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The Best CD Players of 2024

This article will guide you through the best CD players available in 2024, providing comprehensive and detailed analysis to help you make an informed choice.
best cd players

Music is an integral part of our lives, and CD players, despite the advent of digital music, have managed to maintain their charm and utility. CD players are irreplaceable for audiophiles who value high-quality sound and the tangible experience of handling physical media. This article will guide you through the best CD players available in 2024, providing comprehensive, authoritative, and detailed analysis to help you make an informed choice.

Introduction

A Resurgence of CD Players

Despite the popularity of streaming services and digital media, the demand for physical formats like CDs has seen a resurgence. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), CD shipments in the US rose by 47 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year, marking a resurgence for the first time in over 15 years.

Though not as in-demand as turntables, CD players are still being produced by manufacturers catering to CD fans and audiophiles. Many new all-in-one systems and network receivers/streaming amplifiers are starting to feature CD players alongside streaming.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a CD Player

Before purchasing a CD player, take into account factors like DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) functionality, ease of use, controls, and, of course, audio performance. More premium players may have better DAC chips and internal components, fewer errors, and also support different optical disc formats. Some CD players even feature wireless and streaming tech, turning your CD player into an all-in-one media hub.

Another consideration is whether you need an integrated CD player (one with a DAC built-in) or a CD transport (no DAC inside). Transports such as the Cambridge Audio CXC will need either a standalone DAC or the one in your stereo amplifier to handle the digital-to-analog conversion.

The Best CD Players of 2024

The following sections will delve into the best CD players of 2024, taking into account their performance, features, and value for money.

Best Overall

Marantz CD6007

Marantz CD6007

The Marantz CD6007 is a class-leading CD player and probably the best model for most people. With detail, dynamics, and a beautifully clear sound, this excellent entry-level CD player is perfect for first-time buyers.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Integrated
  • Outputs: Optical, coaxial, line level
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 44 x 34 cm
  • Weight: 6.5kg

Performance and Usability

The CD6007 delivers great sound, full of rhythm and drive. It’s precise, clean, and offers dynamics at every inch of the spectrum. Stereo imaging is focused yet expansive, and there are even a few digital filters to tweak the sound to your tastes.


S.M.S.L PL200 MQA-CD Player

S.M.S.L PL200

The S.M.S.L PL200 is a new, top-tier CD player that has gained popularity among music enthusiasts. Known for its exceptional sound quality and robust build, this model stands out in the market. Its advanced features and user-friendly interface make it a worthy investment for those seeking an immersive audio experience.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Integrated
  • Outputs: 3.5mm headphone, RCA, XLR, coax, optical
  • Dimensions: 25 x 20.5 x 5.2 cm
  • Weight: 1.7kg

Performance and Usability

The S.M.S.L PL200 delivers a stellar performance with its high-resolution sound and smooth operation. Its user-friendly interface allows for easy navigation and control, ensuring a seamless listening experience. Moreover, its compact size and lightweight design make it a convenient addition to any audio setup.


Best Premium

Marantz SA-10

Marantz SA-10

The Marantz SA-10 is a superb player that shows off its tremendous skill with insight and dynamics. This impressive-looking box can handle pretty much anything you care to throw in its direction.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Integrated
  • SACD: Yes
  • Outputs: Optical, coaxial
  • Dimensions (hwd): 12.7 x 44 x 41.9cm
  • Weight: 18.4kg

Performance and Usability

Playback is aided by Marantz’s custom-built SACD-M3 transport and a brand new signal path and digital-to-analogue section called Marantz Music Mastering. The result is breathtaking sound quality with amazing attention to detail.


Best for Streaming

Technics SA-C100

Technics SA-C100

The Technics SA-C100 is a truly compact just-add-speakers streaming system that shines with CDs. It is an admirably consistent performer across the board, producing musically compelling results with CD and high-resolution files.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Integrated
  • Outputs: 3.5mm headphone, subwoofer
  • Dimensions (hwd): 9.4 x 34 x 34cm
  • Weight: 4.8kg

Performance and Usability

The SA-C100 is an expressive and punchy performer that builds its performance around a solid framework of surefooted rhythmic drive and expressive dynamics.


Best Budget

Cambridge Audio AXC35

Cambridge Audio AXC35

The Cambridge Audio AXC35 CD player is a great choice for those looking for a stylish, affordable, and enjoyable CD player. It offers plenty of scale, lots of subtlety, and a good degree of dynamic fluidity.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Integrated
  • Outputs: Coaxial, line level
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 43 x 30.5cm
  • Weight: 4.3kg

Performance and Usability

This fuss-free CD player serves up enough detail and clarity to justify its entry into our rundown of the Best CD Players. However, it’s up against the truly brilliant Marantz CD6006, which sounds better across the board and has the added bonus of a USB input.


NAD C 538

NAD C 538

The NAD C 538 is a solid budget CD player worthy of serious consideration. It doesn’t set new standards for budget CD players, but it does deliver enough in the way of detail and clarity to keep most people happy, and can be considered one of the best CD players of 2024 when it comes to value.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Integrated
  • Outputs: Coaxial, optical, line level
  • Dimensions: 7 x 44 x 25cm
  • Weight: 3kg

Performance and Usability

Once properly warmed up, the C 538 is a good, solid performer. Stereo imaging is convincing too, and the player’s soundstage remains solid throughout with instruments located with a good amount of stability.


Best CD Transport

Cambridge Audio CXC

Cambridge Audio CXC

The Cambridge Audio CXC transport is an affordable way to listen to your CDs with precision quality. Using this separate bit of kit to do one specific job makes for better sound quality, and that’s why it was able to make an appearance here as one of the best CD players of 2024.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Transport
  • Outputs: Optical, coaxial
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 43 x 31.5cm
  • Weight: 4.7kg

Performance and Usability

The CXC has a real musicality here that can get lost on lesser players, with organic, fluid interplay between instruments. It’s a nicely made bit of kit too, with a machined-metal chassis that feels solid and a design than matches the rest of Cambridge Audio’s impressive CX range.


Notable Mentions

Shanling EC3

Shanling EC Mini

Moondrop DISCDREAM


Conclusion

In conclusion, the best CD players provide a superior audio experience, offering a blend of high-quality sound, convenient features, and a touch of nostalgia. Whether you’re an audiophile with a vast CD collection or a music lover who appreciates the tangible feel of physical media, the best CD players of 2024 offer something for everyone.

Be sure to check out our other buying guides to help you get the best audio experience possible!

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