CD Player Buying Guide

CD Player Buying Guide

Common Questions

(Click photos to view products.)
  • What is a CD player? A CD Player is comprised of two components, transport and digital to analog converter (DAC). The transport holds, spins, and reads the disc. The DAC converts the disc’s digital data to an analog audio signal.
  • CD Player vs. DVD Player. All DVD Players have the ability to play CDs. But a CD Player is purely designed for audio playback. This means that every part is designed for high quality sound.
  • Do all CD Players play the same quality audio? No, not all CD Players play the same quality audio.
  • Are CD Players still manufactured? Yes, CD Players are still being manufactured. Although streaming services have been on a rise, CDs are still going strong in sales today.
  • Should I buy used or refurbished? By choosing to get refurbished or used, you open yourself up to a larger variety of features. We recommend avoiding used condition because the people selling them generally don't even know how to use them as they are resellers. By getting refurbished, you get a warranty and likely a replacement if something were to happen.
  • Can I buy a NEW CD Player? You can buy a new CD player, but the selection is very limited. You can't get unique devices like 400 disc changers.
  • Do CDs sound better than an iPhone or Android? Yes, CDs have higher sound quality than streaming services available for iPhone or Android. The reason behind this is all based upon bitrate. Bitrate is the number of bits that are conveyed or processed per unit of time. Streaming services typically use a bitrate of 160-320 kbps, while CDs produce a bitrate of 1,411 kbps.
  • What type of CDs are you playing? Not all CD players play all CDs. Some will play commercial discs and not recorded discs. Most will play CD-RW and -R formats but make sure discs are compatible before buying.

Features to look for-

  • Disc Changer 3-400: Multi disc changers allow you to store and listen to multiple CDs at the push of a button. Multi disc changers range from being able to hold 3 all the way up to 400 discs!
  • sony 300 disc cd player
    Sony 300 Disc CD Mega Changer

  • CD Recorder, Dual Tray & Single Tray: A CD Recorder is a device that can record data to a compact disc. You can either use a CD-R or a CD-RW to put data onto. A CD-R only allows you to transfer data once to a disc, as opposed to a CD-RW which allows you overwrite the previous data on the disc.

    Sony dual tray 5 disc cd player changer recorder

    Sony Dual Tray CD Recorder and 5 Disc Changer

  • CD Text: CD-Text refers to the information that can be embedded (burned) onto your CD master such as song titles and artist name. CD-Text can ONLY be displayed on stand alone CD players or car CD players that are capable of displaying CD-Text.

  • Cartridge, Dual/Single: A CD Cartridge has the capacity to hold multiple CDs and allows you to play each of them one at a time. Be it an external or an internal cartridge, this device lets you load different CDs without any difficulty.

    pioneer 6-disc cd changer cartridge device

    6-Disc Cartridge for Pioneer

  • Optical Digital Audio vs RCA: Optical Digital Audio is a digital signal and besides being able to carry multiple channel surround, it is far superior to RCA connections, which are 2-channel analog.
  • RCA Analog Audio Cables red and whitefiber optical cable versus rca analog

  • Super Audio CD: CD Players that offer SACD support offer more channels such as surround sound, and other exclusive features like extended playback time.

  • Exchange: Exchange allows you to change the order of the other discs in the player, and/or add and subtract discs without interfering with the track you’re playing.

  • Plus 1: The Plus 1 feature allows you to use your mega disc changer as a single disc CD Player.

  • Under the Cabinet Radio: Slim, under-cabinet profiles brings a multi-media entertainment center to your kitchen, mounting under a cabinet so it takes up none of your precious counter area.
  • sony under the cabinet radio cd player with aux cord

    Sony Under The Cabinet Radio CD Player Speaker System

  • Shuffle & Other Play Modes: One of the beauties of having a CD Player is the options for multiple play modes, which may include normal play (standard play), shuffle, shuffle disc, shuffle repeat CD, repeat disc and repeat track.Shuffle plays all tracks on the selected CD in random order, then moves to the next CD, again playing all tracks in random order. Shuffle disc plays all tracks on the selected cd once in random order. Shuffle repeat CD plays all tracks on the selected CD in random order. Repeat disc repeats all tracks on the selected cd in order. Repeat track repeats the current track on the selected CD.

  • Timer Function: If you enjoy going to sleep with music playing, this feature is amazing. With the timer function, you have the ability to set a time for your CD Player to automatically turn off so you don’t waste any energy.

  • sony cd explorer with timer function



    Brands & Recommendations

    What brands make the best CD Players?

    The best CD Player manufacturers include Sony and Pioneer. Other brands can provide quality, but Pioneer and Sony have proven to be the most reliable.


    Sony 400 Disc Carousel Changer

    This will hold all 400 discs. What makes this unit special is that remote has a display that shows the disc that is playing, as well with the tracks.


    Pioneer 6 Disc Changer

    A Pioneer 6 Disc Cartridge type CD Player is very convenient for switching between your favorite music. Keep a few cartridges loaded and change genres at any time. 


    Sony 3 Disc Under Cabinet Radio

    This Sony Under Cabinet radio is special because it has a 3 Disc Changer along with an auxiliary port for connecting any device, most often a phone or mp3 device.



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    (480) 207-1511
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    Deborah Miller - July 10, 2019

    Thank you for your articles. They are so helpful in understanding all the differences in CD Players and DVR Players and their capabilities. There are so many features and so confusing.

    Hans Vetter - February 1, 2021

    Is there any cd changer Bluetooth enabled?

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