Your Guide to CD Player Features

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Your Guide to CD Player Features

Even with the entrance of new digital music formats, compact disks remain the media of choice for many audiophiles. The first CDs were criticised for having a "clinical" sound that was very different from the analogue media formats in the past. Such cassette tapes and vinyl records, and even CDs today have a higher audio quality than other compressed digital music formats. Many people still rely on CDs to backup their music collection ,or to listen to at home at the highest quality possible. For these purposes, they need CD players which are compatible with all CD formats, as well as with the many playable file formats.

CD players can be bought at department stores, specialised music equipment stores, or online. Anyone shopping for a CD player should know about CD changers and their features, since many CD players have multiple disc capabilities. It is also necessary to understand the different audio outputs one can use to connect the CD player to speakers, a receiver, or amplifier. Once a consumer understands these features of CD players, learning how to find and buy CD players online can help get the best deals.

Compatible CD Formats

A quality CD player should be able to play much more than just store-bought CDs. It should also play the CD-R and CD-RW formats. CD-Rs are discs that can be burned just once. CD-RWs are discs that can be burned various times. Some CD players can also play SACDs, or Super Audio Compact Disks. Although not very common, this is a format that has more channels than regular CDs as well as a longer playing time. Anyone who has SACDs has to look for a special SACD player, since regular CD players cannot read them.

Compatible File Formats in CD Players

MP3 is just one of the many file formats in common use for digital music. Others include WMA, AAC, FLAC, and OGG.While some of these formats are not as high quality as the regular CD standard, it may be useful for a CD player to be able to read these formats. One should know about these formats in order to decide on the usefulness of this feature in CD players.


MP3 is a lossy data compression format that was designed to allow people to make the file size of a song much smaller, while still reproducing the sound like the original. An MP3 created at 128 kbit/s is less than a tenth the size of the original song, but sounds like the original for most purposes. However, MP3s of higher quality can also be created by changing the compression settings. Audiophiles generally prefer CD quality to MP3 quality. However, anyone who listens to MP3s burned to CDs need a CD player with MP3 capability.


This is the format usually used when burning music at regular CD quality to a disc. Since it is a data format, software has to be used to burn the disc to make a playable audio CD. Any CD player than can play CD-R and CD-RW discs are able to play the WAV format, since this is the main format used by computers to burn audio CDs.


The Windows Media Audio format was created by Microsoft, and is of slightly higher quality than the regular MP3 quality.This means several hours of songs in WMA format can be burned onto a CD, but such a disc can only be played if the CD player specifically supports this file format.


Advanced Audio Coding was created to give a higher audio quality than MP3 at the same rate of compression. AAC is the default format for YouTube, iPod, iTunes, and Playstation 3, among other devices.


FLAC (standing for Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a codec which allows music to be compressed without any loss in quality. It can compress a song to around half of its original size. FLAC is often used for archival purposes since the original quality is perfectly preserved, unlike MP3s or other lossy formats.

CD Changer Basics

Many CD players come with the ability to load and switch between several CDs. Three- and five-CD changers are common, but CD jukeboxes which can switch between hundreds of CDs are also available. There are three basic types of CD changers. External cartridge CD changers are most common in vehicles because the CDs can easily be removed and changed from an external cartridge that the CD player uses. Most home CD players have internal cartridges or carousels. The internal cartridge CD player accepts one disc at a time into a tray and then stores the disc internally. These take more time to load and unload but can often store CD titles and song titles to make access to them easier. The last kind of CD changer is the carousel. These have rotating trays that can hold various discs. The disc is removed from the tray when it is being played and the rest of the discs can be changed without interrupting the playback, making it a popular design in home CD players.

Audio Outputs in CD Players

CD players can have both analogue and digital outputs. The output that audiophiles use depends on how the CD player is connected to the other components in the audio system. If the CD player is connected directly to speakers, the stereo L/R connections are enough. However, if it is connected to a receiver with a superior digital-to-analogue converter, then the digital outputs should be used. The two kinds of digital outputs are: the coaxial RCA, and the optical TOSLINK. Besides the analogue and digital audio outputs, a CD player should also have a headphone jack.

Digital Coaxial Output

Coaxial cable has copper wiring in the middle. While there are minimal sound quality differences between coaxial and optical cable, digital coaxial signals are prone to interference from radio frequencies and electromagnetic interference. Also coaxial cables can transfer noise from problems like ground loops into other components. However, on the plus side, these cables have the standard RCA connectors on either side, making them easy to connect and quite durable as well.

Digital Optical Output

The optical cable option is also called TOSLINK, since it was created by Toshiba. It carries a signal through light pulses. This means it is more delicate than coaxial cables and cannot be pinched or bent too much. However, they are not vulnerable to any kind of interference. Unless the run between components is extremely long (which is unlikely in any home setup), optical and coaxial cables are both good options.

How to Buy a CD Player on eBay

Finding a CD player is easy and secure when using a platform like eBay. Both new and used players can be found at competitive prices, offering shoppers a selection that cannot be found elsewhere. eBay's advanced search criteria and public feedback system, make it a popular place to buy and sell electronics like CD players as well as any necessary accessories.

Searching for CD Players

To find CD players on eBay, simply enter a search term like '5 CD changer' in the search box on any eBay page. Click on the appropriate subcategory to narrow down the listings shown. Once you are searching within the correct subcategory, you can also narrow down the search by criteria, like compatible CD formats, playable file types, audio outputs, price, condition, and more. These search criteria make it fast and easy to find a CD player with just the features you need.

Important Points to Check

Once you see a listing that you are interested in, the next step is to check the seller's transaction history. Every seller's history on eBay is made to be public information, providing a powerful incentive to sellers to provide professional service and quality products at all times. You can also search through only listings that have an award icon, indicating that the seller is one of eBay's 'top-rated sellers'. This means the seller has a long history of excellent customer service and fast shipping times.As with any electronics, check the return policy and the warranty on the item if one is offered. Be sure the read the entire listing carefully and ask the seller any questions you might have before making a payment.


CDs are still popular with many audiophiles because of their high-fidelity audio quality. Those looking for CD players find a range of devices capable of handling anywhere from one CD to 300. CD players also vary in their ability to read different CD types and file formats such as: MP3, WAV, and WMA. These, along with the CD changing capabilities and the available audio outputs are the most important features of CD players. Many players have both analogue and digital outputs. Digital outputs are used when connecting the CD player to a receiver or other device with a digital-to-analogue converter. CD players can be found in a number of places including department stores, but the widest selection is generally found online. By shopping for CD players on eBay, people can find a wide range of new and used devices. eBay's search options and feedback system make shopping online fast and secure.

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