Best CD Players and CD Changers of 2024

Selecting the Ideal CD Player for Your Hi-Fi System in 2024

Since 1983, What Hi-Fi? has been rigorously evaluating and reviewing CD players. Despite the convenience of streaming, many still cherish the tangible nature of CDs. They offer reliability, durability, and independence from Wi-Fi and DRM issues. There’s an enduring joy in popping a CD into a player and immersing oneself in an album.

Best CD Players and CD Changers, Our extensive testing over the decades has revealed that the best CD players boast user-friendly interfaces, robust construction, flawless playback, and exceptional sound quality for their price range.

Our recommendations encompass both integrated CD players, featuring built-in digital-to-analog converters, and CD transports, which solely read disc data and require external DACs. Ranging from budget-friendly options to premium selections, our list includes trusted brands like Marantz, Cambridge Audio, Cyrus, and the 2023 Award-winning Arcam model.

Every product on our list undergoes meticulous testing by our expert team in dedicated listening rooms. For further insights into our CD player evaluation process, refer to the details provided at the bottom of this page.

A Comprehensive Guide for Selecting the Ideal CD Player

Before investing in a CD player, it’s crucial to consider several factors. Evaluate aspects like DAC capabilities, user-friendliness, controls, and, of course, audio performance to ensure your choice aligns with your preferences.

Premium CD players typically feature superior DAC chips and internal components, resulting in fewer errors and broader support for optical disc formats like SACD, alongside standard CD, CD-R, and CD-RW. Some models even integrate wireless and streaming technologies, transforming them into versatile media systems with USB ports for playing high-resolution 24-bit files. Decide whether these additional features justify the higher cost, or if a reliable disc-spinner suffices for your needs.

Another critical consideration is whether you require an integrated CD player, equipped with a built-in DAC, or a CD transport, lacking internal DAC functionality. CD transports, such as the Cambridge Audio CXC, rely on standalone DACs or the one in your stereo amplifier for digital-to-analog conversion before sound reaches your speakers. While CD transports excel in reading CD discs, you’ll need to ensure compatibility with an appropriate DAC.

Alternatively, align your choice with your budget, system requirements, and desired features. Consider preferences like slot-loading versus disc trays, readability of the display, and the need for Bluetooth connectivity or SACD support. Ensure your budget aligns with your system’s demands to make an informed decision.

Testing CD Players: Our Methodology Explained

At What Hi-Fi?, our testing process for CD players is conducted in cutting-edge facilities located in London and Reading. Our team of seasoned, in-house reviewers meticulously assesses a wide range of hi-fi and AV equipment, including CD players.

Central to our approach is comparative testing. Each CD player undergoes rigorous evaluation against the current top performer in its category to determine its standing against the best-in-class competition. We maintain an inventory of long-standing What Hi-Fi? Award winners for reference, allowing us to benchmark new products against established favorites at similar price points. Our commitment extends to reviewing numerous models across various markets to ensure our contextual understanding remains comprehensive.

Impartiality is paramount in our testing process. We strive to optimize each CD player’s performance by connecting it to suitable equipment and placing it on a stable surface. We assess them in diverse setups with different amplifiers and speakers, subjecting them to a variety of music genres during playback. Additionally, ample listening time is allotted, allowing for proper break-in periods.

All review verdicts are collective decisions made by the entire team, ensuring objectivity and minimizing individual biases. Our assessments are uninfluenced by PR companies or internal sales teams, underscoring our dedication to delivering honest and unbiased reviews over decades of service.

Key Considerations When Buying a CD Player

When purchasing a CD player, several factors demand attention to ensure you make the right choice. Evaluate aspects such as DAC functionality, user-friendliness, control options, and audio performance. Premium models typically boast advanced DAC chips, enhanced error correction, and compatibility with various optical disc formats. Furthermore, discerning between integrated CD players and CD transports is essential, as each option presents distinct benefits.

Pro-Ject CD BOX S3

The Pro-Ject CD BOX S3 may seem unassuming, but it packs a punch in the realm of Hi-Fi. Supporting 12cm Redbook CDs, it boasts a frequency response of 20 Hz – 22 kHz and impressively low Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.005%. While lacking a USB input, its weight of 1.3 kg underscores its compact and sturdy build.


