The rise in popularity of digital music via streaming services, along with MP3 players, iPods and smartphones, might lead you to believe that the time for a CD player is past. But, a lot of people still have a CD collection that they continue to enjoy. If you find yourself in that camp, your first step in selecting the best CD player for you is to determine where you want to listen to it. You can get a car CD player if you do your best listening on road trips or while running errands, or you can choose a boombox, which is a portable sound system that generally includes not only a small CD player, but also a radio tuner and maybe a cassette player. You can also choose one of the home CD players designed to be a component of your home theater system.
Once you’ve determined the optimal style of CD player for you, you’ll want to take a look at the features. Do you want a multidisc CD player that gives you the convenience of loading several CDs at once, to play one after the other or in shuffle mode? What audio formats will you want to play? Most basic CD players can handle commercial CDs, CD-R/RWs and MP3 CDs, but if you need a player for other formats like SACD, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, OGG, MP3, AAC, and WMA, be sure to verify those capabilities in the CD player specs before you buy. Would Bluetooth capabilities for streaming playlists from a computer or mobile device be useful? Other options include a sleep timer, alarm function, cassette player, the ability to record either from other CDs or using another device, programmable play, or a remote control. You could also look for a headphone jack so you can listen to your CDs privately using headphones, or if you’re an audiophile, using noise-canceling headphones to completely isolate you from distracting outside noise.
Getting the most out of your new CD player: connections.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re selecting the best CD player for you is that connections are crucial. After all, unless you decide to go with a boombox model, you’re not getting a CD player with speakers. While most CD players have the power to drive headphones, they need an amplifier or receiver connected to full-size speakers with the proper speaker cables. The CD player connects to the amp using digital connections or analog connections so you’ll want to be sure you have compatible A/V cables. Nearly every CD player comes with analog cables, but in most cases, digital connections, such as coaxial and optical, provide superior fidelity because they avoid interference and noise while letting your receiver do the heavy lifting.