The 10 Best CD Players

Updated June 16, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you haven't yet succumbed to streaming music completely, you may want to check out these CD players. They will let you listen to your jewel box-encased collection with great quality sound, and are also available with handy features, like remote controls, AM and FM radios, and the ability to transfer a CD to a mobile device, so you can listen on the go. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best cd player on Amazon.

10. Sony CDP-CE500

The Sony CDP-CE500 gives you ready access to all of your music with a five-disc changer. The included remote control allows you to easily choose the track you want with minimal effort. With a one-year warranty, including parts and labor, you can relax and enjoy your tunes.
  • analog and digital output options
  • can play scratched discs
  • controls and set up can be confusing
Brand Sony CDP-CE500
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Cambridge Audio CXC

The Cambridge Audio CXC produces clear, crisp sound when paired with the right amplifier. It delivers audio details with precision and fills your home with music at the perfect volume. It will play any audio CD and is a great choice for parties or simply lounging.
  • starts and stops quietly
  • automatically corrects disc errors
  • remote needs more functionality
Brand Cambridge Audio
Weight 15.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

8. Tocode Wall-Mountable

The Tocode Wall-Mountable is a slim device that can be attached almost anywhere in the home or office. It features a simple pull-cord power switch that makes it a cinch to turn it off quickly as you head out the door, plus it gets surprisingly loud for its size.
  • can connect external speakers to it
  • displays the disc at all times
  • cannot turn it off with the remote
Brand Tocode
Model pending
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Yamaha CD-C600BL

The Yamaha CD-C600BL holds five discs so you can listen to and choose your favorite music for hours on end. The included remote control ensures that you will never have to leave your seat, while its quiet operation and classic design make it a great addition to any system.
  • automatically moves to the next disc
  • usb port for external devices
  • poorly designed interface
Brand Yamaha
Model CD-C600BL
Weight 17.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Sony ZSRS60BT

The Sony ZSRS60BT boombox lets you jam out old school style, but with modern features that anyone can appreciate. It has Bluetooth and NFC pairing, so you can stream music from your phone, an incredibly long battery life, and 30 radio station presets.
  • mega bass boost button
  • can also use ac power
  • no eq functionality
Brand Sony
Model ZSRS60BT
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Onkyo C-7030

The Onkyo C-7030 delivers detailed sound at all volume levels. It can be paired with your existing amplifier to complement your current audio system or to act as the focal point. The unit runs quietly, so all you will hear is your favorite music like never before.
  • forward-facing headphone port
  • sleek aluminum front panel
  • needs better anti-skip technology
Brand Onkyo
Model C-7030
Weight 14.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

4. Teac CD-P650-B

The Teac CD-P650-B will complete your home sound system with a single disc tray and USB and iPod connections. It allows for transferring music from your CD to your MP3 player or other USB device with a few simple pushes of a button.
  • budget-friendly price
  • easy to set up and program
  • includes a handy remote control
Brand Teac
Model CD-P650-B
Weight 12 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Bose Wave SoundTouch IV

The Bose Wave SoundTouch IV is both a CD player and an AM/FM radio. It is also Wi-Fi enabled to connect to your home network, so you can stream music directly from Spotify and Pandora. You'll never run out of songs to listen to ever again.
  • impressive room-filling sound
  • bluetooth connectivity
  • six radio station presets
Brand Bose
Model 738031-1710
Weight 14.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Peroom Portable

If you still enjoy listening to music on discs but also want to be able to take your jams on the go, then you'll appreciate the Peroom Portable. Its anti-skip technology is surprisingly effective, so feel free to use it anywhere.
  • convenient top-facing controls
  • accepts battery and ac power
  • feels sturdy and well-built
Brand Peroom
Model pending
Weight 13.9 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Marantz CD6006

The Marantz CD6006 brings the sounds of the concert hall into your home. The built-in USB port allows you to transfer music and other audio from CDs to your favorite storage device, and the integrated rigid feet deliver a stable, vibration-resistant stance.
  • built-in headphone amplifier
  • premium digital to analog conversion
  • accepts a range of file types
Brand Marantz
Model CD6006
Weight 18.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

The History Of The Compact Disc

The creation of the compact disc cannot be attributed to a single individual, but rather a combination of individuals and corporations. At some point in time, each had a hand in the development of the technology. It first started with James T. Russel, an American inventor, in 1966. At that time, he filed for two patents, one for synchronizing photographic records of digital information, and one for an analog to digital to optical photographic recording and playback system. These two patents formed the basis for the technology that would eventually lead to the compact disc.

