While CD changers often draw scorn from reviewers and users for mechanical and other problems, the Yamaha CDC-697 does fairly well in that regard. It won't play back MP3 or WMA digital-music files, but it is fairly feature-rich. This five-disc changer will let you replace all other discs while the current one is playing. CD Text is supported, and the player can be programmed to play up to 40 tracks in any order. An RS-232 port allows control by a computer or other external device. The two-year warranty is longer than average for non-audiophile gear. If your budget is a little bigger, and a high-quality single-disc player fits your needs better, the Emotiva ERC-2 (*Est. $450) draws raves. You won't find it in stores, however, as it is only available directly from its maker.
Among professional reviewers, only ConsumerGuide.com weighs in on the Yamaha CDC-697, and that report is now quite old. There is considerable and more up-to-date user feedback at Crutchfield.com, where the player earns a Customer Favorite designation, as well as at Amazon.com. RateitAll.com, an owner-review site, has a handful of reports.
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ConsumerGuide.com puts the Yamaha CDC-697 CD changer through its paces and gives it a more impressive recommendation than the site's rating would suggest. Sound quality is called good, and the player is said to be easy to use, despite a remote that's confusing. Editors say they "can highly recommend it for those consumers looking for quality and features that count."
Review: Expert Review -- Yamaha CDC-697 5-Disc CD Carousel, Editors of ConsumerGuide.com, June 20, 2008
Crutchfield.com labels the Yamaha CDC-697 five-disc CD changer a "customer favorite," based on the number of reviews the player has received and its high overall rating. Sound quality and build quality are frequently complimented. Some reviewers say the front display panel is hard to read, however, and loading the fifth CD can be difficult..
Review: Yamaha CDC-697, Contributors to Crutchfield.com
Customer ratings here are as high as at Crutchfield.com, and there are nearly twice as many reviews, including some that are long and detailed. Most owners seem generally pleased with the build and sound quality.
Review: Yamaha CDC-697BL 5-Disc Carousel-Type CD Changer, Contributors to Amazon.com
There are only a handful of reviews of the Yamaha CDC-697 at this independent user-review site, but it receives perfect scores across the board. A couple of small complaints are noted, but those don't seem to detract from each reviewer's overall satisfaction.
Review: Yamaha CDC-697BL 5-Disc Carousel-Type CD Changer, Contributors to RateitAll.com