  • Dynamic and lively sound
  • High signal-to-noise ratio of 120 dB
  • PCM5102 DAC capable of decoding digital streams up to 32 bit / 384 kHz
  • Aluminum body and fast slot loader ensure durable manufacturing quality


  • Bass lacks texturing compared to higher-end models

Verdict: The Pro-Ject CD BOX S3 serves as an excellent entry point into the world of Hi-Fi, offering impressive performance and sound quality despite its modest appearance.

Teac VRDS-701

The Teac VRDS-701 sets a quality standard within its price range, offering an impressive array of features and exceptional performance. Supporting 12cm Redbook CDs (CD-DA), it boasts a wide frequency response of 5 Hz – 80 kHz and remarkably low Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.002%. Weighing 11.1 kg, it exudes a sense of solidity and reliability.


  • Comprehensive feature set surpassing expectations
  • Newly developed VRDS transport system with servo drive and aluminum support disk
  • Semi-floating installation of dual mono circuit and discrete delta-sigma DAC
  • TEAC-QVCS volume control and RDOT-NEO technology for upsampling
  • Signal-to-noise ratio of 108 dB


  • None noted

Verdict: The Teac VRDS-701 embodies Teac’s commitment to innovation and excellence in CD player design. Its meticulous engineering, incorporating advancements such as the VRDS transport system and discrete DAC, ensures top-tier performance. With a plethora of features and exceptional sound quality, it stands as a benchmark within its price category. Experiencing the VRDS-701 firsthand is a testament to its remarkable capabilities.

Playback Designs Edelweiss

The Playback Designs Edelweiss stands at the forefront of digital audio technology, offering a groundbreaking platform that seamlessly integrates streaming capabilities with optical CD and SACD playback. Supporting 12cm Redbook CDs (CD-DA) and SACDs, it boasts a frequency response from 0 Hz to 22 kHz and impressively low Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.0015%. With a weight of 11 kg, it combines robust construction with innovative design.


  • Innovative design complemented by natural sound reproduction
  • Integration of streaming services (Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, vTune) and network support
  • Renowned Dream series transport and MPD-6 DAC for exceptional audio performance
  • PDFAS precision clock and analog preamplifier section for enhanced clarity
  • USB input for added versatility


  • High price point may be a deterrent for some consumers

Verdict: The Playback Designs Edelweiss redefines the CD player landscape with its state-of-the-art features and unparalleled performance. Its seamless integration of streaming capabilities, along with its exceptional audio quality, makes it a standout choice for audiophiles seeking the ultimate listening experience. As a true testament to innovation, the Edelweiss represents the CD player of tomorrow.

Accuphase DP-770

The Accuphase DP-770 stands as a precision machine in the realm of high-end audio, setting a new standard for CD player performance. Supporting 12cm Redbook CDs (CD-DA) and SACDs, it offers an expansive frequency response from 0 Hz to 80 kHz, pushing the boundaries of audio fidelity. Weighing a substantial 24.8 kg, it exudes a sense of robustness and craftsmanship.


  • Abundance of details in audio reproduction
  • Innovative 8MDSD / 8MDS++ conversion system utilizing eight ES9028PRO chips
  • Meticulous filtering by the Direct Balanced Filter for breathtaking sound quality
  • Handles audio signals at 32/384 or DSD 11 MHz parameters


  • No significant drawbacks noted

Verdict: The Accuphase DP-770 represents the pinnacle of CD player engineering, delivering a level of precision and clarity that redefines the listening experience. With its advanced technologies and meticulous construction, it removes any barrier between the listener and the music, unveiling nuances and subtleties previously unheard. As a precision machine, the DP-770 sets a new standard for audio excellence.

Rotel CD11 MKII

The Rotel CD11 MKII is a formidable addition to its price category, boasting support for 12cm Redbook CDs (CD-DA) and SACDs. With a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz and Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.009%, it offers reliable performance. Despite lacking a USB input, its substantial weight of 6.2 kg speaks to its robust build quality.