He further refined his technology using a combination of digital recording, laser, and optical disc technology, and eventually succeeded in creating a system that could record and play back sounds without requiring physical contact between the components. In the 1970s, Philips and Sony licensed Russel's patents to develop their own prototype systems. In 1978, Philips decided that compact discs would be 115 mm in diameter and would be made from polycarbonate. They also decided on the type of laser that would be used by compact disc players. In mid-1978, Philips was the first to announce the technology to the public. They demonstrated the initial prototype in Japan and Europe in 1979.

Later in 1979, Philips and Sony formed a collaboration to further improve compact disc technology and decrease the timeline in which it could be released for sale to consumers. Between the two companies, it was decided that CDs would use a standard sampling rate of 44.1 kHz and use 16-bit audio. They also increased the diameter of the disc from 115 mm to 120 mm. These decisions allowed for a standard compact disc to contain up to 74 minutes of audio playback.

In 1980, the joint collaboration released the Red Book CD-DA, the first of a series that would eventually be known as the Rainbow Books. The Rainbow Books contain the technical specifications for all compact disc formats.

Sony released the first commercially-available CD player in 1982, the Sony CDP-101, followed soon by a model from Hitachi. At the time, it sold for $900 and was only available in Japan and parts of Europe. After gaining widespread popularity in these two markets, the technology was released in the United States in 1983.

How A CD Stores Data

Compact discs are made from polycarbonate plastic. A very thin layer of aluminum is applied to the polycarbonate surface, and then coated with a protective layer of lacquer. When completely assembled, a compact disc measures 1.2 mm thick and weighs roughly 16 grams. The polycarbonate surface of a CD has a series of molded spiral tracks. It is in these tracks that the data is stored.

Grooves on the polycarbonate surface are known as pits. The areas in between the pits are referred to as lands. A standard compact disc contains somewhere between three and five million pits. As with many other forms of digital communication, binary code is used to as a method of storing and communicating data. When a compact disc is played, a read laser bounces beams of light off of the surface to detect the pits and lands. Each time the surface of a CD changes from a pit to a land, or a land to a pit, the system interprets it as a 0. If the surface has multiple lands or pits in a row, no change is detected by the system, in which case it is interpreted as a 1. This series of binary digits forms the data, which is played back as an audio track.

Burning a compact disc at home uses a similar concept to create data, but instead of creating actual pits and lands, a special dye is used to create reflective and non-reflective areas on the disc's surface. CD-Rs are created with a layer of translucent dye in between the aluminum coating and the polycarbonate surface. Before the dye is altered by a computer's write laser, a CD player's read laser can pass right through it and be reflected back. When burning a compact disc, the write laser generates heat, which turns the dye black in specific areas. Unlike the unburned areas of the dye, the burned areas are no longer reflective. Non-reflective areas of the CD surface are registered as a 0 and reflective areas are registered as a 1 by a CD player.

How A CD Player Works

Inside of every CD player is a semiconductor diode laser and a photoelectric cell. As you press play on the device, an electric motor spins the disc at speeds up to 500 RPM. Once the disc reaches the correct speed, the CD player turns on the diode laser and shoots it at the surface of the CD. The laser begins to scan the disc at the center and works its way outwards towards the edge. It is interesting to note that this is the opposite way an LP is read, where the turntable's needle starts at the edge and and works its way towards the center. As the laser works its way from the center of the disc outwards, the motor gradually slows down the disc's RPM.

When the laser hits the surface of the CD, it is reflected back off of the pits and lands and into the photoelectric cell, which detects the amount of light reflected. Pits scatter the light, which causes little to no light to be reflected back at the cell. Lands reflect the light directly back to the cell, without diffusing it in any manner.

When the photoelectric cell detects a land, it sends a burst of current to an electronic circuit somewhere in the device which registers as a 1. If no light is detected by the cell, there is no electric current sent and the circuit registers it as a 0. In this manner, the circuit slowly recreates the binary code that was originally used to store the data on the disc. Inside of the CD player there is a digital-to-analog converter circuit, often referred to as a DAC. This circuit decodes the binary digits and once again converts them back into a pattern of electric currents. It is these electric currents that the CD player's speakers transform into sounds.

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Last updated on June 16, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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