The Essential Guide to Buying a CD Player

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The Essential Guide to Buying a CD Player

Many years have passed since the CD became the prefered choice as a medium for audio storage and playback. Technology has advanced a lot over the years but no medium has risen to take its place. The lense of a CD player has a limited lifetime, and it is easy to conclude that music enthusiasts find themselves purchasing a CD player more than once during their lifetime.

Selecting a piece of digital equipment can be a huge bother, as in many cases it requires a lot of knowledge and research into the subject to make the right choice. To make things worse, the selection of CD players is vast and there is a great deal of functionalities involved. On top of all that, the quality of the sound reproduction is dependent on other gear too, and there’s always place for subjectivism in the quality assessment.

All of these factors make the decision process pretty difficult. To simplify the choice, one has to assess the budget planned for this endeavour, define the needs and learn only about the features which carry most value. These guidelines discussed in length provide essential knowledge required to select a fine CD player that answers all needs without making unnecessary financial strains.

Price Range

One of the best ways to separate CD players within categories is by using their price. Many of the features regarding CD players are universal and all sorts of different combinations can be found. Using the price of CD players, one can form categories and discuss how most of them measure up regarding quality. Even some of the same features implemented in different categories might differ in quality. According to the price, the following categories can be formed:


Range (£)

Low-budget players


Mid-ranged players


High-end players


Note that the ranges are loosely defined and as all generalisations are prone to statistical errors. Even though this ranges do describe the global situation on the market, it is quite possible to find an item of superior quality in a lower range or of inferior quality in a higher one. Also, this ranges are created of regular market price and discount offers are not accounted for. Any item offered at half-price most likely changes category, but that does not mean it also changed quality.

Low-Budget Players

Even with a limited budget one can find a pretty decent CD player. This is due to the fact that the technology has been around for a long time and mass production has greatly affected the costs. Even DVD players are cheap and they can handle the same tasks and provide decent quality. The lense might not last as long, but the budget players offer good quality versus price ratio.

The lightweight built quality is among the features that stand out. Cheaper materials are used in order to cut manufacturing costs and controls feel more rough to the touch. The casing can still look pretty neat, as wonders can be done with plastic, but it is more sensitive to vibration and heat. CD players of this category should not be stacked over amplifiers. The inability of the CD player to cool off properly can damage the player itself and the amplifier too.

Mid-Ranged Players

Some differences between the low-budget and mid-ranged players can easily be noted. The construction is made of better materials and there is no stiffness in the knobs. Among the things that are less obvious is the difference in the sound quality they provide. The mid-ranged players possess better sound detail, depth and dynamics. These are all virtues appreciated by music enthusiasts.

They are a good choice for anyone who cares about sound quality and offers years of impeccable performance. Another reason to consider this category of players is their good resell value. These type of players have a long lifespan, so this comes in handy when one decides to sell out and build a new sound system from scratch.

High-End Players

The high-end players take the experience to a whole new level. All components used both on the inside and outside are of highest quality. The built is made pretty much of the same materials as the mid-ranged players but there are some more luxurious details. Also, the inside architecture is designed to meet highest electronics and sound device standards.

High-end players also keep a nice resale value, but considering the return on a larger investment, money is still be lost. These type of equipment is built to last and not meant to be resold. There are not many advancements made in CD player technology lately, so it is safe to assume that there would not even be any reason to switch to a later model.


All CD player manufacturers struggle to fit in as much features as possible. Since the CD player technology is pretty straightforward, it is one of the few ways the product can stick out on the market. Different features are added to target different types of customers, so find the ones that have the greatest personal appeal.

Connection Options

Always pay attention to the connection options of an CD player. The most common one is the analogue connection method referred to as phono interconnection. It allows connectivity to all amplifiers but if recording capabilities are important to the user, digital connection methods should be considered.

AM/FM radio

This is one of the most basic features possessed by CD players. It really does not take a lot to make the CD player double as a AM/FM tuner. Having a tuner won't greatly increase the price of the CD player, so it should always be considered. The radio functionality might be something one can do without, but if it comes at little to no expense it should definitely be added to the personal sound


Recording features are not that common among CD players. Still, those music enthusiasts that prefer to get their music in a legal way might benefit lot out of this feature. With a recording device, music that plays on the radio can be transferred to CDs with ease. It is as simple as recording on a cassette in the past.

Random Track Selection

Listening to all the tracks in the same order over and over again can become very dull. Random track selection can create a whole new playlist out of all the available disks and tracks within the CD player. It is one of those features that are very important for some, but others have not even considered them.

Disc Compatibility

Disc compatibility is often overlooked by people who are uninformed about the existence of HDCD. The HDCD, or high definition compatible digital disc is designed to provide better sound quality than the usual CD. A HDCD can be played within a player that supports only regular CDs, but the sound provided is the same as that of a regular CD.


With many advanced features added on the player, remotes can become pretty complex. Simplicity in design should not be underestimated. The remote is not always handled by the owner, so it should be simple and intuitive. The low-budget models sometimes have purely designed remotes, which can be quite bothersome. Within that category, pay attention on whether the buttons on the remote lit up. Using the remote in the dark can be problematic if the buttons don’t have lights.

Choosing One That Fits The Needs

Having acquired some knowledge on the subject, the next step is to define the needs. After the needs are defined, seek out a model that has the desired features within the budget. If this proves to be impossible first consider setting the cap on the budget a bit higher, but if it is not possible start by redefining the necessities and remove the features that are the least likely to be used.

It is always a good idea to test out a CD player before purchasing it. None of the specifications can actually determine how pleased a person is with a given CD player. Also, some are less capable of recognising difference in sound quality, so consumers should not spend extra money on something that does not provide advanced satisfaction.

Finding A CD Player On eBay

Just entering the words ‘CD player’ as a query into the search bar on eBay returns many confusing results. This way, anything that has a built in CD player within the product title shows up among the results, making it more difficult to find the desired item. Searching with the terms ‘CD player deck’ gives more relevant results. Still, even with this choice of keywords there is redundancy.

Another approach would be to go through the categories, but chances are that the result are the same as mini Hi-Fi systems with integrated CD players are often put in the same pot. Within any selected category, there are filters that can help out such as the one used to define supported file types. Some players don’t support CD-RW too, so make sure that filter is turned on if it is an important feature.

The two filters that might find most use are the one that filters by the type of outputs and the one that limits the CD changer capacity. Both set pretty powerful limitations on the desired results and can weed out a great deal of unfitting items.


With a little bit of information on the subject, selecting a CD player becomes fairly simple. The budget intended for the purchase predetermines a lot of things. Divided by how much one is willing to pay, the CD players form three categories. Good items can be found in any of the three categories. The low-budget models can even be a surprisingly good choice. Still, for those that appreciate quality of sound, a mid-ranged or high-end model is more suited.

There are many features to look for in a CD player. Amongst the most important are the connection options which influence sound and recording capability. Another important feature is the remote. Almost all CD players have a remote, but not all remotes are equally easy to use. Simplicity in a remote is highly valued. The AM/FM radio feature is also very handy and does not add a lot to the price,

When deciding to make a purchase, define the features that are most needed and seek a model within the budget. Sound quality should always be most important, but opinions on sound quality are subjective. That is why one should never pay extra for something unable to appreciate.

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