How does one shop for a CD player nowadays?

beninma

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I would guess most people in the sub-$1000 player market are not hooking up via a digital interface. Both the quality of the DAC and the op amps in the player will make a difference in the quality of the signal leaving the analog out. Remember every CD player with analog out is essentially also a preamp. As a result you can certainly get better sound from a CD player by investing more in more than a $35 DVD player.

Eh.. all the stuff I was hooking it up with digitally 20 years ago was in the well under $500 range.

This stuff is all ancient dirt cheap technology today.

How would you feel if you screwed up in a blind A:B test and couldn't tell the difference between the $10 CD-ROM drive and the $1000 Audiophile marketed CD player? If they were both put through the same pre-amp/amp speakers you might not be able to tell, even if you took the analog feed out of the $10 player.

The other thing here is you could go buy a cheap CD player + HD audio digital player + a dedicated Pro-Audio/Audiophile DAC for less as well in some cases.

A lot of this effort/cost is probably better redirected into digitizing the CDs and not being reliant on the CD player at all... I've digitized my CD collection twice at this point. Once in the early 2000s to high bitrate MP3, then I redid the whole thing in the mid-2010s to change the whole library to FLAC so I had a bit-for-bit reproduction of the CDs and could back them up with no data loss. The computer I used is 10 years old, it takes it less than 5 minutes to read an entire CD and turn it into FLAC files. The software fills in all the titles, artist info, etc.. from the internet for you. It's really easy to do if you're working near the computer and just need to swap the CDs every 5 minutes as you do something else. I've still been buying CDs all along too, once you've done the first big batch it's trivial to do a few more here or there as you buy them.

And once you have the files as FLAC, ALAAC, whatever you are now free to use players/devices/setups that are better than any CD player and you have a path to play the higher definition stuff you can buy now instead of CD.
 
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JDB2

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How would you feel if you screwed up in a blind A:B test and couldn't tell the difference between the $10 CD-ROM drive and the $1000 Audiophile marketed CD player? If they were both put through the same pre-amp/amp speakers you might not be able to tell, even if you took the analog feed out of the $10 player.
Audio is subjective. I did put my cheap DVD player against my midrange CD player (analog out) and the difference in sound was obvious to me. I did this years ago when the CD player was beginning to act up and I was deciding if I could use the DVD player as my main player rather then repair the CD player. I couldn't. If someone else is happy with the sound of a $10 CD player that's great for them. (Wait is there even such a thing?)
 

bottlenecker

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If you think about what a CD player actually is electronically then you realize all these CD players that still cost hundreds of dollars are mostly selling the DAC and a steaming glass of snake oil. The digital portions of the whole audiophile scene are the most laden with the snake oil. A CD is digital data and it has checksums and error correction built into it. If the $5 CD player you put in your PC produces the exact same series of bits off the CD as the $500 or $5000 on from the Audiophile company the audiophile one does nothing except make you feel special and your wallet lighter.

Once you've got the digital data off the CD it's just a question of pumping it out a digital interface to a receiver or feeding it to a DAC and sending it out on an analog line. Fancier stuff might have a fancier DAC. If you're hooking the player up with a digital interface that's out the window too though.

I have thought about this.. cause I miss sticking CDs in the player and listening to them straight through on a nice stereo. I got rid of my setup 5 years ago cause it was too loud for most use cases. I have thought about getting some kind of bookshelf setup and putting it in my music area.

But I am not sure what that buys me versus using my HD audio player (Fiio) that has a 128GB card in it and has all my CDs on it and just hooking that up to an amplifier and some monitors. A lot of my music on that player since I mostly stopped buying CDs is higher quality digital music than CD. Once the music is into a computer the CD is meaningless. My Fiio Audio player is mostly used with headphones. But there's no reason it can't just get hooked up to a high quality amp + speaker setup. The whole paradigm of a giant stack of Hi-Fi components in a cabinet is just basically dead as a doornail at this point with the way modern technology has gone. If you buy that stuff in 2022 you're just buying a bunch of empty cabinet space that they upcharge 100x for. If you had looked inside a CD player in the 80s or 90s there would be a big board full of custom chips on there. Today you can do the whole thing on a tiny little board smaller than a playing card that costs nothing.

I don't think this is what a cd player does. It doesn't extract a file, and then figure out how to play it. That's what a computer does. Maybe that's what a cd player should do, but it plays a disc in real time. I don't think "error corection" literally corrects anything, I think it just keeps missing data from making terrible noises.

Bottom line for me though, is that some players sound better than others, and I don't care what the explanation is.
 

MikeBee

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I love listening to one cd played all the way through. One of these came up for sale locally and I snagged it. Both vehicles have cd players as well.
1643293572322.png
 

beninma

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I don't think this is what a cd player does. It doesn't extract a file, and then figure out how to play it. That's what a computer does. Maybe that's what a cd player should do, but it plays a disc in real time. I don't think "error corection" literally corrects anything, I think it just keeps missing data from making terrible noises.

Bottom line for me though, is that some players sound better than others, and I don't care what the explanation is.

All CD players are computers.. it's nothing like an LP.

It's a stream of digital data that includes extra data to allow the computer to error check the data as it comes off the CD.

Any two players that have a digital output can be hooked up to a computer and you can verify bit by bit that the two players produced exactly the same thing.
 

JDB2

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All CD players are computers.. it's nothing like an LP.

It's a stream of digital data that includes extra data to allow the computer to error check the data as it comes off the CD.

