It seems that with how fast technology moves these days, what is popular one day, is old-fashioned the next. 8-tracks, vinyl records, cassettes and now CDs have all found their way to charity shops and car boot sales in favour of MP3s, iPods and internet radio. Curating a CD collection is strictly for purists and those with an overflow of free storage space.
But for those who prefer the ways of yesteryear, building a home hi-fi system is a way to experience a “blast from the past” by listening to your CDs whenever you like on a quality sound system. If you’re building a hi-fi from scratch or just replacing an old component, we can help you narrow down your choices from today’s manufacturers in our handy buying guide.
Not just for discs While the popularity of CDs are long gone, CD player technology has moved on and up! You can find models that fit multiple CDs in a tray at once (usually 5 or 6 CDs at a time, on average). You can also find players that will play a multitude of audio file and CD types. Players that play rewritable CDs, MP3 files and models that will except a USB input from a device like a memory stick or iPhone are much more common today.
Miraculously, you can still even find CD player components that have the added benefit of a cassette player. We like the added functionality you get from the TEAC AD-800 CD player/cassette deck. Not only can you play your CDs, cassettes and MP3s, you can rip your CDs and cassettes to MP3 and transfer it via the USB input jack so you can listen on your computer, in your car or just share with friends - a great way to take those out-of-print classics from your living room to wherever you go in the world.
Let’s talk price How much should you pay for a CD player? That depends on what you want to get out of your system. Are you looking for something simple that you can listen to your CDs on when you feel the urge? Or are you looking for one player that does it all?
It’s good advice to buy the best device you can afford at the time and then upgrade later on if you see the need to do so. Below, we will detail our picks for good, better and best.
Good: Remember the days of the portable CD player? The Sony Walkman was the most famous of these. Pop some batteries in, a set of headphones and you’re ready to roll. You can still buy a portable CD player for £30 or so and it’s a perfectly serviceable alternative to purchasing a dedicated hi-fi component. Alas, when you’re not using it, it stores away easily. You can also take it into the kitchen, garden or bedroom with some portable speakers and you’re on your way to a rocking good time.
Better: Between £100-£150, your options instantly become more plentiful. You also get more functionality with MP3 playback, USB input, remote control access and more. Teac is the most prolific name in this price category, but you can also find competitive models from Denon and Yamaha.
Best: From around £150 and up, the world is your oyster. The choice and quality of CD players in this price range in quite amazing. For instance, the TEAC AD-800 model we mentioned earlier will cost you around £250, but for the money you get quite a powerful piece of equipment. Top brands that can command a higher price are Onkyo, Pioneer, Denon and Marantz.
Picking the right model for you just depends on what features you want and don’t want and, most importantly, customer reviews. Always see what other hi-fi enthusiasts have to say first before making a purchase to ensure you’re getting a well-respected product that lives up to its name and price tag.
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