  • Solid design for its price range
  • Excellent sound scale
  • Extended listening sessions without fatigue


  • Timbre picture leans slightly towards darkness

Verdict: Rotel reaffirms its commitment to quality with the CD11 MKII, featuring advanced components such as 32/384 Texas Instruments PCM5102A chips and custom low-pass filter circuits. Its tonal balance, though slightly dark, contributes to a rich listening experience ideal for prolonged enjoyment.

Hegel Viking

The Hegel Viking stands as an ascetic marvel of the highest class, meticulously crafted to deliver luxurious sound quality tailored specifically for standard Redbook CDs. Supporting 12cm Redbook CDs (CD-DA), it offers a frequency response ranging from 0 Hz to 22 kHz and impressively low Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.0015%. With a weight of 7.3 kg, it strikes a balance between solidity and elegance.


  • Truly luxurious sound quality
  • Meticulous handling of DAC chips during digital-to-analog conversion
  • Direct oversight by Hegel’s Master Clock system for flawless synchronization
  • Powered by a low phase noise quartz crystal and Hegel’s patented SoundEngine technology
  • Minimal jitter thanks to a discrete clock generator


  • Lack of USB port

Verdict: The Hegel Viking eschews digital stream upsampling in favor of precise information retrieval from the disc, resulting in unparalleled sound quality. Its exceptional performance is a testament to Hegel’s commitment to excellence, with every note resonating with clarity and depth. As an ascetic masterpiece, the Viking exemplifies the pinnacle of CD player craftsmanship.

Marantz CD 50n

The Marantz CD 50n is a multifaceted audio player that transcends traditional CD and SACD playback. Supporting 12cm Redbook CDs (CD-DA) and SACDs, it boasts an impressive frequency response of 2 Hz – 50 kHz and exceptionally low Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.0016%. With a weight of 10.3 kg, it exudes a sense of solidity and durability.


  • Beautiful presentation
  • Flexible sound
  • Integration of HEOS streaming system for seamless audio streaming from various sources
  • High-quality audio decoding capabilities up to PCM 32 bit / 384 kHz and DSD 128


  • Localization may not be ideal

Verdict: The Marantz CD 50n is not only visually appealing but also delivers outstanding sound quality. Its integration of the HEOS streaming system expands its versatility, allowing for seamless access to audio from Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal, and TuneIn Radio. With its proprietary presentation and advanced decoding capabilities, it stands as a cool-looking and great-sounding device.

Esoteric K-05XD

The Esoteric K-05XD stands as a beacon of excellence in the realm of high-end audio, setting a new benchmark with its exceptional specifications and luxurious design. Supporting 12cm Redbook CDs (CD-DA) and SACDs, it offers a wide frequency response from 7 Hz to 70 kHz and remarkably low Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.0007%. With a weight of 20.7 kg, it exudes a sense of solidity and craftsmanship.


  • Luxurious design complemented by exceptional sound quality
  • Unique Master Sound Discrete DAC with FPGA for stunning audio reproduction
  • Latest version of the VRDS-ATLAS transport system for top-notch performance
  • Support for Super Audio CD playback
  • Esoteric-HCLD buffering system and three independent power supplies for unparalleled sound quality


  • Presentation may sometimes seem a little distant

Verdict: The Esoteric K-05XD represents the latest pinnacle of high-end audio engineering, combining exquisite design with brilliant performance. With its advanced technologies and meticulous construction, it achieves a level of audio excellence that elevates the listening experience to new heights. As the latest iteration of Esoteric’s renowned player series, the K-05XD truly reaches for the stars in delivering unparalleled sound quality and craftsmanship.

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Examining the 2024 Market Trends in Portable CD Players

In 2024, the market for portable CD players reflects a fusion of nostalgia and technological advancement. Despite the ongoing digital transformation, there remains a steady demand for portable CD players, driven by a distinct consumer group that appreciates the quality and tactile experience of physical media. This niche segment has demonstrated resilience amidst the dominance of streaming services, underscoring the enduring appeal of portable CD players in the modern landscape.

