Best CD Players of 2022: Do You Still Need One?


The streaming horde will scoff at such a listing in 2022, however there are nonetheless hundreds of thousands of music listeners who get pleasure from listening to CDs and whereas we don’t count on to see the format get pleasure from the kind of rebirth that has reinvigorated the report trade — it’s nonetheless a format value having fun with.

Streaming would possibly characterize 85% of the North American market, however CDs are right here to remain. Unless Greta “I hate Capitalism” Thunberg launches some marketing campaign in opposition to its carbon footprint and my youngsters burn my assortment. Our “Best CD players of 2022” record solely consists of fashions that we have now listened to over the previous 12 months. There are different choices obtainable that is likely to be superior however we will solely touch upon people who have handed via our techniques.

Over the previous 38 years, I’ve invested over $30,000 USD in CDs and whereas which may not characterize the everyday mainstream shopper, it isn’t unusual for some audiophiles. It took me over 5 years to tear all 2,000 CDs to a sequence of exterior HDDs and create various back-ups that I’ve locked away in case my music server crashes.

Over that 5 12 months interval, I tossed over 1,800 jewel instances and solely stored a choose group from MoFi, DCC, Sony Mastersound, and JVC XRCD due to their album artwork and collectibility.

The relaxation are in very costly pictures albums in protecting sleeves and neatly organized inside a wall unit. You wouldn’t even know that I personal CDs — aside from the three CD gamers in our house.

I constructed a music server that’s linked to our router and residential community as a result of it presents handy entry to our digital music assortment in a number of rooms — however that doesn’t imply that it presents the perfect sound high quality choice within the context of every system.

Are audiophiles too obsessive about nostalgia in relation to CDs? The identical case might in all probability be made for vinyl, cassettes, and reel-to-reel however what actually issues isn’t the format — it’s the efficiency and sound high quality.

There are good and horrible sounding recordings obtainable on each format; and that definitely is the reality with streaming.

CD gross sales elevated for the primary time in 17 years in 2021, up 21% to $584 million; the H1 2022 gross sales figures weren’t fairly as robust, however that appears to be a North American subject the place streaming is extra standard. Music listeners in Europe and Asia nonetheless buy CDs in sizable numbers.

Listening to music on bodily media isn’t useless and vinyl data (and even audio cassettes) might not be your solely selection in that realm.

The means to personal music on a bodily medium is vital. You are in all probability questioning why that’s vital to you and we have now some suggestions on the perfect CD gamers proper now that make sense.

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Physical media continues to be very related; we found that to be very true over the summer season when Rogers’ cell and wi-fi networks collapsed all throughout Canada forcing virtually 33% of Canada’s inhabitants offline. No Wi-Fi. No cable. No music or video streaming for over 24 hours and even longer for some clients.

The means to hearken to each CDs and vinyl helped move the time whereas in Canada dealing my very own well being and that of my father.

CD gamers just like the Marantz CD60 don’t grow to be inoperable when you possibly can’t entry the web, Spotify, or TIDAL. Qobuz continues to be MIA in Canada.

One of the the reason why CDs are climbing once more in reputation is clearly price — it’s onerous to say no to $3 or $5 used CDs which are nonetheless in respectable form. That turns into an excellent higher deal while you take a look at how costly new vinyl releases run. Why buy 1 new vinyl launch when you possibly can have 5 CDs?

The ultimate motive is sound high quality. Audiophiles conveniently overlook the times after they spent 1000’s on separate transports and DACs, earlier than the hi-fi press determined {that a} CD participant was adequate. Before shifting on to streamers and really costly DACs once more.

Inflation and provide chain points haven’t been variety to the CD participant class in 2022, however there are no less than 30 viable gamers between $350 and $4,500 value contemplating.

Marantz CD6007 ($799)

The Marantz CD6007 is a flexible CD Player, which incorporates help for hi-res digital music playback by way of USB. It helps 24-bit/192kHz and DSD 5.6MHz high-resolution digital audio playback and does an incredible job with 16-bit/44.1kHz CDs as nicely. The CD6007 is constructed like a tank and has a heat and punchy presentation that’s straightforward to hearken to for hours. 

