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Best five-disc CD changer: Sony CDP-CE500

CD changers are getting rarer. You won't find any luxury CD changers (they're all single-disc players these days), but people still love the convenience of a good multidisc changer.

The Sony CDP-CE500 (Est. $150) is the best-selling CD player of any kind at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com and Crutchfield.com -- and one of the best-rated. No other CD changer even comes close.

"I was warned by audiophile friends to avoid multiple disk CD players, but I love the convenience and I love being able to shuffle and play several albums," writes one shopper at Crutchfield.com. "So I was willing to take a 'lesser' player, but that is not the case at all."

It may be cheap, but the Sony isn't stripped-down. It handles five CDs at once, plus its USB jack lets you play music from a thumb drive -- or even record your CDs to a drive, as MP3s.

"Wonderful MP3 player alternative!" one Amazon.com owner writes. In fact, several say they bought the Sony mostly for this feature.

Most, though, simply want an easy-to-use CD changer -- and the Sony delivers. Its five-disc carousel lets you swap discs while one is playing. You can program the Sony to play tracks in a certain order, shuffle them (all discs/files or within a disc/file) or repeat.

The Sony reads the types of discs most people have (including CD, CD-R/-RW and MP3s burned to disc). Stick in a USB drive with MP3, WMA and AAC files on it, and the Sony will read those too.

How does it sound? Well, experts haven't critiqued the Sony (they ignore cheap CD players), but hundreds of owners are pretty pleased.

"All of my old CDs sound great, even the ones that skipped all over the place on my previous component," writes one at Crutchfield.com.

No, it's not audiophile-quality -- but at this price, owners don't expect that.

As one Amazon.com owner says: "If you want a player that will deliver the musical clarity an audio CD is capable of producing, you will probably have to be prepared to spend more."

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