Analyzing Current Market Trends and Consumer Preferences in Portable CD Players

The market for portable CD players is shaped by a diverse consumer base spanning multiple age groups. While older generations maintain a sentimental attachment to CDs, younger demographics view them as a novel, retro medium. The global Compact Disc (CD) market, valued at USD 4735.0 million in 2022, is projected to grow to USD 5510.0 million by 2028, reflecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.56% during the period from 2022 to 2028. This steady growth underscores the enduring demand for portable CD players, driven not only by music but also by the desire for a tangible connection to media, an experience often lacking in digital formats.

Exploring the Impact of Technological Advancements on the Portable CD Player Market

Technological progress has significantly influenced the landscape of portable CD players. Modern devices often integrate features like Bluetooth connectivity, allowing them to function as wireless speakers for streaming music. Additionally, USB connectivity enables users to play digital files directly, bridging the gap between physical and digital media. These advancements enhance the versatility and attractiveness of portable CD players, even in an era dominated by digital media consumption.

The 2024 market for portable CD players exemplifies how traditional media can adapt and thrive in the modern digital landscape. It underscores the enduring appeal of physical media and emphasizes the importance of technological innovation in meeting evolving consumer preferences.

Exploring Top Portable CD Player Models and Their Features in 2024

The portable CD player market in 2024 offers a diverse array of models, each with its own set of unique features and advantages. This section delves into a comprehensive analysis of the leading portable CD player models, showcasing their distinct characteristics and benefits. Furthermore, a comparative examination of these models is provided, emphasizing key specifications such as sound quality, battery life, and supplementary features.

Top Portable CD Player Models Reviewed
  1. SHISUO R01 CD Player: The SHISUO R01 is celebrated for its exceptional audio quality, appealing primarily to audiophiles. Equipped with advanced anti-skip technology, it ensures uninterrupted playback even during movement. Its robust build and user-friendly controls make it suitable for everyday use, offering a perfect balance of reliability and high-fidelity sound.
  2. THINKYA JA-310 CD Player: The THINKYA JA-310 stands out for its multifunctional capabilities, supporting a wide range of audio formats, including MP3 and WMA. With Bluetooth connectivity, it effortlessly pairs with wireless speakers or headphones, enhancing versatility. Its sleek design adds aesthetic appeal, appealing to users who prioritize both functionality and style.
  3. NOBSOUND X100 CD Player: Tailored for discerning listeners, the NOBSOUND X100 excels in delivering superior sound quality. Its cutting-edge audio technologies enrich the listening experience, complemented by a durable construction for longevity. The player’s modern and elegant design caters to users who prioritize sound quality above all else.
  4. LOTORASIA LT-CD2 CD Player: The LOTORASIA LT-CD2 combines sleek aesthetics with practical functionality, featuring a user-friendly interface and elegant design. Lightweight and compact, it offers portability without compromising sound quality. Ideal for those who appreciate both style and ease of use in their portable CD player.
  5. OCCKIC MINI CD Player: Designed for maximum portability, the OCCKIC MINI maintains sound quality despite its compact size. Perfect for on-the-go use, it easily fits into bags or pockets, catering to users who prioritize mobility without sacrificing audio quality.

Each of these models presents a unique blend of features, catering to diverse preferences and needs in the portable CD player market. From exceptional sound quality to versatile connectivity options and elegant designs, these players represent the pinnacle of portable CD player technology in 2024.

Comparative Analysis of Top Portable CD Player Model Specifications

Sound Quality:

  • The SHISUO R01 excels in delivering crystal-clear audio with advanced audio processing technologies, offering an immersive listening experience across a wide range of frequencies.
  • The NOBSOUND X100 stands out for its high-end audio performance, featuring sophisticated sound engineering and dynamic sound enhancement, appealing to audiophiles seeking nuanced music playback.

Battery Life:

  • The THINKYA JA-310 is notable for efficient power management, providing extended battery life for uninterrupted listening sessions, ideal for users requiring reliability over extended durations.

Bluetooth Connectivity:

  • Models like the THINKYA JA-310 and OCCKIC MINI feature Bluetooth connectivity, allowing seamless wireless audio streaming, enhancing versatility and convenience for users preferring cable-free setups.

