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Which multi-disc CD players are best?

While they might be less familiar to teens these days, the multi-disc CD player was once one of the most desirable and sought-after pieces of audio equipment for enjoying your music at home. Long before the days of MP3s, iPods and even the short-lived Zynga, the best way to enjoy hours of your favorite music involved your CDs being played and swapped by the rotating array of disc holders. Since CDs are still highly prized by audiophiles and music enthusiasts of all kinds, owning a multi-disc CD player like the Onkyo DXC390 6 Disc CD Changer in Black will let you enjoy your tunes in true 90’s and early 2000’s style

What to know before you buy a multi-disc CD player

Vintage appearance or streamlined style, which appeals more to you?

As anyone who attended a party in the latter part of the 20th century can attest, practically the only way to enjoy hours and hours of music without commercial interruptions was to own a massive multi-disc CD player and an equally massive collection of CDs. While old school models with included speaker and amplifier bundles lend a vintage style still sought after by some, more modern multi-disc CD players offer a much more minimalist and space-saving appearance while retaining their technical capabilities.

Thankfully for you, whichever style of CD player you happen to prefer will still deliver all of the clarity and sound quality that makes CDs a valued entertainment medium to this day. Whether you want a gloriously kitschy set of shelf speakers surrounding a miniature tower of music or a sleek unit to channel your tune to a pre-existing speaker setup, you’ll find what you need.

Audio quality of CDs is impressive

Those unfamiliar with the two major methods of storing data like music in specific file formats are lossless and lossy compression and represent significant differences in the ultimate quality of music produced. To clarify, lossy compression allows music files to be made significantly smaller and thus easier to share with a wider audience via digital downloads. In contrast, lossless compression makes much larger files which are notably clearer and deeper than lossy files.

CDs use a method similar to lossless compression, which allows them to deliver a truly impressive 44.1kHz sampling frequency of uncompressed digital audio. According to the Nyquist Theorem, a principle used by audio engineers to analyze analog signals digitized, a sampling frequency of 44.1kHz is theoretically capable of storing audio signals that you can only hear with the best possible hearing. In layman’s terms, it’s fairly hard to beat CDs’ sound quality, which can store and transmit signals that only the upper ranges of our senses can detect.

What to look for in a quality multi-disc CD player

Acceptable CD formats and storage

Not every CD format can be effectively used by every model of a multi-disc CD player. For example, just about any CD player should have absolutely no trouble playing any commercially produced music CDs. You might run into issues if you pop your freshly burned CD into one of the open carousel slots.

Furthermore, if you are going to go to the effort of purchasing a multi-disc CD player, you should get one that doesn’t require you to constantly rotate CDs in and out to prevent the music from getting stale and repetitive. While many models of multi-disc CD plays can hold at least five CDs at any one time, some are capable of not only holding additional CDs but also keeping additional CDs playing while you swap the others out.

Additional audio inputs, remote controls and other included features

You are interested in buying a multi-disc CD player because you want to keep the party going or enjoy your favorite albums on CD one after the other, but why not consider purchasing a model with additional features? For example, several CD players also come equipped with cassette tape players, AM/FM radios, compatibility with Bluetooth for streaming music from Android and Apple devices and more?

If you prefer to enjoy your personal audio universe or need to keep the volume down to be considerate, having the ability to plug in your headphones, audio inlines and USB port can be a real boon. Finally, just about everything is better with remote control included, the ability to wirelessly pair external devices and up to 40 radio presets, so consider your needs carefully before making your purchase.

Overall size, weight, equipment included and power options

If you want to buy a multi-disc CD player to relive fond memories of cramped college dorm rooms, apartments and other shared living spaces, you may be less concerned about how much space your unit takes up. However, it is always worth considering just how bulky your CD player might be and how much of a pain it would be to carry up to several flights of stairs.

In addition, while several models of multi-disc CD players come with sets of speakers and amplifiers included, more modern units offer a much more streamlined appearance while still delivering an incredible audio experience. It is also highly recommended to determine whether you can only use your CD player with an AC power cable or operate with battery power.

How much you can expect to spend on a multi-disc CD player

Depending on the desired features and any budgetary considerations, a quality multi-disc CD player can cost anywhere from $230-$500, and sometimes more.

Multi-disc CD player FAQ

How does a multi-disc CD play actually work?

A. This process involves a horizontal carousel where any CDs are placed face down. Once retracted, the carousel places the CD upon the actual playing mechanism. Every time you want to change CDs, the carousel rotates until the appropriate CD is properly in place.

What can I do to fix issues with CDs skipping or not playing at all?

A. This could be down to several factors, including dust or other debris obstructing the laser reader, mechanical issues with the CD player itself or a scratched or otherwise damaged or dirty CD. Possible solutions include removing the unit’s exterior housing for a thorough cleaning, using compressed air and gently cleaning your CDs with dish soap, water and a clean lint-free cloth.

What are the best multi-disc CD players to buy?

Top multi-disc CD player

Onkyo DXC390 6 Disc CD Changer in Black

Onkyo DXC390 6 Disc CD Changer in Black

What you need to know: This is a top-of-the-line multi-disc CD player with a six-disc capacity.

What you’ll love: This unit features sturdy construction including a brushed aluminum front panel as well as a six-disc capability that can play one CD while the others are changed, exclusive Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry for an improved audio signal, six repeat modes, 40 track programming, MP3 playback and a 192 kHz/24-Bit Audio DAC.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues with the unit cursing CDs to skip or not play at all.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top multi-disc CD player for the money

Sharp XL-BH250 Sharp 5-Disc Micro Shelf Executive Speaker System

Sharp XL-BH250 Sharp 5-Disc Micro Shelf Executive Speaker System

What you need to know: This is an affordable multi-disc CD player that offers a wide range of features.

What you’ll love: This unit offers a 5-disc CD player that can play CD-RW, CD-R, WMA and MP3s as well as a digital AM/FM radio tuner with 40 presets, Bluetooth streaming for compatibility with all Android and Apple devices, remote control, headphone output, convenient NFC touchpoint, USB slots, audio inline and a pair of speakers.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues such as the unit failing within a month or two of the initial purchase.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Sharp CD-BH950 Sharp 240W 5-Disc Mini Shelf Speaker System with Cassette and Bluetooth

Sharp CD-BH950 Sharp 240W 5-Disc Mini Shelf Speaker System with Cassette and Bluetooth

What you need to know: This is an excellent multi-disc CD player with vintage style and all the modern conveniences.

What you’ll love: This unit offers five-CD trays and a cassette tape tray as well as Bluetooth streaming for compatibility with all Android and Apple devices, works with CD-R, CD-RW, WMA and MP3s, 2 by 5.12-inch woofer, headphone output, Audio line-in,  2-inch tweeter, USB port, remote control and a digital AM/FM radio tuner with 40 presets.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues such as only selecting radio stations via the remote control and requiring multiple button presses to work.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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