Your Guide to Buying CD Players

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Your Guide to Buying CD Players

Whether part of a home cinema, a home audio, or a HiFi audio set, a CD player can be one of the most important pieces of audio equipment in a home. CD players or Compact Disc players are used to play one of the most popular media for audio recordings, the Compact Disc. Buyers choose CD players based on price, functions, which can include multiple decks and other audio media playing options, sound quality, shape, size, colour, and exact specifications. CD players can also be purchased in a variety of sizes such as portable, stand alone, and in a stereo set, size being usually a large part of the purchase decision for most buyers. CD players are available in many household goods stores, audio stores, and online shops including eBay. To make an informed decision when purchasing CD players, you should know the most common CD player specifications as well as the different models, sizes, and options for purchasing a CD player.

Why Purchase a CD Player?

CD players play compact discs in a variety of formats. However, many people today are switching over to purely digital format by playing MP3s, WMAs, and other common audio formats directly through a computer or Bluetooth device. Other devices, including Blu-Ray players, many game stations such as Xbox and PlayStation 3, and most DVD players can play CDs as well. So why purchase a CD player? Most people find that CD players offer higher quality audio than many purely digital formats which can be lossy, and much higher quality than a DVD or BluRay player, which are not really intended for optimal audio performance. With that in mind, dedicated CD players might not be for everyone, but are still great for most people. CD players can be placed in rooms next to CD collections, can be purchased to be portable and taken on the go, and can be used to add features to a home cinema and audio set.

Different Models of CD Players

Depending on personal needs, most people choose one of the following types of compact disc players. Models are made for personal or home use, as well as to be portable, to support multiple discs, and to support a higher quality of sound. Anyone looking for a CD player should easily note which type they prefer, although some larger CD players or CD decks are similar across models.

CD players can load via a variety of different methods, although tray loading, as seen on most laptop computers, is the most common. Other methods include vertical loading, in which the CD is loaded by opening the CD player from the side, putting the disc in place, and closing the tray. Top loading CD players feature a hinged door on the top where the CD can be loaded. Tray loading CD players have a sliding mechanism similar to a tray load, except the entire CD playing mechanism is part of the tray. Finally, slot loading CD players simply require a disc to be pushed into a slot where it is ejected by springs. This is the most common method seen in car CD players and is often used for newer models of computers and some home CD players.

Personal CD Players

The personal CD player is the smallest and most portable version of the CD player. Usually running on either AA or AAA batteries, the personal CD player does not have its own speakers and requires headphones or earbuds to listen to the CD. This is the ideal type of CD player to take while travelling or in areas where it might not be appropriate to play music that other people can hear. Personal CD players are generally top loading with a minimum of features such as stop, play, pause, forward, previous, and replay.

Portable CD Players or Shelf Radios With CD Function

The portable CD player is similar to a small portable radio and can often be part of a radio setup. A portable radio with CD function is the most common type and can be a small portable radio, a boombox, or a shelf radio, depending on the style. This type of CD player can be top, slot, or shelf loading, and normally features the option to connect headphones and to pick up radio stations if available. It runs on batteries, but can also be charged via a power plug, and usually has both options.

Stereo CD Players

The stereo CD player is the most common option seen in home CD players. Stereo CD players are intended for connecting to a home audio system, such as those with HiFi, Surround Sound, or Stereo quality. Stereos usually have multi-channel abilities to accommodate any speaker setup. They generally feature slot loading but can also feature a CD changer.

Stereo CD players might be part of a dedicated audio setup designed to play multiple types of audio such as vinyl records, CDs, and perhaps even cassette tapes or MP3s, depending on the model. Newer models might have a USB port or audio inline that can be connected to a computer, and most have features that allow them to be connected to home mixers for optimum audio. Many stereo CD players also feature their own mixers with tone, bass, and other functions that depend on the individual player. Different models of CD players include self-standing, which are floor standing, traditional rectangular box, which can be placed on a shelf or on top of a stereo system, and built-in models, which are intended to be installed into either walls or cupboards, as desired.

CD Changers

CD changers are generally considered their own model of CD player but are generally a component of stereo and car CD player systems. The CD changer holds multiple CDs that can range from two to 16, depending on the model. One type of CD changers is the external cartridge loading CD player, which requires the user to remove a cartridge and load it with up to 12 CDs before inserting the cartridge back in the player. Internal cartridge CD players accept multiple discs via the same tray loading slot and then store them internally to be played later. Carousel CD changers are the most common in budget CD players and feature a simple wide CD rack that can hold three to seven discs on a flat tray. This is similar in style to a jukebox, but on a much smaller scale.

Features and Functions of CD Players

CD players offer a variety of features and functions including oversampling, dual dacs, multi-CD changers, interpolation, anti-skip memory, digital outputs, random play, repeat, and DJ or mixing functions such as pitch control and queuing. Each additional feature usually comes with an added cost, although sound and audio quality usually determine the final price. All-in-one CD players, such as the boombox, must contain their own internal speakers, but other CD players have the option to include different types of speakers and drivers that might affect the sound quality of the CD.

Term

Definition

Oversampling

Improves performance using a higher sampling frequency to improve bit-rate and sound quality

One-Bit Dacs

Inexpensive but good quality sampling rate

Dual Dacs

Higher quality audio sampling rate, but can cause errors due to dual circuits

Interpolation

Not advertised on most CD players, automatically corrects dust, scratch, and other errors

In most cases, it is difficult to determine the quality of a CD player by looking at the specifications alone. Some specs on very low quality brands are quite inaccurate, and most people would have trouble understanding the specifications without a great deal of research. Other specs are simply not applicable as the quality of audio and speaker systems can greatly affect the CD player quality as well.

Importantly, buyers looking for home CD players should check the Ohm rating on the back of their speakers and compare it to the rating on the back of, or in the description of, the CD player they wish to purchase. A CD player with a higher Ohm rate than the speakers should not be used, while a lower or similar rate should be fine. For self-containing CD players with their own speakers, buyers should consider looking at the speakers and checking for a wide range of frequency support, such as up to 20Hz, in order to ensure high quality of sound.

Buying CD Players on eBay

Anyone looking to purchase a CD player can do so by choosing from a wide selection of players available on eBay. Buyers can choose from both new and used models, as well as from a variety of different styles, sizes, and types. Once you know what type of CD player you are looking for, you should set a budget. CD players range from the very inexpensive to the very expensive and everywhere in between. Examples of top quality brands include ‘Cyrus CD Players’ and ‘Bose CD Players’, while examples of budget options would be ‘Sony CD players’, ‘Cambridge CD Players’, or similar. Price ranges vary greatly so it is important to set your budget. Most professionals recommend that you purchase a CD player at no more than 25 per cent than the value of your current audio setup, in order to avoid losing quality or creating an unbalanced sound system. Try comparing a few models before you make your decision and then make your purchase.

Conclusion

CD players are the highest quality method of playing compacted discs because they offer a dedicated audio sound. When combined with similar quality audio systems, such as amplifiers and speakers, they create the best sound quality within that range. Buyers can choose from a variety of different speakers including personal, portable, stereo, and built-in, each of which are excellent for different purposes.

Different CD players also have a range of features that can go from simple play options to complete mixing. Because CD players also come with a very wide range of prices, it is important for buyers to set their budget before shopping for a player in order to narrow down their selections and avoid choosing an option that might be too expensive for them. Generally, most budget CD players have similar quality, and the same is true for all CD players in the middle price range, even though the price gap can be very large from a section to another. Buyers can use the criteria they want, including price and availability of a CD player, to make a wise purchase decision.

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