Marantz CD6007 CD Player Rear View

The entrance panel features a USB enter (Type A) for USB flash drives and helps FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, and DSD file playback. It additionally options Marantz’s HDAM® (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) SA2 utilized in analog circuitry for sooner sign switch and higher transient response.

Where to purchase: $799 at | Crutchfield | Amazon

Audiolab 6000CDT ($599)

Audiolab disappeared for various years after its guardian firm went below and vanished from the audio trade, however this well-respected British audio producer is again with a vengeance providing among the greatest reasonably priced amplifiers and digital playback techniques we’ve heard from anybody in current reminiscence. The 6000CDT is a stable chunk of metallic that operates as a CD transport solely – it requires being linked to an exterior DAC or amplifier with inner DAC part. Load a CD and put together to be shocked by how a lot better this unit sounds in comparison with even among the greatest digital streamers linked to the identical DAC. 

Audiolab 6000CDT CD Player
Audiolab 6000CDT CD Player Rear View

The 6000CDT has an especially impartial sounding presentation that lets you tailor the sound with the DAC of your selection. One caveat – there isn’t a USB output so any DAC must settle for both S/PDIF coaxial or TOSLINK optical to be able to work with the 6000CDT. Combine this CD transport with one thing just like the Bifrost 2/64 from Schiit Audio or the Mytek Liberty and be ready to expertise your CDs on a distinct stage. 

Where to purchase: $599 at Amazon | Crutchfield | |

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Cambridge Audio CXC Series 2 ($699)

One of Cambridge Audio’s best-selling merchandise, the CXC sequence CD transport presents a state-of-the-art, proprietary S3 Servo to manage the disc pace and guarantee error free playback. The CXC requires an exterior DAC to function however does provide its personal spin on issues with a daring, insightful, and barely coloured sounding presentation. Its strong energy provide, sturdiness, and stable building make it a worthwhile addition to your system in case your CD assortment is now not lined with mud within the nook.

Cambridge Audio Cx Series 2 CXC CD Player with remote control
Cambridge Audio Cx Series 2 CXC CD Player Rear View

The CXC options S/PDIF coaxial or TOSLINK optical digital outputs so make sure that your DAC works with each – the coaxial output sounds extra strong and detailed so we suggest sticking with that. 

Where to purchase: $699 at Crutchfield | Cambridge Audio

Rotel CD11 Tribute ($599)

Ken Ishiwata was a really variety soul. I used to be lucky to spend per week with him in 1999 on the Top Audio/Video Show in Milan and I discovered quite a bit from him about design decisions and the “business” of high-end audio. He created so many fantastic parts for Marantz and his final sequence of merchandise for Rotel previous to his dying have been wonderful as nicely. I’ve had various them at house to hearken to and he was a gifted engineer to the top.

Rotel CD11 Tribute CD Player Silver
Rotel CD11 Tribute CD Player Back

The Rotel CD11 Tribute CD participant honors the legendary audio designer’s legacy whereas offering high-end playback of CDs. The CD11 Tribute makes use of a custom-made choice of specifically tuned parts to provide stellar readability, dynamics, and element out of your CD assortment.

There are some key modifications to the facility provide, DAC circuitry, and sign path of the unique CD11. The CD11 Tribute options 9 capacitors that have been modified within the energy stage alone; together with an extra eight that have been modified within the DAC part. Also onboard: Rotel’s confirmed tray-loading disc mechanism, a Texas Instruments 24-bit/192kHz DAC, and balanced design topology. 

Ishiwata was all the time very centered on isolating inner parts and the chassis from exterior vibration and Rotel have carried out various his design strategies right here as nicely.

The CD11 Tribute delivers wonderful readability and a heat tonal steadiness that makes it a wonderful selection for the value.

