000 plus player are shopping used CDs for anything except what may be out of production.
    These CD player prices are nuts, or more politely, aspirational. There may be a qualitative difference between a nice new $200 player and one costing thousands, but I’d go vintage first. For the record, I don’t fault anyone who buys expensive gear. I own some, so I get it.

  17. Tony Dyson

    November 14, 2022 at 3:11 pm

    CD is far from dead, even in the US. Have you noted the number of expensive transports that have appeared recently? I’m a recent convert to Pro-Ject, with the S3 MaiA amp and S3 CD Box. I couldn’t imagine buying a replacement system without a means to spin my CD collection. Discogs will ensure that collection continues to slowly grow.

    • Ian White

      November 14, 2022 at 3:54 pm

      Tony,

      CD sales in N. America are definitely not strong compared to Europe and Asia in 2022. There was some momentum last year during the pandemic that saw CD sales increase for the first time in almost 6 years, but that momentum seems to have dissipated. CD sales in Japan, India, Europe, and China are a very different story. Streaming has not yet hit the same type of critical mass as we’ve experienced in N. America but it will happen eventually.

      I love CDs. I own 3 CD players and will use them until they die. Hopefully that is at least another decade.

      Best,

      Ian White

  18. nwwoods

    November 14, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    I purchased one on impulse last year. I have listened to exactly two CDs since then. I have thousands of digital tracks on my NAS and they duplicated on the micro SD in my Fiio DAP. Why the heck would I want to fumble with CDs, I ask myself.

    • Ian White

      November 14, 2022 at 11:19 pm

      Gord,

      1. CD players can sound better than streaming.
      2. Not everything is available on streaming platforms.
      3. Who doesn’t want to squint reading the album notes?

      Ian White

  19. Michael Little

    November 15, 2022 at 12:31 am

    Ian,
    I have been doing a ton of travel so just found this (gettingg Covid from a Calgary trip was not a great gift).

    I really love my older OPPO BDP93? but in comparisons in the new system I built recently I have discovered that the DAC (Burr Brown in the OPP?) has a big mid bass bump.
    I only discovered this when doing a comparison between the analog out and SPIDF with my Modi.
    So I am hoping at some point your team has the time to do just a transport comparison.
    Since the OPPO was originally bought as a blue ray player for the home theatre its got a remote that can run a space shuttle which is another reason I really want to go down the pure transport route.

    • Ian White

      November 15, 2022 at 1:13 am

      Michael,

      Feel better and I think it’s something I’d like to do in late-january after we clear through our backlog of articles and reviews.

      Best,

      Ian White

  20. jim

    August 16, 2023 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks for your reviews, Ian but I read hifi reviews and watch hifi videos to escape the political quagmire that permeates our society. My 2 cents fwiw.

  21. Karl

    August 20, 2023 at 7:27 pm

    Could someone explain how a CD transport can sound different compared to a different CD transport, with all other things being the same (most importantly, the DAC)?

    I use a Tascam CD-RW901SL as a transport connected to a Parasound D/AC-1100 and my sense is that since the transport is simply reading the data there ideally should not be any measurable difference from one transport to the next, much the same as a Microsoft Word document will appear identical no matter which hard drive or computer it’s decoded by.

    • Ian White

      August 20, 2023 at 8:59 pm

      Karl,

      I’m in the same camp as you. The DAC and analog output stage is going to have much more impact on the final sound quality. Some transports use higher quality sleds and superior clamping systems but a transport should perform one basic function as any other transport.

      CD players, however, are a very different story.

      Best,
      Ian White

  22. Mr Timothy Cook

    September 27, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    Why the obnoxious dig at Greta Thunberg? Totally inappropriate I would suggest.
    For what it’s worth I listened to a very interesting radio program on the BBC a few years back around the environmental impact of the music industry. I can’t remember the name of the interviewee now, but he calculated that streaming was more carbon intensive than CD production. The amount of energy being consumed by massive internet servers for music streaming alone, outweighs the carbon footprint of CD production. This was approximately five years ago, things might have changed re energy efficiency of servers etc.

    • Ian White

      September 27, 2023 at 10:25 pm

      Mr. Cook,

      How dare you!!! How dare you!

      We did a podcast with MQA and Meridian last year about the server versus CD carbon footprint topic. It’s in the podcast section.

      Ian White

  23. Mark Patterson

    November 26, 2023 at 9:08 pm

    Why would you attempt an insult toward Greta Thunberg, a young person who has dedicated her life’s energy so far to the well-being of our human family’s future? That snark is unnecessary, and colors the rest of your article in a questionable light.

    • Ian White

      November 27, 2023 at 1:30 am

      The little thug who demonstrated this week calling for the destruction of Israel? Where most of my family lives. Greta is not who you think she is.

      IW

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