What every best CD Players has:
- Good sound quality.
- Ability to read common disc formats.
- Random and repeat play modes.
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. While some are not available in the U.S., others, such as the Marantz CD6006, are.
HomeTheaterReview.com focuses on video equipment, rather than audio. However, it covers several universal disc players in its reviews of Blu-ray players. Reviews typically focus on video performance, though sound performance is front and center for some "audiophile" players, like the Oppo UDP-205. Each player gets an overall rating on a five-star scale, plus separate ratings for performance and value.
This British site reviews gadgets of all kinds, including audio gear. This roundup features top-rated CD players at several price points, from a budget model that costs less than $150 to an audiophile player priced at £1,100 (about $1,400). The reviews aren't that detailed, but they appear to be based on hands-on testing. However, only two of the top picks are available in the U.S.
Although this site reviews audio equipment of all kinds, it’s most helpful at present in evaluating universal players. The site provides highly detailed, technical analysis of each player's audio (and video performance in the case of universal players), making it easy to see how models stack up, but it doesn't explicitly name top choices.
Like most tech sites, TechHive.com reviews a few universal disc players in its section on Blu-ray players. Both Oppo UDP-205 and it's step down version are covered, and there's a first look at the Sony UBP-X800. Reviews discuss style and design, interface, connectivity, performance with both audio and video, and value. However, they're not as detailed as the reviews on some other home theater sites.
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.
In this roundup, home theater expert Robert Silva names his eight favorite CD players (plus one CD transport, which doesn't include a DAC). His reviews are brief – one to four paragraphs each – and focus mainly on the players' features. However, it's not clear whether Silva has actually tested any of these models hands-on or is basing his picks on his expertise and the manufacturer's specs.
CNET doesn't cover CD players or universal players as part of its typical review lineup. However, every couple of years, editor Steve Guttenberg reports on one more informally – usually under a headline along the lines of "No, the CD format isn't dead." We found only two current models – the mid-priced NAD C 516BEE and the higher-end Rotel CD14 – that earn Guttenberg's praise. You can also find reviews for universal disc players in the section on Blu-Ray players.
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 only a handful of reviews (or none at all) from users. However, we found one CD changer with nearly 780 reviews and a high overall rating. There are also a couple of highly-rated universal players listed under Blu-Ray and DVD players. Individual reviews are fairly short and can be sorted by date, rating, and helpfulness.
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 one model with strong ratings from over 100 users. 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.