Where to purchase: $599 at Crutchfield | | Find Rotel Dealer

NAD C 568 ($849)

NAD has been manufacturing CD gamers from the very starting of the “Perfect Sound Forever” revolution (which didn’t precisely ship on that promise for nearly a decade) and it definitely shares a home sound throughout this vary of parts. NAD CD gamers have all the time had a decidedly analog-like presentation that emphasised tonal coloration and presence vs overemphasized element and crystal clear transparency; that will sound like a nasty factor however it’s what makes their CD gamers so listenable with the wide selection of CDs that have been recorded for the previous 35+ years. 

NAD C 568 CD Player
NAD C 568 CD Player Rear View

The C 568 contains a new and quieter CD transport, and 24-bit Wolfson DAC for high-resolution digital playback. It additionally consists of an USB enter for flash drives and two digital outputs to be used with an exterior DAC or amplifier with an inner DAC part. There is nothing flashy concerning the C 568, however it delivers wonderful sound high quality with pink e-book CDs; it doesn’t help SACD playback. 

Where to purchase: $849 at Amazon | Crutchfield | Find NAD Dealer

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Pro-Ject CD Box DS3 ($899)

One of essentially the most fascinating parts within the Pro-Ject 2022 line-up is the CD Box DS3 CD participant/transport/DAC which has confirmed to be fairly the performer.

Pro-Ject CD Box DS3 CD Player Silver Front Angle
Pro-Ject CD Box DS3 CD Player Silver Rear Angle

The CD Box DS3 isn’t a really massive element (8”W x 3”H x 8”D) and can take up much less area than even a big hardcover e-book making it excellent for a media unit and even bookshelf.

Pro-Ject chosen the Texas Instruments PCM1796 DAC chip for the CD Box DS3 which makes it appropriate with high-resolution digital tracks.

The CD Box DS3 was persistently good with most CDs however it won’t flip horrible recordings into good ones.

Great sounding CDs benefitted from the standard of the inner DAC and output stage and one which alone the CD Box DS3 would earn a stable advice. 

Where to purchase: $899 at Crutchfield | Find Dealer at Pro-Ject

Marantz CD60 ($995)

The CD60 options an industrial design and durable construct that not solely seems good however contributes to secure efficiency freed from pointless vibration. The chassis is sort of massive; even perhaps too massive for every thing that resides below the duvet. Marantz is sticking with an identical chassis for the entire parts on this lineup as a result of it’s simpler to fabricate that manner and there’s a consistency to the economic design that the majority consumers will like.

Marantz CD60 CD Player Black Angle
Marantz CD60 CD Player Rear

The Marantz CD60 has a somewhat heat and natural tonal steadiness and it’s a type of parts that makes even the worst recordings sound virtually listenable; it does some really fantastic issues with DCC, MoFi, and JVC XRCD recordings that pushed the envelope when it got here to digital recordings within the Nineteen Nineties.

CD playback compatibility consists of CD/CD-R/CD-RW discs. CDs with MP3 and WMA recordsdata are additionally playable. HDCD discs are playable, however entry to the 4-bit extension isn’t offered. SACD playback functionality isn’t included (in accordance with the specs offered by Marantz).

I’ve been listening for nearly a month and the CD60 is what I’m going to purchase when funds allow.

Where to purchase: $995 at Crutchfield | Amazon |

Rega Audio Apollo ($1,325)

Rega was one of many final to the get together with their Planet CD participant in 1997, and for greater than 23 years the model has eschewed standard pondering by solely providing top-loading CD gamers that provide long-term sturdiness. The Apollo presents each analog and digital outputs and its Wolfson’s WM8742 24/96 DAC permits this shoebox-sized CD participant to supply nice perception into the music, with wonderful readability, element, and a barely ahead sounding presentation which is the Rega trademark in regard to its best-selling turntables. 

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Rega Audio Apollo CD Player
Rega Audio Apollo CD Player Rear View

Rega has costlier fashions in its CD participant arsenal however we’re extraordinarily drawn to the Apollo for what it does; draw you into the efficiency and remind you that there are quite a lot of actually good sounding CDs value listening to. 

