Emotiva ERC-2
Emotiva ERC-2

Best CD player

It isn't cheap, but if you're a CD devotee, the Emotiva ERC-2 single-disc CD player is earning raves for delivering sound quality that outshines other models at or near its price point -- and some say it holds its own against players costing much more. The slot-loading mechanism looks like those in automotive and portable CD players but is designed to handle discs with care. Reviewers say build quality is solid, and the player is backed by a five-year warranty. Disc-format compatibility is limited, however, to CD audio, HDCD, CD-R and CR-RW. This boutique-brand CD player is only available directly from the manufacturer.
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Yamaha CDC-697
Yamaha CDC-697

Five-disc CD changer

Although it's not the least expensive five-disc changer available, the Yamaha CDC-697 is among the most capable. Its important features include the ability to swap out discs while one is playing. CD Text is supported, and you can program the CD-697 to play up to 40 tracks in any order. An RS-232 port allows for control by a PC. One shortcoming is that there's no support for MP3 or WMA files, though recordable CDs with CD audio files play just fine.
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*Est. $250 Estimated Price
Oppo BDP-95
Oppo BDP-95

Best universal disc player

For those who are as serious about video as they are about sound, the Oppo BDP-95 is a game-changer. Video support is similar to the less expensive Oppo BDP-93 (*Est. $500), which is a well-regarded DVD/CD player. But the Oppo BDP-95's audio performance is boosted by audio processing circuitry that would be more at home in audiophile- or even professional-grade gear costing much more. That leads the most demanding audio experts and aficionados to call the BDP-95 a relative bargain despite its steep price -- one that might make the BDP-95 overkill for casual listeners. A true universal disc player, the BDP-95 can play back almost any 5-inch audio or video disc you can throw at it, including Blu-ray.
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