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Yamaha CD-S303 CD Player Debuts Just in Time for the Revolution

Are CDs coming back? We’ve been saying that for over a year and the new Yamaha CD-S303 CD Player is banking on a revival.

Yamaha CD-S303 CD Player

We’ve been saying for over a year that CD was poised to make a comeback and the recent sales data for H1 2021 is a genuine sign that Americans are starting to see the light again. The modest 2.2% increase in new CD sales pales in comparison to the 109% increase for records but it is the first positive number in many years. Americans purchased more than 18.9 million new CDs so far this year. Our list of “Best” CD players might get a little longer in 2021 if the brand new Yamaha CD-S303 CD Player delivers excellent sound quality.

CD-S303 Basics

The Yamaha CD-S303 may be the dedicated single tray CD player you need to listen to your collection. This player supports CD, CD-R, and CD-RW playback, and includes a front-mounted USB port that allows access to music stored on USB Flash Drives. 


Compatible file types for playback on CD-R/CD-RW discs, or USB flash drives include WMA, MP3, LPCM, AAC, and FLAC.

Audiophiles will like this player as it features a floating laser pickup mechanism that reduces the effects of external vibrations, 24-bit/192kHz DAC, and audio processing technology (Intelligent Digital Servo) that compensates for disc warpage, dust, and smudges. 

To bolster audio quality further the CD-S303 includes a Pure-Direct Mode option. Using the remote or a front panel button on the player, this feature disables the digital audio outputs and turns off the status display. This allows you to get the lowest possible noise interference when using the analog audio outputs, improving sound quality.  

As far as outputs go, the CD-S303 provides analog stereo, digital optical, and digital coaxial connections, but does not have a dedicated headphone jack.

Yamaha CD-S303 Rear Connections Closeup

Control Options

The CD-S303 comes with a standard remote (there is no mobile phone control app available). The front panel of the player also includes a complement of control buttons and switches.

In addition to the play, ff, rev, and pause controls, the remote provides additional control options, including:

  • 10-Key direct track and direct access
  • Random play
  • Repeat play (full/single)
  • 3-Mode time display
  • Last track resume
  • Ready Mode
  • Play mode memory
  • 4 Status Display Illumination levels

What the CD-S303 Doesn’t Have

Although the CD-S303 offers a lot, it doesn’t provide SACD playback, access to the HDCD 4 bit extension, and does not have network connectivity to allow for the use of a mobile control app or access to any streaming or Hi-Res Audio download services. However, if you are a Redbook CD purist, the Yamaha CD-S303 has what you might be looking for without paying the high price for a high-end esoteric-branded CD player.

Price & Availability

The CD-S303 is priced at $379.95 at Amazon, Crutchfield and is available direct from Yamaha or through authorized retailers. 

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  1. Terry

    October 5, 2021 at 9:20 am

    It looks to me like a mildly to zero modified iteration of the popular cds300 with an inflated price tag. Of course, maybe it is justified by an upgrade of the inner components, by better sound and true Yamaha-grade reliability. As far as I know, we’ve got no information on all that. By the way, the touted additional USB file format compatibilty may be achieved by an almost costless internal software revamping.

  2. Metalhead

    January 6, 2022 at 12:34 am

    Any “new” player should incorporate SACD playback and let listeners decide if it is worth it for the extra expense of SACD discs. One listen to Patricia Barber in SACD should provide all the proof one requires.

    A company like Yamaha which is a well established and respected and does not incorporate SACD makes me wonder how successful the so called revival will be.

    No matter as I own my forever spinner and knowing Yamaha this will be well built and hassle free.

    • Ian White

      January 6, 2022 at 3:30 am

      The percentage of people interested in SACD is beyond tiny. The number when SACD first launched was tiny and limited to audiophiles. Sony didn’t make money with the format.

      When I ripped my entire collection to HDDs over a five year period, I separated out the hi-res CDs that I owned from the rebook ones. I still own 3 CD players so I was curious to see what I had purchased over the years.

      Out of 1,900 CDs, less than 10% were DCC, MoFi, Sony Mastersound, JVC XRCD, or SACDs.

      Outside of our tiny audiophile world, SACD is basically unknown.

      Ian White

  3. Ross Warren

    January 9, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Does anyone know from personal experience, not hear-say, whether or not the Yamaha CD-S303 plays CDs gaplessly, meaning not adding ANY gap between tracks where there should not be? Think Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, any live concert CDs, classical, jazz, and electronica where one track is supposed to seamlessly flow from one to another without ANY gaps. I’m considering purchase of this player but don’t want to have to go to the hassle of sending it back if it adds gaps. Thank you. Otherwise the specs look great for the price and the addition of a USB input for FLACs is nice.

    • Ian White

      January 9, 2022 at 10:04 pm


      According to Yamaha, it does support gapless playback.

      Ian White

    • Gazza Evs

      March 3, 2024 at 7:42 pm

      It plays without putting gaps in, a live recording of TalkTalk “Colourblind” from the Hammersmith Odeon in London plays with no gaps whatsoever

  4. brian hart

    March 12, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    Wondering how the product can receive a good review. I have found at least 4 customer reviews supporting what I find in the product. Intermittently a cd will make a noise like a scratch on an album every time it turns, the noise occurring every c. 1 second.
    How long was this player trialed for the review?

    • Ian White

      March 13, 2023 at 11:24 am


      This is clearly a news story and not a review. It’s even tagged as a new product news story.



    • Geir Kvilhaug

      September 14, 2023 at 12:41 pm

      I have had this CD-player for 7 months now, but haven’t had this issue. Maybe there is some faulty units out there, or they need a software update. I’m very happy with mine.

  5. Gregory Degelman

    March 5, 2024 at 3:14 am

    Tipical like all the new cd players out there nowadays , Way overprice for the quality of it, Also tipical of Yamaha, The sound quality of it , Is nothing to get overly excited about, I seen on one site, Where it states it is high end, Who ever thinks that it is a High End CD player, Has to be a Crackhead, I bought this CD player on March 1st /2024. From Visions Electronics. I am seriously thinking of returning it. I am not impress with it at all.

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