Where to purchase: Find Rega Dealers

Naim CD5si ($1,995)

Naim have gone full throttle into the streaming class with 6 award-winning community amplifiers, wi-fi loudspeakers, and devoted streamers, however the CD5si stays. This distinctive front-drawer loading CD participant retains the entire traits of the model’s different merchandise; tempo, dynamics, timing, and a colourful presentation that’s lengthy on drama however quick on imaging or soundstage depth. 

Naim Audio CD5si CD Player
Naim Audio CD5si CD Player Rear View

The CD5si options discrete digital and analogue energy provides for superior isolation of sound important electronics, and stiff aluminum casework that isolates the mechanism and different parts from vibration. The digital to analogue converter chip has been upgraded to a Burr Brown PCM1793 – a tool very intently associated to the one used within the NDX high-end streaming participant. The CD5si additionally advantages from a extra secure DAC clock, larger voltage energy provide rails, a revised analogue filter design and a model new CD transport and laser optics.

What we like concerning the CD5si is the “old school” Naim vibe that it possesses; it seems like basic Naim gear, seems like the perfect gear that made Naim well-known, and can seemingly final perpetually. If that is the final CD participant Naim presents – it’s nicely value proudly owning. 

Where to purchaseFind Naim Dealers

Luxman D-03X ($4,195)

CDs nonetheless promote very nicely in Japan and it’s clear from the D-03X, that Luxman doesn’t plan on abandoning the format anytime quickly.

Luxman D-03X CD Player
Luxman D-03X CD Player Rear View

The D-03X incorporates MQA expertise, which allows you to play again MQA-CDs in addition to MQA audio recordsdata as much as 24-bit transferred by way of USB, optical and coaxial inputs. The USB enter additionally helps PCM information as much as 384kHz/32-bit and DSD information as much as 11.2MHz whereas the optical and coaxial inputs settle for PCM alerts as much as 192 kHz/24-bit. 

Yes – the D-03X can also be a high-resolution DAC making it the hub of 21st century digital system. Connect a streamer to one of many digital inputs and also you’ve simplified your system with one cable and upped the sound high quality by fairly a number of yards. 

For $3,600, you’ve gotten each proper to count on a superior stage of playback and the Japanese CD participant by no means fails to ship; the balanced outputs sound decidedly fuller and fewer impartial than the single-ended outputs. Bass has extra weight via the balanced outputs and there’s a noticeable improve in soundstage depth. 

Where to purchase: $4,195 at Music Direct | Find Luxman Dealers

McIntosh MCD85 ($4,500)

McIntosh sells quite a lot of CD gamers. How do we all know that? We just lately visited the World of McIntosh townhouse in New York’s SoHo, and so they had them taking part in in each single room. This wasn’t some clearance sale within the time of COVID-19, however in response to market demand. People who purchase McIntosh and Sonus faber audio techniques personal quite a lot of CDs — additionally they stream quite a lot of their music. Enter the MCD85 SACD/CD participant with a number of digital inputs for exterior digital streamers.

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McIntosh MCD85 SACD/CD Player Front

The MCD85 with its open chassis design isn’t solely a severe piece of music {hardware}, however it additionally reveals that you’re severe about your love of music. With the good success of McIntosh’s equally retro styled MC275 and MC1502 Vacuum Tube Amplifiers, MA252 and MA352 Integrated Amplifiers, and the nice and cozy reception of their just lately launched MC830 Solid State Amplifier and C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier that even have retro touches, it’s clear that many individuals need their house stereo system to not mix in, however as an alternative to be distinctive wanting.

McIntosh MCD85 SACD/CD Player Back

The McIntosh MCD85 SACD/CD participant can play retailer purchased SACDs and CDs in addition to music from home made CD or DVD Data Discs. Numerous file codecs may be performed from these discs together with AAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSD (as much as DSD128), FLAC, MP3, WAV, and WMA. The USB Audio enter helps as much as DSD256 and DXD 384kHz, and can be utilized to stream digital music from a pc or different digital storage gadget. There’s additionally two coax and two optical digital inputs that help PCM alerts as much as 192kHz.

Where to purchase: Find McIntosh Dealers


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