Any two players that have a digital output can be hooked up to a computer and you can verify bit by bit that the two players produced exactly the same thing.
Unless I missed something, I’m pretty sure the OP (and many if not most people) use the analog out of the CD player, in which case there is lots of other stuff in the signal chain inside the player (op amps, etc) that can, and does, effect sound quality.
 

bottlenecker

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Eh.. all the stuff I was hooking it up with digitally 20 years ago was in the well under $500 range.

This stuff is all ancient dirt cheap technology today.

How would you feel if you screwed up in a blind A:B test and couldn't tell the difference between the $10 CD-ROM drive and the $1000 Audiophile marketed CD player? If they were both put through the same pre-amp/amp speakers you might not be able to tell, even if you took the analog feed out of the $10 player.

The other thing here is you could go buy a cheap CD player + HD audio digital player + a dedicated Pro-Audio/Audiophile DAC for less as well in some cases.

A lot of this effort/cost is probably better redirected into digitizing the CDs and not being reliant on the CD player at all... I've digitized my CD collection twice at this point. Once in the early 2000s to high bitrate MP3, then I redid the whole thing in the mid-2010s to change the whole library to FLAC so I had a bit-for-bit reproduction of the CDs and could back them up with no data loss. The computer I used is 10 years old, it takes it less than 5 minutes to read an entire CD and turn it into FLAC files. The software fills in all the titles, artist info, etc.. from the internet for you. It's really easy to do if you're working near the computer and just need to swap the CDs every 5 minutes as you do something else. I've still been buying CDs all along too, once you've done the first big batch it's trivial to do a few more here or there as you buy them.

And once you have the files as FLAC, ALAAC, whatever you are now free to use players/devices/setups that are better than any CD player and you have a path to play the higher definition stuff you can buy now instead of CD.

5 minutes per CD is over 80 hours to rip 1000 CDs.
At any living wage in the US, that's a lot more than I would spend on a CD player.

But it did convince me that even $800 isn't so bad.

I would like to make files of all my CDs before the moving parts in CD players make them too expensive to bother producing, but I sure don't see the point the way things are now.
 

bottlenecker

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All CD players are computers.. it's nothing like an LP.

It's a stream of digital data that includes extra data to allow the computer to error check the data as it comes off the CD.

Any two players that have a digital output can be hooked up to a computer and you can verify bit by bit that the two players produced exactly the same thing.

CD players don't store and sort the data.

And have you done that comparison?
 

ChicknPickn

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I'll bet that the vast majority of musicians and older guys (both of whom tend to have lost significant hearing in the upper frequency ranges) would not be willing to bet $200 that they could consistently pick out the $75 DVD player from the $1000 CD thingamabob. I know I wouldn't.
 

Mr Perch

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Unless I missed something, I’m pretty sure the OP (and many if not most people) use the analog out of the CD player, in which case there is lots of other stuff in the signal chain inside the player (op amps, etc) that can, and does, effect sound quality.
Yes, that's true. My amp/receiver and speakers are good quality.

I have received the el cheapo Sony unit and although I have no initial complaints about the sound, I miss the LED display that tells me what track is playing. That hadn't occurred to me. Also, I miss having direct track access with the remote. I remember that some early CD players I purchased back in the 90s could perform all sorts of programming tricks, especially the carousel multi-disk players (although with mine, the carousel was the first thing to break down.)
 

Recce

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I would say garage sales. If not that then I would try Crutchfield online. They should have something that fits what you are looking to buy. As I recall Teac was higher end of basic back in the day.
 
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PCollen

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I'm an old fart, so I have a large CD collection. The basic Teac player that I have had for many years is on its last legs, and I am discovering to my dismay that they don't seem to make basic home CD players anymore -- you are either going to get a boom box, or spend $1200 for an audiophile player. I just want the basic unit with a remote that I can plug into my old-school amp and speakers. Can anyone point me in the right direction?


I use the CD player in my PC, plug a $10 FM transmitter into my PC headphone jack with the transmit channel set to 90.9 MHZ, and then tune my stereo receiver to 90.9 MHz to listen to the CD in full stereo volume through my JBL L96 speakers.
 

JDB2

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I have received the el cheapo Sony unit and although I have no initial complaints about the sound, I miss the LED display that tells me what track is playing. That hadn't occurred to me. Also, I miss having direct track access with the remote.
If you are happy with the sound, for $33 those shortcomings might be a worthwhile tradeoff.
 

havlma1

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I just bought a new mini HiFi for Christmas :) After many years not having CD player in house at all I realized I don't want to play music from my smartphone or computer, it's just too quick, there are too many options. Probably I'm getting old, but I no longer want that constant flow of information from social networks, news, advertisements.. I wanted something what would make me slow down, focus on one or two things at the time.

So I bought this: Panasonic SC-PMX92 and started to extend my small CD collection with more albums.
GetFile.aspx


CDs are quite cheap these days and you can find some NOS albums from decades ago. I enjoy my small new HiFi system in my office/music room, play whole albums, don't check which song is currently playing, nothing distracts me. I love that :D
 

Zoso420

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I'm an old fart, so I have a large CD collection. The basic Teac player that I have had for many years is on its last legs, and I am discovering to my dismay that they don't seem to make basic home CD players anymore -- you are either going to get a boom box, or spend $1200 for an audiophile player. I just want the basic unit with a remote that I can plug into my old-school amp and speakers. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Check out goodwill or a flea market
 




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