CD Players: Ratings of Sources
Britain's What Hi-Fi? reviews lots of CD players, though the emphasis is on high-end options. In this roundup, editors name their top picks in different price ranges, from under £300 (about $386) to "money no object" (more than a new car). The lower-end CD players covered here are either unavailable or discontinued in the U.S. However, some of them (such as the Marantz CD6005) have successor models that are very similar. You can additional reviews on the site as well, including one on the Oppo BDP-105D.
Crutchfield.com is an established retailer of home and mobile audio/video gear. Users -- many of whom are quite knowledgeable -- can post reviews, and many of the CD players here get a decent amount of feedback. This landing page shows the star rating and number of reviews for each CD player, so it's easy to pick out customer favorites. Universal disc players are also rated under the "Blu-ray disc players" category.
CNET doesn't cover CD players or universal players as part of its typical review lineup. Editor Steve Guttenberg occasionally reports on them more informally, but he's covered only a handful of models in the past five years, and most of those are discontinued. We found only one current model – the mid-priced NAD C-516BEE CD player – that earns Guttenberg's praise.
Robert Silva, the home electronics expert at About.com, names his six favorite CD players in this roundup. His reviews are brief – one to three paragraphs each – and focus mainly on the players' features. It's not clear whether Silva has actually tested any of these models hands-on or is basing his picks on the manufacturer's specs.
Stereophile magazine reviews CD players in detailed articles that include the results of extensive bench and hands-on testing. Most reviews here are reprints from the CD player's heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, and the few newer ones focus mainly on high-end products priced into the thousands of dollars. However, we found one or two for less expensive CD players that are still available.
Amazon.com is among the better places to read user reviews of CD players. Lots of models are listed (including universal players on a separate page), and many get considerable feedback. Sorting tools let you see top-rated choices first, and each listing includes a comparison box featuring the most helpful positive and critical reviews. The biggest negative is that lots of discontinued models are listed, which clutters things.
BestBuy.com offers a limited selection of CD players, and most have received few or no reviews from users. However, we found one CD changer with over 250 reviews and a high overall rating. Individual reviews are fairly short and can be sorted by date, rating, and helpfulness. By putting the most helpful reviews first, you can get a quick overview of a product's main pros and cons.
Audio gear isn't this store's specialty, so CD players and changers don't get as many reviews here as other types of electronics. However, we still found a couple of models with strong ratings from 25 users or more. One nice feature of the site is that you can sort products by the number of reviews they have, making it easy to find the CD players with most feedback.