Input Options:

  • CD players such as the Qoosea Portable CD Player offer auxiliary and USB inputs, broadening compatibility with various audio sources, enabling direct connections to smartphones, computers, and other devices for enhanced integration into broader audio systems.

The comparative analysis underscores the strengths of these top portable CD player models in 2024, emphasizing sound quality, battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, and input options. Understanding these specifications aids users in making informed decisions, ensuring alignment with specific preferences and requirements when selecting a portable CD player.

Exploring the Diversity and Uses of Portable CD Players

Exploring the Diversity of Portable CD Players

In the realm of audio technology, portable CD players have evolved to suit various needs and preferences, offering a range of features and functionalities. From classic Discman-style players to boombox variants and wall-mountable units, each type caters to different scenarios and user preferences.

Discman-Style Players: Reminiscent of the early days of portable music, these compact and simple devices offer straightforward listening experiences. They often feature enhanced anti-skip technology, making them ideal for on-the-go listening without interruptions.

Boombox-Style Players: These larger units, equipped with built-in speakers, are designed for group listening environments. Combining traditional CD playback with modern features like Bluetooth connectivity, they provide versatility and robust sound output, making them suitable for outdoor events or workshops.

Wall-Mountable Players: Sleek and unobtrusive, these players add elegance to any room while delivering high-quality audio. Ideal for settings where space is limited, such as small offices or apartments, they can be mounted on walls, saving space and enhancing the room’s decor.

Exploring the Versatile Applications of Portable CD Players

Portable CD players serve a multitude of purposes, catering to diverse usage scenarios across different domains. In personal entertainment, they provide a tangible and immersive listening experience, offering a refreshing alternative to the transient nature of digital streaming platforms.

For educational endeavors, portable CD players are invaluable tools. They facilitate language learning through audiobooks and instructional CDs, particularly in environments with limited or unreliable internet access.

In professional settings, these players are indispensable for high-fidelity audio playback. Sound engineers and musicians rely on CDs for their uncompressed audio quality, crucial for tasks such as mixing and mastering.

Moreover, in therapeutic contexts like guided meditation or relaxation sessions, the clarity and reliability of CD audio contribute significantly to the overall experience.

As a result, portable CD players remain relevant and adaptable in the digital age, continuously evolving to meet the diverse needs of users, ranging from casual listeners to professionals in the audio industry.

Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing Portable CD Players

Choosing the ideal portable CD player entails weighing several critical factors that directly influence user experience and functionality. These considerations are essential to ensure that the selected product aligns with the specific requirements of its intended use, whether for personal enjoyment, educational purposes, or professional applications.

Evaluating Sound Quality and Battery Life in Portable CD Players

When selecting a portable CD player, two critical factors to consider are sound quality and battery life, as they directly impact the overall user experience.

Sound Quality: Sound quality is paramount for most users, with a focus on clear, crisp audio with minimal distortion. High-quality players, such as the Coby CDR 206 CD Player with Anti-Skip Protection, are praised for their playback excellence. Features like digital noise reduction technology and bass boost enhance the listening experience, ensuring clarity even in challenging environments like a moving vehicle. Some models also include an AM/FM radio tuner, adding versatility to audio content options.

Battery Life: Battery life determines how long the player can operate before requiring a recharge or battery replacement. Typically, portable CD players offer playback times ranging from 10 to 20 hours on full batteries. This duration varies based on features and efficiency, with anti-skip protection potentially affecting power consumption. Battery type is also crucial, with options like nickel-cadmium (NiCD), lithium-ion (Li-ion), and alkaline batteries. Li-ion and alkaline batteries are preferred for their longer lifespan and environmental friendliness compared to NiCD batteries.

Prioritize models offering superior sound quality with features like anti-skip protection and bass boost when choosing a portable CD player. Additionally, understanding battery type and expected playback time ensures uninterrupted listening experiences. These considerations empower users to select a portable CD player that aligns with their specific needs and preferences.

Exploring Durability and Portability Features in Portable CD Players

When selecting a portable CD player, durability and portability are crucial factors to consider, especially considering their frequent use in various environments, including outdoor settings.

Durability: The build quality of the portable CD player significantly impacts its ability to withstand regular use and transport. Players constructed from durable materials such as high-quality plastic or reinforced casing are better equipped to endure the rigors of travel and outdoor activities.

Portability: The physical size of the CD player plays a pivotal role in its portability. Compact players that are easily transportable and can fit into bags or pockets offer greater convenience for on-the-go use. However, it’s essential to balance size with usability and features. Some compact models may sacrifice features or have complex controls compared to larger counterparts. Therefore, selecting a player that strikes the right balance between size and functionality is essential.

Battery Life: Consideration should also be given to the type of battery used in the player and its playback time. Players with extended battery life, providing 10 to 20 hours of playback, ensure uninterrupted listening experiences. Additionally, the type of battery (e.g., NiCD, Li-ion, alkaline) impacts the device’s overall performance and environmental sustainability.

Assessing durability and portability features alongside other factors such as sound quality, compatibility, and connectivity is essential when choosing a portable CD player. These considerations collectively determine the practicality and enjoyment derived from the device, ensuring a satisfying user experience in various usage scenarios.

Exploring Compatibility and Connectivity Options in Portable CD Players

When choosing a portable CD player, it’s essential to consider its compatibility with different disc types and connectivity options, as they significantly impact its versatility and usability.

Compatibility: Modern portable CD players are designed to support a variety of disc formats, including CD, CD-R, CD-RW, and MP3 discs. This broad compatibility ensures users can enjoy their entire CD collection without worrying about format restrictions. For example, the LONPOO Portable CD Player is renowned for its ability to handle various audio formats, making it an ideal choice for music enthusiasts with diverse collections.

Connectivity: Bluetooth connectivity is a valuable feature in portable CD players, allowing for wireless streaming and integration with modern audio setups. Devices like the Majority Portable CD Player offer Bluetooth connectivity with a range of up to 33 feet, enabling users to wirelessly connect to speakers or headphones. This feature enhances flexibility and convenience in audio playback.

Additionally, many portable CD players feature auxiliary and USB inputs, further expanding their connectivity options. These inputs allow direct connections to other audio sources, transforming the CD player into a central hub for various audio experiences. The Qoosea Portable CD Player, for example, offers these additional input options, catering to users seeking a more integrated audio system.

When selecting a portable CD player, consider its compatibility with different disc formats and the availability of connectivity options such as Bluetooth, auxiliary, and USB inputs. These features enhance the device’s versatility and ensure seamless integration into your audio setup.

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FAQ’S for Best CD Players and CD Changers

How does the SHISUO R01 CD Player stand out in terms of sound quality?

The SHISUO R01 excels in delivering crystal-clear audio, thanks to its integration of advanced audio processing technologies that enhance sound clarity and depth. It offers an immersive listening experience across a wide range of frequencies, making it a top choice for those who prioritize sound fidelity.

What sets the NOBSOUND X100 CD Player apart in terms of audio performance?

The NOBSOUND X100 is renowned for its high-end audio performance, featuring sophisticated sound engineering and dynamic sound enhancement. It delivers a rich and detailed audio experience, appealing to audiophiles who seek the nuances in their music.

How does the THINKYA JA-310 CD Player fare in terms of battery life?

The THINKYA JA-310 is notable for its efficient power management, offering extended battery life without compromising performance. Designed to provide consistent playback for long durations, it's ideal for users who need a reliable player for extended listening sessions.

Do any of the mentioned portable CD players feature Bluetooth connectivity?

Yes, models like the THINKYA JA-310 and OCCKIC MINI include Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for seamless wireless audio streaming. This feature enhances versatility and convenience for users preferring cable-free audio setups.

What additional input options are available in portable CD players like the Qoosea Portable CD Player?

CD players such as the Qoosea Portable CD Player offer auxiliary and USB inputs, broadening compatibility with various audio sources. This enables direct connections to smartphones, computers, and other devices, enhancing integration into broader audio systems.

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